Oil & gas production

South Australia has been a major producer and supplier of oil & gas to domestic markets for decades, since gas was discovered in the Cooper Basin on New Year's Eve of 1963 and oil soon after.

The Cooper and Eromanga basins straddle northeastern South Australia and South West Queensland and are Australia’s largest onshore petroleum regions. The Cooper Basin is recognised as a world class oil & gas resource and Australia's most significant onshore basin in terms of resource size, economic inputs and energy security (for example it supplies over 90% of NSW gas needs.) South Australia’s Otway Basin has also been producing gas for several decades.

Together with world class resources, South Australia has infrastructure in place to access and transport petroleum resources and products, including gas and liquids pipelines together with established processing plants and export loading facilities at Port Bonython.

Beach Energy Equipment in the Cooper Basin-2

The Cooper Basin is a mature basin and until recent years, gas and oil production had been on the decline. With newer technologies enabling better access, production is again on the increase with record oil production from the Cooper realised in the last two years.  

Excitement has also been building in recent times over South Australia’s unconventional oil and gas potential. The State’s oil & gas exploration spend for 2013-14 was a record $531 million, with a large portion of this focussed on exploration for unconventional gas in the Cooper Basin. Unconventional gas is also being explored in the South East, around the Penola region.

Some of the companies producing and exploring for oil & gas in South Australia’s onshore basins include:

  • Beach Energy
  • Cooper Energy
  • Santos
  • Senex Energy

Read the history of oil production in the Cooper Basin.

Although there is no oil or gas produced offshore in South Australia at present, several companies are investing substantially in exploration in the Great Australian Bight.