Victorian Gas Program
The Victorian Gas Program was a three-year (2017-2020) suite of scientific research to better understand the potential for new onshore conventional gas discoveries and the risk, benefits and impacts of allowing exploration and production.
Video transcript: Overview of the Victorian Gas Program
The Victorian Gas Program has delivered a growing evidence base of scientific research. Technical reports share the results of the various studies. Each report was subject to robust governance and peer review to ensure scientific integrity, quality and independent oversight. The reports are being published with accompanying datasets to support further academic research and for use by stakeholders.
Reports are grouped into:
- Geological and environmental studies for the Otway Basin
- Geological and environmental studies for the Gippsland Basin
- Geotechnical studies for underground gas storage.
Other specialist reports
The full Risks, Benefits and Impacts study that assessed potential onshore conventional gas scenarios, which was reported in Progress Report 4, can be found in the Risks, Benefits and Impacts Assessment report (PDF - 12.1 MB) .
The CSIRO’s social research reports into community wellbeing and local attitudes to onshore conventional gas development in both the Otway Basin and Gippsland Basin can be found at supporting programs.
Progress reports provide a summary of the Victorian Gas Program findings and outcomes.
Undertaken between 2017 and 2020, the Victorian Gas Program sought to provide the Victorian Government with better scientific data to inform future decision-making about onshore conventional gas (which was under a moratorium at the time), offshore gas and underground gas storage.
Please note the Victorian Gas Program did not investigate unconvential gas (i.e. fracking and coal seam gas production) as it was banned in 2017.
The Victorian Gas Program consisted of three key components:
Onshore conventional gas
There are currently no proven and probable (ready for imminent development) onshore conventional gas reserves in Victoria.
A suite of geoscientific, environmental and technical studies provided an evidence-based estimate of prospective onshore conventional gas resources (i.e. gas that did not need to be fracked to be produced) and looked closely at the risks, benefits and impacts associated with exploration and production.
The onshore conventional gas studies were overseen by Victoria’s Lead Scientist and an independent Stakeholder Advisory Panel made up of farmers, industry, local government and the community.
Victoria relies on offshore gas reserves to heat homes and to provide feedstock for a number of industrial processes. To encourage commercial gas exploration in state-controlled waters off Victoria’s south-west coast, new offshore acreage was released in 2018 and awarded in 2020. The release was supported by data collected from a large airborne gravity survey of the region.
Underground gas storage
There is some underground gas storage around Port Campbell in the onshore Otway Basin, which is a vital component of the state gas transmission network. The Victorian Gas Program’s scientific studies assessed the potential to expand that underground storage further. Increased capacity may help to secure more reliable gas supplies and mitigate future short-term price peaks, particularly during any interruptions in the gas supply system.
Other parts of the program
The scientific work of the Victorian Gas Program was supported by regular engagement with farmers, industry, local government and regional communities and social research was undertaken to understand regional perceptions towards natural gas development. Resource and land use planning workshops were also held for south-west and Gippsland residents to better understand the environmental, social and economic values of the land in relation to potential gas exploration or production.
All studies have been made publicly available.
All technical studies were conducted or managed by the Geological Survey of Victoria and focused on the Otway Basin in south west Victoria and the Gippsland Basin in south east Victoria.
Areas prospective for onshore conventional gas
As a result of the Victorian Gas Program’s geoscientific studies, new maps highlighting prospective areas for onshore conventional gas have been developed for both the Otway Basin and Gippsland Basin. Please see below. These new maps were published in Progress Report 4, which was released in March 2020. GSV will continue to analyse relevant geoscientific data and may release more refined maps in the future.
Page last updated: 11 Aug 2023