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Petroleum Hydrogeology of the Cooper and Eromanga Basins, Australia: Some Insights from Mathematical Modeling and Fluid Inclusion Data1

D. Toupin, P. J. Eadington, M. Person, P. Morin, J. Wieck, and D. Warner6


Mathematical modeling and fluid inclusion data analysis are used to reconstruct the petroleum hydrogeology of the Australian Cooper and Eromanga basins. Our analysis focuses on the development of topography- and compaction-driven groundwater flow systems and their role in heat redistribution, petroleum generation, and oil and brine migration during basin evolution. Finite-element models of basin transport processes are constructed along northeast-southwest (AA´) and northwest-southeast (BB´) cross sections that generally follow the 
present-day groundwater flow patterns through these basins. Numerical results are presented in the

©Copyright 1997. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.

1Manuscript received September 19, 1995; revised manuscript received July 3, 1996; final acceptance November 11, 1996.

2Independent Consultant, 12 Rinzee Road, Dracut, Massachusetts 01826.

3CSIRO Division of Petroleum Exploration, 51 Delhi Road, North Ryde, NSW 2113, Australia.

4Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Minnesota, 310 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455 (E-mail: [email protected]

5GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc., 380 Harvey Road, Manchester, New Hampshire 03103.

6Santos Ltd., 101 Grenfell Street, Adelaide, SA 7000, Australia.

This research is supported by a grant from the Petroleum Research Fund, administered by the American Chemical Society, PRF 24184-AC8. We would also like to acknowledge the Orpha and George Gibson Hydrogeology Endowment and the McKnight Land-Grant Professorship Program at the University of Minnesota. We thank the CSIRO Division of Exploration Geosciences for providing support for travel costs within Australia. Data provided by Santos Ltd. and the Department of Mines and Energy, South Australia, are also gratefully acknowledged. Computational work performed on this project was done at the Gibson Computational Hydrogeology Laboratory at the University of Minnesota, which is supported by the National Science Foundation under EAR 94-05807. Special thanks go to M. A. Habermehl of the Australian Geological Survey Organization, David Gravestock of the South Australia Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, and Mike Congreves of Santos Ltd. for their assistance on interpreting the petroleum geology and hydrogeology of the Cooper and Eromanga basins. The review comments of Joseph Tóth, Stefan Bachu, and Michelle Walvoord, as well as discussions with Ward Sanford, greatly improved the quality of this manuscript. Three-dimensional model results presented in this paper are available in animated form on VHS videocassette and can be obtained by contacting Mark Person at the address listed for him as the corresponding author.

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