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Otway Basin Victoria

Otway Basin

The Otway Basin is an onshore and offshore basin which extends approximately 500 kilometres from Cape Jaffa in South Australia to north-west Tasmania.

In Victoria, Beach’s operations in the Otway Basin involve natural gas production from the Halladale and Speculant natural gas fields, as well as the Geographe and Thylacine gas fields, with natural gas being piped and processed at the Otway Gas Plant near Port Campbell.

Once processed, the gas is sold to retailers who use it for domestic or commercial consumption in the East Coast gas market.

Otway Gas Plant, Victoria

Map showing site

Natural gas from the Geographe and Thylacine offshore production wells is being piped and processed at the Otway Gas Plant near Port Campbell.

The first successful extraction of gas from the Halladale, Black Watch and Speculant Project was completed in August 2016.

The Halladale 1 and Speculant 1 and 2 wells are now in the production phase with the raw gas flowing from the well heads, through 33km of buried pipeline, to the Otway Gas Plant for processing.

Planning is now underway for the Black Watch well, with drilling due to begin in 2019.



The Black Watch well construction is expected to start in 2019, depending on several factors including regulatory approvals, weather windows and availability of contractors.

The Project will run over phases with different levels of activity, vehicle movements and people on site.

To find out more about the project, read the Black Watch information sheet.

Black Watch information sheet

Halladale well head

Halladale well head

Halladale drill site (2015-2016)


The Enterprise Project is a program to develop additional offshore natural gas reservoirs in the Victorian Otway Basin. The potential reservoirs are located offshore, up to 3 nautical miles (5.55 km) from the coastline, while the well site will be located onshore near Port Campbell.

Stakeholder consultation is an important part of preparing the project’s  Environment Management Plan as it helps identify local issues and concerns and ensures our planning manages potential impacts.

Beach has commenced engagement with local land holders and community
members and is keen to hear from any community members who would like further information or have any questions about this project. Download the information sheet by clicking the button below to learn more.


Extended Reach Drilling

The Halladale, Black Watch and Speculant Project uses an ‘extended reach drilling’ method. This allows for offshore natural gas reservoirs to be accessed from an onshore well site.

This proven technology is safe, efficient, has minimal environment impact, and limits the visual impact by avoiding the need for an offshore drill rig.

This method involves drilling up to 2000 metres below the surface, while using directional drilling techniques to steer the well offshore, reaching a total drilling distance of around 6.5 kilometres to the potential gas reservoirs under the seabed.

Image of Thylacine-offshore platform, Otway, in the early morning with calm sea and magnificent crimson sunrise in background

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 Victoria
  • Beach first held permits for the Otway Basin in the 1970s, and drilled its first commercial gas discovery in the basin.
  • Beach provides local employment opportunities at the Otway Gas Plant and local drilling operations
  • Beach is a strong supporter of the local community and undertakes a number of local sponsorships with local clubs and organisations


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.

Helicopter landing at Thylacine Platform

Helicopter landing at Thylacine Platform


To learn more about Beach’s operations in the Victorian Otway Basin, contact our Community Relations Manager (Victoria):

Linda French
Community Relations Manager – Victoria

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