Skip to content

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.

In South Australia, Beach Energy is currently undertaking a program of onshore conventional gas drilling activities in the South Australian Otway Basin, near Penola.

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.

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

Map showing location of sites

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 to replace the existing Katnook gas plant which operated continuously between 1991 and 2013, providing natural gas to the south east.


Consultation on HASeLGROVE-4dw1

The Haselgrove-4DW1 well is designed as a deviated well targeting a different section of the Sawpit Sandstone.

The well is expected to start in early 2020 and will run over phases with different levels of activity, vehicle movement and people on site.

Beach has commenced engagement with local landholders and community members and is keen to hear from community members who would like further information or have questions about the well.

To find out more, read the below information sheet:



Haselgrove drill rig under ominous dark sky's

Haselgrove-3 drilling

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 Otway Basin
  • The first exploration wells were drilled in the South East in 1880’s and Beach was first active in the region in the early 1960’s
  • 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.

Jon Conti
Regional Manager

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