Simon Studies Seismic Surveys

Simon Studies Seismic Surveys

Acting Western Australia Minister for Mines and Petroleum Simon O’Brien

South-West Seismic Work To Provide Resource Sector With Vital Data

Victor P Taffa

Parts of the Harvey and Waroona Shires will become a research site this week as seismic work begins to capture essential geological data from the area.

Acting Minister for Mines and Petroleum Simon O’Brien said the information gathered by the survey would help expand scientific understanding of the area for a range of important applications.

Such areas included water resources; potential geothermal sites; carbon capture and storage sites; and the prospect of other potential resources.

“The images from such surveys provide vital data to help connect the South-West geology to the rest of the State and nation and provide a more complete picture of Australia’s geology.” Mr. O’Brien said.

The Department of Mines and Petroleum’s (DMP) Geological Survey of Western Australia and Geoscience Australia will take about two weeks to survey the Southern Perth Basin.

The Minister said the survey was ahead of schedule after heavy rains in central Australia interrupted other work programs.

“The non-invasive survey will be conducted along roads and road verges across six pathways throughout the two shires.” Mr. O’Brien said.

“The area of interest is the Lesueur formation in the Swan Coastal Plain, north of the Kemerton industrial area, which desktop studies have identified as being the best potential storage site for CO2.”

“The survey results will be analysed and processed to create an image of the subsurface geology as part of the research for the Collie Hub carbon capture and storage proposal.” Mr. O’Brien said.

Local community members were provided information about the Collie Hub proposal through a workshop run by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) at Harvey earlier last month.

The Collie Hub Proposal involves capturing CO2 from emissions sources, compressing the gas and pumping it deep (2 to 3 km) beneath the earth for permanent storage.

The Collie Hub Proposal is a WA Government-industry partnership, incorporating the DMP and a group of six major South-West companies.

“It is expected to take four years of study and research, including detailed modelling based on new data, before a final decision can be made.” Mr. O’Brien said.

“If the South-West project does go ahead, it will ensure longevity of the region’s most important industries, which currently provide jobs for more than 10,000 people.”

The seismic survey methods will enable the geoscientists to create images of the geological features deep below the surface and interpret the nature of structures which can create resource potential.

The survey involves the use of specially designed vibroseis trucks that generate seismic waves (similar to sound waves).

These waves travel through the earth, are reflected off the subsurface geological layers, and then detected by geophones (similar to sensitive microphones).