Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Oil at Mount Terry

During mid to late 1962, a drill site was located about 100 metres to the west of Jamberoo Road at the foot of Mount Terry. The operator was Farmout Drillers.  The stakeholders included Farmout Drillers, Consolidated Oil and Woodside.

The site was designated as "Stockyard Mountain No.1”, as it was attempting to intercept a formation which rises to create that landmark.  The rig was about 180 ft high with a dam on the southern side to hold water used for drilling.

At the time, Bob Grey had a part time news-camera job with WIN TV and stories from the site were a regular feature on the local news.  Bob found the site supervisor, a geologist, to be a relaxed and friendly chap who was happy to explain the working of the operation at any time.

The operation struck gas although obviously not in sufficient quantities.  One piece of their equipment was known as the electric log. Its purpose was to monitor the amount of gas coming to the surface in the returning drill mud. In normal operation, there was a more or less constant stream of small bubbles which registered as a slight wave on the recorder.

One morning Bob noticed that the previous night's recording showed the wave suddenly increasing until it appeared to go off the paper. When he mentioned this he was asked not to tell anyone about it.  About a week later the operation was  cancelled and the rig left.

He suspected the sudden cessation was necessary because the gas was not potentially commercial but still interesting enough for the operator not to want to share the information with others.

If the drilling had continued, they would have been obliged to send a core sample to the federal government who were partially funding oil exploration at that time. The information would then have been public knowledge.

Information gratefully provided by Bob Grey.

Drilling for oil at Mount Terry 1960s
Donated by Bob Grey

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