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Otway Basin South Australia


The Otway Basin is approximately 500km long from Cape Jaffa in South Australia to north-west Tasmania, covering both onshore and offshore.

Beach Energy is the permit holder of Petroleum Production License 62 (PPL62) where it operates the Katnook Gas Processing Facility, just south of Penola. This facility processes natural gas from nearby wells for supply to local homes and businesses.

Beach’s operations in the South Australian Otway Basin have been supported by grants from the South Australian Government’s PACE scheme, and the Commonwealth Government’s GAP scheme – both with objectives to bring new gas into the local energy market.

Drilling of the Haselgrove 3 ST1 well

In September 2017, Beach commenced drilling Haselgrove-3 targeting the Sawpit Sandstone and shallower Pretty Hill Sandstone, and in January 2018 Haselgrove-3 was announced as a new natural gas field discovery.

In 2019, Beach drilled the Haselgrove-4 appraisal well and the Dombey-1 exploration well.

Beach has also developed a new gas processing facility, commissioning the redeveloped Katnook Gas Processing Facility, with first gas delivered in January 2020.



Beach Energy has released a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and its accompanying Statement of Environmental Objectives (SEO) for Geophysical Operations in the onshore Otway Basin, South Australia.

Click here for the South East Survey consultation site

Beach’s Regional Manager (South East SA) Jon Conti

Key facts

  • Safety and environmental sustainability are priorities for Beach, and only proven technologies are used in our operations
  • Beach does not undertake any fracture stimulation (fracking) activities in the South Australian Otway Basin
  • More than 100 oil and gas wells have been drilled in the Onshore Otway Basin, with the first exploration well drilled in the South East in 1880’s
  • Beach was first active in the region in the early 1960’s
  • Beach is a supporter of local industry – more than $1.4 million was spent on procuring local goods and services during the drilling of Haselgrove-3


The Otway basin was formed by multi-stage rift-sag and inversion phases. Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous rifting resulted in the east-west trending Inner Otway Basin. Late Cretaceous rifting, culminating in continental breakup in the Maastrichtian, produced northwest-southeast trending depocentres beneath the outer shelf and slope. Multiple phases of compression in the Cretaceous-Recent resulted in inversion and wrenching of pre-existing structures.

The basin contains five major depocentres, the mainly onshore Inner Otway Basin, the offshore Morum, Nelson and Hunter Sub-basins and eastern Torquay Sub-basin. The Latest Jurassic-Early Cretaceous Otway Supergroup comprises up to 8km of continental and fluvio-lacustrine sediments that accumulated in grabens and half-grabens of the first rifting event.

Coastal-plain, deltaic and marine sediments of the Late Cretaceous Sherbrook Group are up to 5km thick. The Paleocene-middle Eocene Wangerrip Group sediments were deposited in coastal plain, deltaic and inner shelf settings and are separated from the open marine, mixed carbonates/siliciclastics of the Eocene-Miocene Nirrandra and Heytesbury groups, by a major unconformity.

The main exploration targets in the Otway Basin are the Waarre Sandstone at the base of the Sherbrook Group and sandstones of the Pretty Hill Formation and Katnook Sandstone/Windermere Sandstone Member in the Early Cretaceous section. The main source rocks occur in the Early Cretaceous section. Regional and intraformational seals exist in the Pretty Hill, Laira, Eumeralla and Flaxman formations, the Belfast, Skull Creek and Pember mudstones and mudstones and marls of the Wangerrip, Nirrandra and Heytesbury groups. Play types include faulted anticlines, large anticlinal features and tilted fault blocks.

Further information

Beach is committed to keeping the local community informed of its operations in the region and has a full time Regional Manager based in the South East.

Penola Regional Office
48 Church Street Penola

Jon Conti
Regional Manager

For more information on the petroleum industry regulatory processes in South Australia please visit: