Kingfish basin

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Image of Kingfish Basin.png

The Kingfish basin is currently Australia’s largest producing oil field. It lies 48 miles off the shore of south eastern Victoria in 250 feet of water. It is a very large oil reservoir and has produced for many years now.[1] The Kingfish basin is also surrounded by many other notable oil and gas fields, and each of these have been good energy producers for Australia for some time now.[1] The Kingfish basin can be seen in the image on the right.


Petroleum exploration began in the Kingfish basin in 1969. Since then it has produced over 1 Billion barrels of oil in total.[2] In speaking of the amount of barrels produced it is known as one of Australia's most prolific oil basins to date.[2]

The first of the Kingfish platforms has produced a total of 472.75 million barrels of oil since it came into production in 1969[2]. The Kingfish B platform was also brought online in 1969, and it has generated oil production upwards of 526.05 million barrels with the west Kingfish platform[2]. This has generated the remainder of oil from the field. These massive oil production numbers have allowed the Kingfish to be extremely notable in Australia for its large quantity of producing oil[3].

The operator has always been Exxon Mobil with BHP Billiton being a partner in the well[2].

It also understood that where you have oil you have gas, however, this field is famous for its oil production not its gas production even though I’m sure there gas production would be very notable.

Geologic Risks and Uncertainties

Geologic Risks of the Kingfish Basin.png

The Kingfish basin has been under a recent investigation for reactivation risks for faults in the field. To the right of this article, you will see an attached picture showing these risks[4]. The cooler or lighter colors indicate low reactivation risk. While the warmer darker colors indicate high reactivation risk[4].

This reactivation risk is extremely dangerous in the way it could cause connection of different reservoirs or in the worst case, oil and gas seeps in the sea floor[4]. Which can cause great environmental concern and overall lose a lot of money in damages and producible oil for a company.

Petroleum Elements 

Kingfish basin within Gippsland basin.png

Source Rock: The source rock for the Kingfish basin includes coals and coaly shales of the late Cretaceous period. These minerals have accumulated in these concentrated anticlinal traps[5]. Which is very interesting due to the fact that the Gippsland basin which is the larger basin which includes the smaller basins such as the kingfish is primarily sandstone as a reservoir rock not coaly shales[6]. However the kingfish basin is a different field and is not made up of the same reservoir rock.

Migration: When we view the basin from the perspective of migration, we notice two broad flanking provinces, the first one being the Northerly Migration Province and the other is the Southerly Migration Province[7]. Both provinces have steep ramp like geometries and low dips[7]. When speaking of these provinces it is important to note that the migration across these provinces is not concentrated. This would imply that there could be many hydrocarbon pathways are present across an area of this size[7].

Seals: Then Kingfish basin is ultimately a basin within a much larger oil and gas play in Australia, it is a part of the Gippsland basin. One unique characteristic for these basins is that marine sediments have formed a regional seal for the entire offshore and most of the onshore areas that the Gippsland basin covers (this would include the kingfish)[6]. In this basin we see many elements that are conducive to good hydrocarbon production such as marine shales, marls, limestones, siltstones and sandstones[6].

Traps: Compression over an extremely long time has led to anticlines and fault traps throughout this basin[6]. We notice many large hydrocarbon accumulations arise over or below the Top Latrobe unconformity[6]. The kingfish field was noted to have had these traps in its field at approximately 28 Ma[6]. There have also been other traps found within other fields in the basin.

Reservoir: The reservoir is 6km wide and 17 km long and is known to contain a maximum gross column of 83 m in the kingfish basin[5].

Production Facilities

In the area of the Gippsland basin and more specifically the Kingfish basin, many wells are offshore wells[8]. So we won't see anything like pumpjacks or traditional tank batteries on a drill sight of these wells. Once again, this basin is one of the most prolific oil basins in Australia. We will see millions, possibly billions, of dollars spent on advanced technology for these offshore drilling rigs[8]. These are also deep wells, so this adds to the complexity of these drilling rigs in the basin.

The Kingfish basin can be taken very seriously, companies such as Exxon Mobil are operating wells in that field in an attempt to recover massive amounts of hydrocarbons[8]. There engineering such as logging and recovery methods is extremely advanced in an attempt to extract the most value possible.

Future Potential

Some still believe that there are potential leads left to be drilled in the Kingfish basin. This would surely extend the life of Australia’s most prolific oil basin. A company known as 3D Oil finished seismic interpretation of the basin and have found what they think could be four leads considered prospective for gas-condensate within the field[9].

This news is very encouraging for oil and gas production in Australia. There reserves seem to be allowing room for future development and greater hydrocarbon production[9].


  1. Bein, J., Griffith, B., & Svalbe, A. (1973, January 01). The kingfish field-offshore gippsland basin. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from's,in%20250%20ft%20of%20water.

2. Howarth, I. (1992, August 06). Kingfish oil field pumps its billionth barrel. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from

3. Today, O. (2019, July 29). 3D oil Awarded OFFSHORE permit close to 'LARGEST oil field ever discovered in Australia'. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from

4. Frydman, M., Holzberg, B., Pastor, J., Salies, J., & Pedroso, C. (2017, May 17). Reducing fault reactivation risk on deepwater drilling. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from

5. Cinar, Y. (n.d.). Numerical Simulation of CO2 Injectivity in Kingfish Field, Gippsland Basin, SE Australia. Retrieved May 02, 2021, from

6. Basin-scale fluid flow in the Gippsland BASIN: Implications for geological carbon storage. (n.d.). Retrieved May 11, 2021, from

7. C. W. Adkisson, U. (n.d.). Petroleum system of the GIPPSLAND BASIN, Australia - maturation and migration. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from

8. Lepic, B. (2021, February 16). 3D oil IDENTIFIES potential leads in Gippsland basin. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from

9. ExxonMobil drilling for gas in the Gippsland basin. (n.d.). Retrieved May 11, 2021, from