Communique 8 - August 2019

The eighth meeting of the Stakeholder Advisory Panel for the Victorian Gas Program's (VGP) Onshore Conventional Gas Studies was held in Melbourne on Thursday, 8 August 2019.

The meeting began with an update on the geological modelling of areas in the south west that may have the rock characteristics, sequence and structure to potentially host onshore conventional gas.

The Panel’s questions about the modelling included clarification about the methodology used to determine an area’s prospectivity and its resource estimate. There was also discussion about the types of exploration activities that would be required to confirm if a prospective area had a commercial quantity of conventional gas.

Some of the Geological Survey of Victoria team sharing the science at Sheepvention 2018 in Hamilton.

Panel members also participated in a Resource and Land Use Planning workshop to examine and prioritise the key themes for a new land use model of the Otway Basin. The model seeks to identify areas of sensitivity and significance that may need to be considered if the moratorium on exploration of onshore conventional gas was allowed to sunset in 2020.

Members provided advice and input on the model’s themes, priorities and data sources. An overview of the proposed community and stakeholder consultation workshops across the Otway Basin to explain the model and seek public feedback was also discussed.

Panel members were updated on VGP activities, including:

  • Progress of the rock characterisation studies, including sampling of close to 7,000 south-west Victorian rock specimens resulting in over 300,000 new measurements. This new data is being fed into the modelling of the prospective resource areas in the Otway Basin. The data will be a key input to estimating Victoria’s undiscovered gas potential.
  • The near completion of 3D geological models for the Otway Basin. A similar 3D framework model is also being built for the Gippsland Basin.
  • The release of the largest airborne gravity dataset ever collected in Victoria. Modelling using the new data will improve current understanding of deep structures in the Otway Basin, especially in areas where there is currently very little data.
  • Completion of the second atmospheric baseline concentration survey (carbon dioxide and methane) for both Gippsland and south west Victoria. The results are similar to the first round, which showed levels were within normal Environmental Protection Authority ranges.
  • Finalisation of the groundwater sampling program for both the Otway and Gippsland basins, with 113 deep groundwater samples collected.
  • Completion of the investigations into opportunities for further underground gas storage. The reports will be made publicly available in late 2019/early 2020.
  • Engagement with over 660 individual stakeholders across south-west Victoria, Melbourne and Gippsland through more than 550 events (i.e. briefings, meetings, forums, emails and telephone calls).
  • Presentations to over 1,200 primary and secondary students in south west Victoria to increase their understanding of geoscience and their regional geology.
  • The commencement of a social research survey across the Otway and Gippsland basins that will examine communities’ perceptions of onshore conventional gas exploration and development.
  • The upcoming release of Progress Report 3 and other VGP technical reports.

The Panel also received a presentation on the Victorian Hydrogen Investment Program by a representative from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. The State Government backed program will support hydrogen research, trials and demonstrations, creating a new base of industry knowledge and skills to assist in diversifying Victoria’s energy future. More information can be found at the Energy website.

The next Stakeholder Advisory Panel meeting will be held in November 2019.

Page last updated: 20 November 2019