Liberty Petroleum Exploration. Oil and gas are mixtures of compounds of carbon and hydrogen, known as hydrocarbons. They are formed as part of a natural cycle that begins with deposits of plant and animal remains and fine sediment. Trapped over millions of years, often deep beneath the ocean, this organic matter is transformed by the combined effect of temperature and pressure into oil and natural gas.
The formation of oil and gas deposits, or reservoirs, occurs when these hydrocarbons migrate upward through the rock layers towards the surface. They often escape to the surface where they may form natural oil seeps or, in the case of gas, simply dissipate. Any hydrocarbons remaining on the surface are soon oxidised by bacteria. Sometimes oil and gas are trapped in deep underground structures that prevent it reaching the surface. It may be trapped underneath curved layers of rock called anticlines, or by faults in the rock. Faults occur when layers of rock split and move, such as in an earthquake or during normal seismic events.
The term reservoir can be misleading, giving people the impression of large subterranean lakes full of hydrocarbons. In fact, oil and gas are trapped within porous sedimentary rocks such as sandstones or shales and may occupy as little as five per cent of the rock volume. Over the past 100 years, oil and gas have assumed vital importance as a source of fuel, to the point where human civilisation now depends on them for nearly half of its total energy needs.
Increasing demand for these fossil fuels has led to the development of new technology to assist in the search for oil and gas. Hydrocarbons are often found kilometres beneath the seabed. Geological mapping and seismic surveys are used to detect subsurface traps, but only by drilling can explorers determine whether they contain oil or gas.Successful exploration remains a fundamental business driver of our future growth objectives. Our growth strategy includes a significant continued exploration effort within Australian waters, combined with an increasing international focus.
Our aim internationally is to find potentially large oil discoveries in areas of the world that have lower exploration costs and higher commercial success rates than in Australia.Our objective is to build a significant position in a small number of key geographic focus areas. The main focus is on proven oil provinces but the portfolio includes opportunities that combine low-entry cost, position, suitable exit options and significant upside potential such as Mauritania.
Our international exploration and production strategy is initially based on three focus areas which each offer the ability to commercialise discoveries within three to five years. The strategy recognises the need to balance the early acquisition of producing properties, with the need to build up competence and recognition in key areas of the world. This allows us to maintain cash flow while establishing the credential that will allow us to participate in new exploration ventures in the future.