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New Triassic Multi-Client Studies from MGPalaeo

MGPalaeo are excited to announce two new Triassic multi-client studies; a Greater T. playfordii study (Middle-Early Triassic), and a Bonaparte Basin Triassic Breakdown. Both studies expand upon the Dorado structural-stratigraphic play trend identified in the Bedout Sub-basin. For more information on these studies, please read on:

Greater T. playfordii Study (Middle-Early Triassic)

MGPalaeo are undertaking a new multi-client study investigating the palynological assemblages within the Triplexisporites playfordii Zone across the greater North West Shelf. The emergence of the Dorado structural-stratigraphic play trend in the Bedout Sub-basin highlights the importance of the Middle–Early Triassic T. playfordii Zone within which the reservoir section resides. High-resolution sub-division of the T. playfordii Zone within the Bedout Sub-basin has been demonstrated by MGPalaeo through detailed reanalysis of existing palynological material, enabling the identification of 30 subzones through this key interval. [For more information on the original study, please click here.]

The new Greater T. playfordii Study aims to expand the sub-zonal resolution to sections outside of the Bedout Sub-basin, by reanalysing Triassic sections from 12 wells across the Carnarvon and Bonaparte basins (Figure 1). The results will allow for greater confidence in recognition of temporal equivalent sections to those in the Bedout Sub-basin.

Website link: Greater T. playfordii Study


MGPalaeo Greater T playfordii Study
Figure 1: Wells in black are part of the Greater T. playfordii study. Wells in blue are those from the original Bedout Multi-Client study.

Bonaparte Basin Triassic Breakdown

There has been significant industry focus on the Late Triassic in the Northern Carnarvon Basin (Brigadier and Mungaroo formations) for several decades, along with more recent interest in Middle Triassic plays in the Roebuck Basin (Phoenix, Roc, and Dorado discoveries).  This has led to the development of high resolution biostratigraphic schemes for the Late and Middle Triassic in these basins, however, our palynological knowledge has not kept apace at the other end of the North West Shelf.  Following renewed recent interest in the Northern Bonaparte Basin, we will undertake a targeted review of the Triassic palynology of that basin.  

A key focus will be on the thick S. speciosusS. quadrifidus, and T. playfordii zonal intervals present in key wells (Figure 2). There are notable discrepancies between the MGPalaeo Triassic zonations developed in the Northern Carnarvon Basin (Morgan, Hooker, & Ingram, 2012) and the Robin Helby Bonaparte Basin zonal schemes. This study should result in a clearer understanding of how these different schemes are best aligned, refining correlations on a regional scale.

The Bonaparte Basin Triassic Breakdown Study will also investigate if any of the M. crenulatus and S. speciosus zonal subdivisions, widely utilised in Mungaroo Delta exploration activities, can be applied to the Bonaparte Basin. If not, the aim will be to develop a consistent subdivision for these Carnian–Norian successions and to better recognise and define any significant stratigraphic breaks present in this interval. 

Website link: Bonaparte Basin Triassic Breakdown


MGPalaeo Bonaparte Basin Triassic Breakdown
Figure 2: Wells selected for the Bonaparte Basin Triassic Breakdown.

For more information on the scope or deliverables of either study, or details on the early commitment prices, please get in touch with MGPalaeo by emailing us at [email protected]

COVID-19 Update

From the team at MGPalaeo:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and following advice and guidelines from the Australian Government, the majority of MGPalaeo staff will be working from home from today, Tuesday 24 March, until further notice.

The health and safety of our staff and their families is our top priority, but we aim to ensure business continues for all our clients through these extremely challenging times. Our laboratory will remain operational with a reduced crew on shift, so we can continue to process samples with minimal delay on turnaround times, whilst ensuring social distancing measures are strictly enforced.

While our analytical team will largely be working from home, this will not affect our ability to work on existing or new proprietary projects. Our team have already begun initiating several non-proprietary studies in multiple areas of interest which we aim to complete during this time, but we would welcome the opportunity to pursue any review studies you have been considering. We also have well data packs covering wireline logs, sequences, and biostratigraphic picks from our AUSTRALIS Geological Database ready for immediate delivery to aid staff working on projects from home.

Our staff can continue to be contacted via their individual emails/phone numbers to discuss projects and opportunities, or please contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions or concerns.

We thank you for your understanding and ongoing support through this difficult time. It’s up to all of us to help slow the spread of this virus.

Please stay safe, everyone.

Biostratigraphy Review of the Onshore Otway Basin (Victoria)

MGPalaeo is excited to announce the release of a new biostratigraphy project undertaken for the Geological Survey of Victoria (GSV). The task was to review and supplement the current biostratigraphic dataset for the onshore Otway Basin in Victoria. This project was the result of a collaborative effort with Stephen Gallagher, Fabian Stanislaus and Vera Korasidis from The University of Melbourne, and Mike Macphail from the Australian National University.

As part of the Victorian Gas Program, GSV is studying petroleum systems components (reservoir, seal and source) to assess the petroleum prospectivity of the Victorian Otway Basin and to understand the risks, benefits and impacts of onshore conventional gas exploration and production.

MGPalaeo-GSV Otway palynological review
Figure 1: Onshore Otway Basin location map showing the wells and boreholes with legacy and new palynological data.

The new analyses will contribute to GSV’s regional geological knowledge, allowing more confident assessments of the hydrocarbon prospectivity of the Otway Basin by dating rock formations and understanding the environment that the rocks were deposited in.

Existing biostratigraphic data from 249 onshore Otway Basin wells and boreholes were reviewed, resulting in the selection of 1060 rock samples for new analyses from 120 onshore Otway Basin boreholes (Figure 1). The study utilised both palynological (fossilised spores, pollen and organic-walled microplankton) and micropalaeontological (fossilised foraminifera) data. These complementary approaches typically work better in differing rock types (mud/siltstones versus carbonates) and thus provide a more complete understanding of the stratigraphy and higher resolution correlations when combined.

During the review phase of the study, legacy data from vintage reports were updated to the most recent biostratigraphic zonation schemes. Some datasets had not been assessed since the 1960s. Revising the interpretation of such reports on a basin scale permitted the accurate comparison of biostratigraphic data between these older boreholes and more modern wells. This in turn led to revised correlations and the identification of data deficient intervals, as well as areas where the biostratigraphy needed further refining.

The final sampling program included new analysis of 748 palynology samples ranging from the Early Cretaceous to Cenozoic. A further 312 Late Cretaceous to Neogene micropalaeontological samples were selected by Associate Professor Steven Gallagher from the University of Melbourne, who led the micropalaentological aspect of the project. Analysis of such a large volume of samples substantially increased the number of biostratigraphic data points across a broad geographic area of the basin, providing additional correlative constraints on the stratigraphy.

Specifically, analysis of Late Cretaceous palynological samples enabled MGPalaeo to apply its high-resolution zonation for the Otway Basin across multiple wells. This identified the position of the Cretaceous/Palaeogene boundary regionally and tested published hypotheses regarding the diachroneity of lithostratigraphic units above the basin’s producing reservoir, the Waarre Formation.

Following the analysis phase, the new biostratigraphic results were plotted against log data, allowing further refinement of well correlations. This in turn permitted the construction of revised stratigraphic charts for multiple depocenters across the onshore Otway Basin, summarising key concepts and regional knowledge.

The full reports, including individual summaries for every well with biostratigraphic data in the onshore Otway Basin in the state of Victoria, are available following the links below:

New Palynology results from legacy core and cuttings

New Micropalaeontological results from legacy core


MGPalaeo-GSV Otway palynological review

MGPalaeo’s Additional Otway Basin datasets

Separate to this, we have also been working on a palynological add on pack to the study, summarising all the biostratigraphic data for the Otway Basin in South Australia and offshore Victoria, updated to the latest zonation scheme. More information will be coming soon, but please contact us on [email protected] to discuss further.


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From the Pinnacles to post-glacial Permian Plays of the Perth Basin

Here’s something a little different this time, as we wanted to give a summary of the recent Perth Basin fieldtrip that Amely helped run, plus discuss our upcoming Perth Basin core workshop. As such, the following is by Chris Watts:

We’ve sadly packed away our hiking boots following a three-day geological fieldtrip through the Northern Perth Basin over the weekend (6-8 Sept), led by Simon Sturrock (Strat Trap), Darren Ferdinando (Murphy Oil), and our very own Amely Allgöwer (MGPalaeo).

The trip focused on the regressive to transgressive, Early Permian sequence exposed along the Irwin River in Coalseam Conservation Park. Between Darren, Simon, and Amely the group integrated sedimentology and ichnofacies with predictive sequence stratigraphic analysis to compare the outcrop to the prospective play in the basin.

On the Friday after AEGC 2019, a group of 27 very punctual geoscientists ranging in age and experience from Cenozoic to Devonian gathered at 8am outside the Crown in Perth and excitedly climbed onto the bus ready for the short drive up to the Mingenew Hotel, which would serve as basecamp for the next few days.

The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park - MGPalaeo Perth Basin fieldtrip 2019
The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park

To break up the drive and show our international visitors some of what Western Australia has to offer, the bus stopped by the Pinnacles in Nambung National Park. The group took some photos of the fascinating landscape before diving into discussion on what exact mechanisms may have formed the Pinnacles. After a lunch stop in Cervantes (which included ice-cream), attendees were treated to a walk out over the stromatolites of Lake Thetis; a small, permanent metahaline lake fed by rain and groundwater. These stromatolites developed during the last 3,000-4,000 years, though the structures they produce have been identified as far back as 3.45 billion years ago in the rock record, making them one of Earth’s ultimate survivors.

Stromatolites at Lake Thetis - MGPalaeo Perth Basin fieldtrip 2019
Stromatolites at Lake Thetis

By the time the group finished admiring the stromatolites, less than 200 km and one more stop stood between the geologists and their evening beers at the Mingenew Hotel. The picturesque view at Dynamite Bay in Green Head, however, was worth the wait. The low-lying cliffs protect the beach from strong winds, making it a perfect place to stop, enjoy a coffee, and soak in the afternoon colours of the bay.

Outcrop of the Holmwood Shale and High Cliff Sandstone along the Irwin River - MGPalaeo Perth Basin fieldtrip 2019
Outcrop of the Holmwood Shale and High Cliff Sandstone along the Irwin River

On Saturday morning, the group boarded the bus with a degree of excitement that only geologists heading to a new outcrop can manage. The outcrops along the Irwin River did not disappoint. The shallowly dipping strata meant participants could walk along the cliff until the Early Permian units of interest were at eye level for easy examination. Discussions at the Irwin River outcrops covered the sedimentary structures, fossils, trace fossils, the environments in which each of the formations were deposited, and their heterogeneity along dip which often leads to confusion when dealing with lithostratigraphic terms. With stunning glacial drop stones, fossil bryozoan, crinoids, corals, and bivalves, plus a large array of inchogenera there was something for everyone.

Rippled and weakly bioturbated sediments in the Irwin River Coal Measures - MGPalaeo Perth Basin fieldtrip 2019
Rippled and weakly bioturbated sediments in the Irwin River Coal Measures

Sunday morning meant it was time to start the drive back to Perth. Along the way we stopped for a quick look at a Pleistocene reef outcrop, formed by a range of branching, palmate, and horizontal coral during the last interglacial period when the sea was 2.5 m above the present level.

Our international visitors were lucky enough to spot wildflowers, kangaroos, and emus on the drive back, before enjoying the sites of wineries in the swan valley. By the time the group returned to the Crown in Burswood, participants were already hard at work planning the next fieldtrip, and discussing the outcrops seen over the past few days.

The fieldtrip group posing around a large dropstone - MGPalaeo Perth Basin fieldtrip 2019
The fieldtrip group posing around a large dropstone

Here at MGPalaeo, we would like to extend a huge thank-you to Deidre Brooks for organising the fieldtrip, Terry from Cross Country Charters for getting us to the outcrops safely, the instructors Simon, Darren, and Amely for an excellent trip, and to all the participants for the wonderful company and animated discussions.

Hopefully the stunning outcrops and in-depth discussions have rekindled everyone’s passion for the Perth Basin. It certainly has ours, and we’ve now started planning a Perth Basin integrated core workshop. If you are interested in attending such a workshop (we haven’t sorted out dates yet), please let us know on [email protected].


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See You at AEGC 2019!

MGPalaeo will be attending AEGC 2019 during 3-5 September, and will be sharing booth #7 with our friends from Chemostrat. We’d love you to call in and say hi!

Amely will also be presenting on ‘Fine-scale variations in distributary mouth-bar morphology in the Middle Triassic Caley Member of the Bedout Sub-basin, Western Australia.’ Her talk is at 4.40pm on Tues 3rd September, so come along and hear what she has to say. Come armed with your questions for Amely to answer, too!

Speaking of questions, our team will be on hand to discuss any palynological or sedimentological questions you may have, and will be happy to discuss ideas with you.

We will have a demo version of our AUSTRALIS geological database available during the conference too. Our database contains the most up-to-date interpretation of geological data that exists, covering more than 2000 wells across the NWS and Perth Basin, using one consistent palynological zonation scheme.

And lastly, we have some great ‘goodies’ to give away (palynological playing cards! Permian mouse pads!), so please drop by and say hello, have a game of cards, and take our database for a spin. We look forward to seeing you next week!

Highly deformed and loaded sandstone base in the Roc 2 well, contrasting with the underlying sharp to erosive based sandstone bed. Passively sand-filled burrows, including Chondrites are present throughout the mudstones.

Acreage Release Data Packs, coming soon…

There’s some exciting news this month with the impending release of MGPalaeo’s Acreage Release Data Packs.

Launching in harmony with the Australian Government’s 2019 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Releases at the end of July, the data packs will provide the most up-to-date and detailed geological data available for each area.

As the data packs are derived from MGPalaeo’s dynamic AUSTRALIS geological database, all palynological data has been updated to one consistent zonation scheme (the industry standard MGP 2014) by experienced palynologists. Such a consistent data set is crucial when building geological models, providing greater confidence in lithostratigraphic and sequence stratigraphic picks, and correlations between wells.

GPinfoMap-Carnarvon Basin Acreage Releases 2019-MGPalaeo

While these packs will be available via our website, GPinfo users will also be able to click on an acreage of interest and view a high-level summary of the data pack for that area, then follow a link to our website for more information, including a downloadable spreadsheet of all available data types for each well.

Online credit card options for immediate purchase of palynological data packs will be available via the MGPalaeo website. For companies interested in additional data types (sequence stratigraphic picks, lithostratigraphy, wireline logs, geochemistry, etc), these are available from our AUSTRALIS geological database and can be tailored to specific needs.

We’re working very hard with GPinfo to get everything set up, and we’ll be announcing the release of the data packs very soon. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected].

The Bedout Workshop – a core workshop week full of firsts!

We are extremely pleased to announce that our recent Bedout Sub-basin core workshop was the highest attended core workshop in MGPalaeo’s history, with 46 participants from all over Australia and overseas joining us on our journey through the Lower Keraudren Formation. This much interest in the Bedout Sub-basin meant it was impossible to fit everyone in on the same day, so we had to run the workshop three times! That’s certainly a first for us!

MGPalaeo was lucky enough to be the first company to run a workshop showcasing the sedimentology and palynology of the recently released Roc 2 well, located near to the staggering oil discovery in Dorado 1. To make sure we took full advantage of this opportunity, we incorporated cores from Phoenix 1, Phoenix 2 and Bruce 1 at the same time, as these are the only wells containing core over the Middle Triassic in this area.

MGPalaeo's Bedout Sub-basin core workshopThe nearly 120m of Roc 2 cores were clearly the highlight of the workshop, with some people coming back to have a look at it for a second time. Detailed examination and integration of the sedimentology and palynology produced many surprises and unexpected variations in depositional environments over short intervals. With the integration of sedimentological structures, ichnology and palynology, we were able to differentiate small changes in delta morphologies affecting reservoir quality and TOC content. The cores in Phoenix 1, Phoenix 2 and Bruce 1 were a little bit easier to ‘digest’ with fewer variations in depositional environments. Even so, significant alternative interpretations were presented, taking us from delta top to delta front environments.

It was also the first core workshop where we had a namesake for one of our participants; a short, and in parts quite coarse (in a sedimentology kind of way) get-together that was only interrupted by the occasional fault zone!

We are always looking at how we can improve our workshops, so we were delighted to receive very positive feedback for this one, with the highlight noted as being the integration of sedimentology and palynology. Combining these two disciplines certainly helps create more accurate geological models, and it is something we will keep working on integrating for future workshops.

MGPalaeo's Bedout Sub-basin core workshopMGPalaeo would like to thank all our participants for attending and contributing to our core workshop, and for making it the success it was. We couldn’t have done it without your involvement. We had a great time in the core store sharing our knowledge and listening to alternative ideas, so thank you for joining us on our journey through the Bedout Sub-basin.

MGPalaeo would also like to thank the members of the DMIRS core store staff, especially Paul Stephenson, for their assistance and support in allowing this workshop to happen.

We have more core workshops planned for this year and next, so don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter and receive the announcements first. We also have a range of core workshops available for company internal training that we run on request. And finally, both our comprehensive palynological study and our integrated core study of the Bedout Sub-basin now incorporate Roc-2 data, so please contact us for more information.

See you in the core store!

Second Workshop Added Due To Popular Demand

Roc 2 MGPalaeo core workshop

Our one-day Bedout Sub-basin workshop on the 6th of February has sold out! So due to popular demand, we will be running the workshop a second time on the 8th of February. Book your spot now while you can!

The focus of the workshop will be the recently released Roc 2 core from the gas-condensate bearing Caley Member reservoir. The cores in Phoenix 1, Phoenix 2 and Bruce 1 from the Barret Member will also be examined during the day.

Interaction of various shallow marine processes is evident in the cores in Roc 2 and the Phoenix wells. Sedimentological observations from core will be integrated with palynological data to examine subtle changes in depositional environments.

Palynological assemblage fluctuations will be discussed to highlight both local environmental differences and larger scale climatic signals. Detailed correlations between the Roc and Phoenix wells will be demonstrated through the utilisation of palynological event stratigraphy.

Date: 6th February 2019 (FULL); 8th February 2019 (SPACES AVAILABLE)
Time: 8:00am to 4:00pm
Venue: Core Library DMP, 37 Harris Street, Carlisle

Costs (excluding GST):
Per person: AU$800
Per group of up to 5: AU$3200
Price includes a handout booklet and catering.

For more information or to register for the course, please contact [email protected] or [email protected]. To download a flyer of this workshop, click here.

Bedout Sub-basin: Roc 2, Phoenix 1 and Phoenix 2 Integrated Core Workshop

Roc 2 MGPalaeo core workshopMGPalaeo are running a one-day workshop focussing on the integration of palynology and sedimentology from selected cored wells over the Middle Triassic Caley and Barret fms in the Bedout Sub-basin.

The focus of the workshop will be the recently released Roc 2 core from the gas-condensate bearing Caley Member reservoir. The cores in Phoenix 1, Phoenix 2 and Bruce 1 from the Barret Member will also be examined during the day.

Interaction of various shallow marine processes is evident in the cores in Roc 2 and the Phoenix wells. Sedimentological observations from core will be integrated with palynological data to examine subtle changes in depositional environments.

Palynological assemblage fluctuations will be discussed to highlight both local environmental differences and larger scale climatic signals. Detailed correlations between the Roc and Phoenix wells will be demonstrated through the utilisation of palynological event stratigraphy.

Date: 6th February, 2019
Time: 8:00am to 4:00pm
Venue: Core Library DMP, 37 Harris Street, Carlisle

Costs (excluding GST):
Per person: AU$800
Per group of up to 5: AU$3200
Price includes a handout booklet and catering.

For more information or to register for the course, please contact [email protected] or [email protected]. To download a flyer of this workshop, click here.

Latest Updates to MGPalaeo’s AUSTRALIS geological database

New wells added to MGPalaeo’s AUSTRALIS geological database this month include:
• Spartan 1A
• Roc 2 – the high-resolution palynological events for this well have also been incorporated into our multi-client Beagle & Bedout sub-basins study.

Datasets for these new wells include palynology, lithostratigraphy, sequence stratigraphic picks, wireline logs, checkshot surveys, deviation data, and core description.

Plus we’ve added edited logs, micropalaeontological data, checkshot surveys and deviation data for more than 20 wells across the Vulcan sub-basin to further enhance the available datasets of this region.

If you’re a GPinfo subscriber, you will notice these updates have been added to the GPinfo platform, providing an up-to-date summary of all available data from our AUSTRALIS geological database.

Please contact us at [email protected] for more information regarding the datasets available across the North West Shelf.

MGPalaeo's Beagle & Bedout sub-basins data sets