Gas research takes flight

Minister for Resources Tim Pallas.

Minister for Resources Tim Pallas.

The Victorian Government is using hi-tech aircraft for aerial gravity surveying to search for future offshore gas resources.

Minister for Resources Tim Pallas announced the initiative during an opening address to the International Mining and Resources Conference in Melbourne.

The surveying is part of the $42.5 million Victorian Gas Program, which will produce a clear picture of the state’s prospective onshore and offshore gas resources, as well as options for underground gas storage.

From next year, airborne gravity data will be collected using a specially equipped aircraft that will fly as low as 80 m above the sea surface, allowing the aircraft to collect the highest quality data.

The data will then be used by geologists to detect rock structures deep inside the earth, while a gravity meter will help detect changes in gravity and rock density.

This aerial work will provide new geoscientific data to identify areas off the Victorian coast that are prospective for offshore gas.

The Minister also announced plans to further strengthen offshore gas exploration – specifically in the Otway geological basin – by advancing plans to release offshore areas for commercial exploration next year.

This will include a survey of 18,000 square kilometres in the Otway Basin, which includes land that will be released as new acreage.

Discussions with industry are imminent and the release will help promote more commercial gas exploration and development before the end of next year.

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