Shale Gas

CSIRO is conducting a shale gas program to address research issues and the delivery of services to the Australian industry.

Activities and capabilities for shale gas


CSIRO’s organic geochemistry and petrology teams conducts research into shale gas, source rock quality, thermal maturity evaluation, petroleum geochemistry, and environmental geochemistry. We develop techniques to help reduce exploration risk, aid in appraisal of oil and gas fields, facilitate production and assess the impact of hydrocarbons on the environment.


CSIRO has a world class rock mechanics laboratory for determining static and dynamic rock properties, including tests under high pressure, high temperature and with ultrasonic and microseismic (acoustic emission) capability. Anisotropy is also a significant area of study. The experimental
facility is supported by significant geomechanical and rock physics modelling capability.


We conduct research to help understand the architecture and deformation history of hydrocarbon-bearing sedimentary sequences to predict both the occurrence and distribution of potential reservoirs.


Our petrophysics activity includes laboratory and wireline log determination of the petrophysical response of rocks, including electrical and dielectric properties, nuclear magnetic resonance and rock physics. We also conduct computed tomography (CT) and MicroCT scanning, digital rock properties and other specialist visualisation techniques.


CSIRO is integrating laboratory experiments and novel numerical modelling techniques to meet the challenges and improve the management of production from coal seam gas and shale gas reservoirs. We are also investigating adsorption and desorption of gas and modelling of such processes.


We are developing a comprehensive understanding of hydraulic fracture mechanics of naturally fractured reservoirs through theoretical development, numerical modelling, and laboratory and field experimentation. For example, one numerical model considers the effect of fracture–fracture interaction, fracture branching and offsetting on pressure, growth rate and ultimate extent.

shale gas 2015


The Shale Research Centre is an association of CSIRO laboratories and researchers combining experimental and theoretical research expertise aimed at understanding clay and shale behaviour applied to wellbore stability, pore pressure prediction, seal integrity, shale gas, CO2 storage and seismic imaging. A strong focus area is the links between geomechanics, rock physics and petrophysics in shales as overburden or reservoir rocks.

  • Other areas of focus include:

    providing insight into reservoir fluid and dynamic processes using industry seismic and electromagnetic data, with expertise in quantitative interpretation
    3D and 4D seismic
    stratigraphic forward modelling of organic-rich facies
    rock physics experiments and theory
    modelling of coupled processes.

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Shale Gas

Developing the Shale Gas Potential

Shale Gas Production