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The Last Great Unexplored Oil Frontier

Introduction

Australia is emerging as a massive producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Several large and high-profile LNG export terminals are scheduled to be completed over the next few years, boosting Australia’s production and export of the liquefied fuel. Australia has long been an exporter of other natural resources, most notably coal, iron ore, and gold.

But Australia has been a small player when it comes to oil production, with output less than half a million barrels per day.

That could change with the exploration of the Great Australian Bight, a scenic stretch of sea cliffs along Australia’s southern coast. The Bight is prized for its natural beauty, but it also may hold large reserves of oil just offshore. Several oil companies are beginning exploration programs there to see what they can find.

One of the Last Unexplored Basins

The Great Australian Bight is vast, stretching over 800,000 square kilometers along Australia’s southern coast. There have been only a handful of wells drilled in the area, but technological advances since the 1990s now make the region much more viable as a major oil producing region.

BP (NYSE: BP) is the farthest ahead on drilling plans for the Bight. BP thinks the Bight has enormous potential. It has called the Great Australian Bight “the last big unexplored basin in the whole world.” In fact, BP executives have compared the Bight to the Niger Delta in terms of geology and…

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