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Research at UCL Australia

UCL School of Energy and Resources

Research in the School of Energy and Resources focuses on both the upstream and downstream development of energy and resources, covering a wide range of disciplines - from engineering and economics to environmental science and law. 

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Mullard Space Science Laboratory

The Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) is a world-leading research organisation delivering a broad science programme that is underpinned by a strong capability in space science instrumentation, space-domain engineering, space medicine, systems engineering and project management.

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International Energy Policy Institute

The International Energy Policy Institute (IEPI) was created to address key policy issues in the mineral, energy and resources industries through intensive and innovative research.

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Research at the IEPI

Professor Stefaan Simons

Professor Stefaan Simons

Geological characterisation and natural gas potential of the non-marine Roseneath and Murteree Shales, Cooper Basin, central Australia

Lendyn Marcus Philip

Lendyn Marcus Philip, B.Sc.

Project submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MSc (Energy and Resources), UCL Australia.

Abstract

Underexplored basins worldwide could have significant shale gas potential, previously overlooked, if a combination of Facies analysis, chemostratigraphy and palaeo-environmental studies are combined with basic well log data collected historically to provide new framework.

The geological characteristics of commercially producing shale gas plays vary widely. Yet the majority of commercially producing plays seem to have been formed in a marine environment, suggesting that non-marine shales are less prospective. The rationale being that non-marine environments are richer in clay minerals and less amenable to hydraulic fracturing. 

This research developed and partially applied a framework methodology to screen prospective shale gas plays in terms of key subsurface criteria. 

The results show that both non-marine formations compare similarly to marine analogues in terms of thickness, total organic content, thermal maturity of organic matter, natural gas content and Poisson’s ratio.  High carbon dioxide content, high clay mineral content and low values for Young’s modulus distinguish the lacustrine Roseneath and Murteree Shales from marine gas shales in the USA.  Overall, these variables negatively affect a well’s ultimate recovery of gas, and therefore economics should be considered before deeming the formations non-prospective.

The analysis presented suggests that facies analysis is useful for the identification and prioritisation of gas rich zones, and that integration of chemostratigraphy with palaeo-environmental studies may produce a robust stratigraphic framework for shale gas exploration and appraisal in the Cooper Basin.

Click here to read the full dissertation (PDF).