The Shallow Well Drilling Program is the latest stage of the South West Hub CCS project aiming to characterise the Lesueur Sandstone and investigate its potential to store industrially generated carbon dioxide (CO2).
During the summer of 2014/15 three stratigraphic wells were drilled in Harvey on behalf of the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) – Harvey 2, Harvey 3 and Harvey 4.
The wells reached between one and two kilometres below the surface, through the upper part of the Lesueur Sandstone, called the Yalgorup Member, and approximately 150m into the lower part of the Lesueur, called the Wonnerup Member.
More than two kilometres of core samples were retrieved along with electronic data gathered from the three wells. These are being analysed and tested by independent scientific laboratories as well as being used by South West Hub research partners to gain further knowledge about the area’s stratigraphy.
On site drilling was completed in June 2015 and in February 2016 the Minister for Mines and Petroleum released the drilling reports and wireline logs from the Shallow Well Drilling Program.
A total of 24 gigabytes of information about the drilling program is available on the department website, in the WA Petroleum Information Management System (WAPIMS).
The well locations were chosen to maximise the data acquisition while minimising the environmental impact or disruption to everyday rural activities.
One of the naturally occurring geological features of the Harvey–Waroona area is the lack of potable water at depths of more than approximately 100 metres. The important freshwater source, the Yarragadee Aquifer, does not occur in this area and the Lesueur Sandstone target formation is closer to the surface here than in surrounding areas.
In considering the location of the wells, areas of high conservation value and residential areas were not included as potential drilling sites.
Community information sessions
The South West Hub Project held community information sessions during November 2014, to present the outcomes of the 3D seismic survey conducted earlier in the year. The sessions also provided details about the Shallow Well Drilling Program, which was conducted from December 2014 to March 2015.
During the Community Information Sessions, there were opportunities for informal discussions, as well as more formal presentations covering the Shallow Well Drilling Program outcomes. The following link is the PowerPoint presentation used on the day.
Shallow Well Drilling Program Environmental Plan
Each well has been cased with cement and a metal lining to ensure groundwater is not exchanged between stratigraphic layers. This metal lining reduces in size as the well is drilled deeper.
Shallow Drilling Bore Designs (PDF 311 kb)
Drilling site information
Drilling rigs require approximately one hectare of land and operate around the clock for a period of about 60 days, including the construction of road access, fencing and wet areas. On completion, the well sites will be rehabilitated and (passive) seismic monitoring equipment will be installed to record ground movements.
Well site information sheets
Access more detailed information, including some technical details about each well drilling site, here:
Harvey 2 & Harvey 3 Information Sheet (PDF 1007 kb)
Harvey 4 Information Sheet (PDF 1013 kb)
Well completion reports
Access to the full Well Completion Reports for Harvey 3, Harvey 4 and Harvey 5:
International interest in the South West Hub
Western Australia’s CCS Flagship Project attracted international attention when a delegation of Chinese industry and government officials visited the Harvey drill site early in 2015.
The delegation of 25 Chinese members and 13 accompanying representatives from industry, research institutions and State and Federal governments watched on as a nine metre core sample of rock was extracted from a kilometre underground.
DMP Co-ordinator Carbon Strategy Dominique Van Gent said the Project particularly captured the interest of the Chinese members.
“The timing of the delegation’s arrival was fortunate and the visitors from China were able to see the extraction of the core which consisted of sandstone and shale,” he said.
"CCS drilling site in Harvey is a great example of the ongoing cooperation between the two countries."
University of Western Australia (UWA) passive seismic monitoring
UWA geophysicists are monitoring the background seismicity, or tiny ground vibrations, of the Harvey area.
Data for the study is being collected using monitoring equipment at the Harvey 4 Well. Harvey 4 is one of three stratigraphic wells drilled on behalf of DMP for the South West Hub in 2015.
The monitoring equipment includes seismometer buried in a shallow one metre pit and geophones placed as various depths down a 50 metre well. The equipment is powered by solar photovoltaic (PV) cells and uses radio communications.
The study is being undertaken by Research Assistant Nader Issa and Winthrop Professor David Lumley.
Microseismicity in South Western Australia Brochure - PDF (3 mb)
UWA Passive Seismic Monitor Locations in the South West - PDF (11 mb)
UWA Passive Seismic Monitoring Research Proposal (PDF 1219 kb)
Since the completion of the Shallow Well Drilling in mid 2015, core samples and wire line logs are being analysed and tested by South West Hub research partners and also independent laboratories.
The results will increase knowledge about the stratigraphy and are expected to be released soon – return to Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) for more information.