Adelaide-based Beach Energy reported that, based on data from its first two shale gas wells in the onshore Cooper Basin, it had estimated its field to contain 2 trillion cubic feet of gas, stating, ''Substantial upside potential still exists to expand this resource estimate through further evaluation and flow testing during follow-up exploration and appraisal activity.''
Shale gas, regarded as an “unconventional gas source,” was previously believed to be not worth developing because it is trapped in underground shale formations. In the past several years however new horizontal drilling and controversial hydraulic fracturing “fracking” techniques have dramatically expanded shale gas production in the U.S.
Beach Energy commented that its estimate represented about one-third of the total historical gas production from the Cooper Basin of 6 trillion cubic feet was the energy equivalent of 330 million barrels of oil. Even more significant, the new estimate is five times greater than Beach Energy's June 2010 reserves figure, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Beach Energy managing director Reg Nelson said that the Cooper Basin's shales and other formations tested were ''very thick, gas saturated and have the potential to flow at rates we believe will meet future commercial thresholds. The resource booking assigned relates to an area of approximately 1,600 square kilometers. Our test work to date indicates that the unconventional target zones, including the various shale layers, stretch underneath the entire permit, so there is potentially significant upside to these initial gas resource bookings.''
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com