Abstract

The North West Shelf (NWS) of Australia is a prolific hydrocarbon province hosting significant volumes of hydrocarbons, primarily derived from Jurassic and Cretaceous targets. A new regional, integrated geoscience study has been undertaken to develop insights into the paleogeography and petroleum systems of Late Permian to Triassic successions, which have been underexplored historically in favor of Jurassic to Cretaceous targets. Within the NWS study area, graben and half-graben depocenters developed in response to intracratonic rifting that preceded later fragmentation and northward rifting of small continental blocks. This, coupled with contemporaneous cycles of rising sea levels, brought about the development of large embayments and shallow, epeiric seas between the Australian continental landmass and outlying continental fragments in the early stages of divergence. Key elements of the study results discussed herein include the study methodology, the paleogeographic and gross depositional environment mapping, and the reservoir and source kitchen modeling. The study results highlight the presence of depocenters that developed within oblique rift zones due to regional Permo-Triassic strike-slip tectonics that bear compelling similarities to modern-day analogues. These intracratonic rift zones are well-known and prominent tectonic features resulting from mantle upwelling and weakening of overlying lithospheric crust, initiating the development of divergent intraplate depocenters. The comprehensive analysis of these depocenters from a paleogeographic and petroleum system perspective provides a basin evaluation tool for Triassic prospectivity.

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