Deep Earth Imaging at APPEA

May 17th, 2018

CSIRO’s Chief Executive Larry Marshall and Woodside Petroleum Chief Executive Peter Coleman delivered a plenary addresses on Tuesday May 15 to the 2018 APPEA (Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association) Conference in Adelaide. This address included emphasis on how Deep Earth Imaging will underpin success in the Energy sector in the future.

Woodside’s Peter Coleman remarked that “tech geeks” and innovation more broadly will enable the next wave of LNG growth in Australia. Additionally he commented that the industry will need to explore other fields of industry and science to improve its approach. It is with this in mind, he remarked, that Woodside is forging relationships with CSIRO scientists, universities and NASA.

CSIRO’s Larry Marshall described the new Deep Earth Imaging initiative in the following terms in his speech:

In particular, I’d like to briefly discuss a few of the initiatives we’ve introduced under our Strategy 2020, a title that works on a few levels, and three things we’re doing differently:

  • We’re seeing deeper into your industry through deep innovation;
  • We’re seeing further into your future through science-led strategy; and
  • We’re shaping how others see your industry, building on our century of experience.

We can all see the major disruption facing your industry, so it’s time our long history of working together refocused and recalibrated to come out the other side, stronger and more prosperous.

So first, how are we seeing more deeply?

I mentioned CSIRO has been inventing Australia’s future for over a century now, and one of the reasons we’ve been such a strong presence for a century is our multidisciplinarity.

No matter the challenge, CSIRO can assemble teams of experts with broad expertise, experience and perspectives to tackle our nation’s biggest challenges head-on.

One of those challenges is how we support an industry of finite natural resources. In 2016, we committed $52 million per year by 2020 to a new initiative called ‘Future Science Platforms’, or FSPs. These are areas where we believe our science has the potential to support the reinvention and creation of new industries and new jobs for Australia.

One of these FSPs is ‘Deep Earth Imaging’, designed to explore new ways of mapping the Earth’s subsurface for deeper mineral, energy and water resources. We all know that in the future, Australia’s minerals, energy and water resources will come from far greater depths in the earth and from deep offshore plays.

That’s why we’re developing technologies and approaches to more precisely image and discover mineral, energy and water resources that lie deep under the earth or sea to unlock their potential. The imaging technology we’re developing will allow you to make better informed economic decisions about where to explore, as well as supporting decision-makers in government policy, planning and environmental areas to better understand our world.

That’s a simplified explanation of the work, but behind the scenes, charting new territory requires a diverse range of experts and expertise, including rock physics, predictive technology, machine learning, geological uncertainty analysis and geoscience modelling.

To do this, we’re not just drawing on CSIRO’s broad talents, but also our deep partnerships, across universities and industry, as well as creating opportunities for early career researchers to join our team and grow their expertise in the field while strengthening one of Australia’s largest sectors.

So through our Deep Earth Imaging work, we’re seeing more deeply into the resources that have underpinned our economic prosperity for so long, to ensure their potential continues to be realised.