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PESA ACT: Jackup Territory Exploration of the NW Shelf of Australia – the North Sea of 20 years ago?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 15:30 - 17:00

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Guest Speaker: Stephen Molyneux, Carnarvon Petroleum Ltd

Biography: Stephen comes from a farming background in Lancashire, UK and first got interested in rocks by looking at the glacial erratics in his Dad’s fields. From here it was O and A level geology and a Geology Degree at Imperial College from 1985-1988. Stephen started his working career at Enterprise Oil in London from 1989-1994. Since then completed a MSc in Sedimentology at Birkbeck College London, then an Imperial PhD in seismic interpretation of oil bearing sandstone intrusions of the North sea completed in 2000. A short stint in 1999-2000 working for PanCanadian on the UK Buzzard discovery that year he then went off to Calgary from 2000-2004 to work for PanCanadian as the companies’ deepwater specialist working on projects such as the Buzzard discovery and offshore Brazil/Africa/GOM exploration. He managed to luck out with a discovery in GOM at Tahiti (500mmbo), Brazil in the Peregrino (1 billion barrel+) discovery and Sergipe basins (1 billion barrel+) – all stratigraphic traps. Then 4 years with Oilexco Calgary as Chief Geologist who worked in the North Sea where the company drilled 50+ offshore wells and found more than 100 million barrels of oil recoverable. Several fields were again stratigraphic and some seismic scale sandstone intrusions. The GFC was not kind to Oilexco and in 2009 was bought by Premier. Stephen then had spells with Premier North Sea (lead explorer North Sea 2009-2010), Origin Energy Brisbane (International New Ventures Manager 2010-2012) and has eventually found a home in Perth Australia with Carnarvon Petroleum (2012-present). As you might have gathered he likes finding oil and gas.

Abstract: In the late 90’s the UK North Sea was at an exploration hiatus, with 10$ oil and many of the larger companies not drilling. A new set of companies appeared in the UK in early 2000’s armed with ideas from years of working the North Sea but with prospects or plays deemed too risky by their previous employers. The 2000’s was a success story in the North Sea of these new smaller players exploring less well known petroleum systems or part or wholly stratigraphic traps. The inboard 25sqkm structural closures have been drilled today and the question is now, what is there left to explore in jackup territory of the NW Shelf with prospects that could be >50mmboe. The talk attempts to highlight the less drilled prospectivity of:

1) Tertiary – Upper Cretaceous
2) Lower Cretaceous and Upper Jurassic stratigraphic oil and gas filled trap potential
3) Upper Triassic gas – are there any fault blocks left to drill?
4) Lower Triassic/Upper Permian – a new Petroleum system exemplified by the recent Phoenix South oil and Roc gas condensate discoveries
5) Permo – Carboniferous – an underexplored petroleum system

Carnarvon Petroleum is attempting to establish a jackup territory oil exploration focused acreage position on the North West Shelf while the current oil price is low. We believe the inboard acreage of the NW Shelf is similar to the North Sea of 20 years ago when the larger guys exited this acreage leaving an opportunity for the smaller players to access acreage for the first time in a generation. The issue right now is not access to acreage but access to capital to keep these small companies alive and on that note what can government and industry do to keep the small end of town intact and allow the next wave of success to happen inboard the NW Shelf?

RSVP: If you would like to join us for wine and cheese after the talk, please RSVP to claire.orlov@ga.gov.au, by COB Tuesday May 23 (for PESA members only).


Wednesday, May 24, 2017
15:30 - 17:00


Geoscience Australia, Harold Raggatt Theatre
Cnr Jerrabomberra Ave and Hindmarsh Drive, , Symonston, ACT 2609 Australia


PESA ACT – Claire Orlov
+61 2 62499174