History of Oil and Gas in South Australia

Since natural gas was first discovered in South Australia, the state has benefitted enormously from its natural resources. Historically, locally produced gas was not only used to generate electricity and heat South Australian’s homes, but also to power the region’s timber milling, pulp and paper milling, and commercial food production.

Development of South Australia’s oil and gas industry also has the effect of building a network of third-party suppliers, opening possibilities for local entrepreneurship and employment in fields that support the local production sites.

We’ve outlined some of the key milestones for oil and natural gas development in South Australia.

South Australia's oil and gas history


First oil exploration in SA at Alfred Flat near Salt Creek (north of the Otway Basin)


First oil exploration licence, OEL 1, granted (included a small part of the southern Cooper Basin).


First petroleum exploration well drilled in the Cooper Basin (Innamincka 1).


Giant natural gas field discovered (Moomba, Cooper Basin).


  • First offshore well drilled (Crayfish 1, Otway Basin).
  • First commercial gas discovery (CO2) with oil shows in Otway Basin (Caroline 1).


Construction of gas processing facility at Moomba began.


First commercial volume of oil discovered in the Eromanga Basin (Strzelecki 3).


First exports of crude oil and condensate from Stony Point (now renamed Pt Bonython).


Gas discovered in the onshore Otway Basin, SA (Katnook 1).



First horizontal well successfully drilled, completed and tested (Meranji 14H, Cooper Basin).


Beach Energy completed a 7 stage fracture stimulation of Holdfast 1,
which then flowed gas at up to 2 MMscf/d.


Senex Energy’s Gemba 1 discovered a new Cooper Basin gas field.

Santos’ Cooper Basin re-fracture stimulation and underbalanced drilling programs produce gas.

Senex-Santos-Beach Vanessa East Pipeline began delivery of gas in July 2018.

More about oil and gas in South Australia