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The Cooper basin, which produces a large proportion of Australia's natural gas, also includes small oil fields. Source rocks for the hydrocarbons are believed to be the terrestrial coal measure sediments of the Permian Gidgealpa Group.
Dispersed organic matter in the sediments of the Gidgealpa Group in the Patchawarra trough, Cooper basin, ranges between 1 and 5% by volume, through seven formations. Less than 10% of the dispersed organic matter is exinite, and less than 30% is vitrinite. If these two macerals only are considered as source material for the liquid hydrocarbons, none of the formations contains the 0.5% organic carbon currently deemed necessary for a sediment to be classified as a source rock. If inertinite is regarded to have generating potential, then most of the formations rate as good to excellent source rocks.
Recent studies on vitrinites and inertinites from a variety of coal seams suggest that if vitrinite is accepted as a possible source of liquid hydrocarbons, then inertinite is equally prospective. Consequently, dispersed inertinite in the Gidgealpa Group sediments is proposed as one of the sources for the liquid hydrocarbons in the Cooper basin.
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