Exploration for petroleum in Australian Queensland began in the Bowen and overlying Surat Basins in 1908. During the next 50 years a few small fields were found.
The discovery of oil at Moonie in 1961 and a number of gas fields on the Roma Shelf during the 1960s triggered extensive seismic and drilling programs. This resulted in additional discoveries and the construction of an oil pipeline to Brisbane in 1964 and a gas pipeline in 1969.
To date more than 680 exploration and 350 appraisal wells have been drilled. Approximately 16 × 109 m3 of gas and 5 × 106 ML of oil have been discovered. There is potential for an additional 16 × 109 m3 of gas and 2 × 106 ML of oil reserves to be found in the basins.
Since the early 1960s, the Bowen and Surat basins have been the target of extensive exploration for petroleum. Prior to the 1990s, discoveries were primarily found in structural traps, with a variable contribution from stratigraphic trapping.
Since the 1990s, there has been a shift from conventional discoveries to accumulations needing some application of additional technology for their extraction, for example, coal seam gas in the Permian and Jurassic coal measures, or reduction of formation damage in Permian sandstone reservoirs
There is a much greater risk in finding the oil reserves than the gas reserves. The oil and gas reserves occur within Permian, Triassic and Jurassic sandstone reservoirs.