The first exploration wells were drilled onshore Cape Vogel in the late 1920s with reported oil and gas shows. Exploration continued offshore with acquisition of 2500km of seismic by Amoco between 1972 and 1973. Two wells were subsequently drilled approximately 150 km east of PPL 560 (Goodenough-1 and Nubiam-1). In 1974, Texaco acquired a further 600km of seismic over the Buna and Tufi Depocentres. A number of significant anticlinal structures were identified as a result of this work in the Buna Depocentre located within PPL 560.
Aberford Resources gathered 500km of infill seismic and recognised the presence of flat spots and seismic anomalies, interpreted as indicative of the presence of a gas cap on the Buna structure. The low oil prices of the 1980's thwarted attempts to drill the structure.
In 2009 Eagelwood Energy recorded high quality 2D seismic in an attempt to confirm the previously interpreted seismic anomalies over the the Buna and Kumasi structures and to provide a seismic tie to the Goodenough-1 well to improve stratigraphic control in the basin.
Evaluation of existing seismic data with the onshore geological information reveals variety of structural and stratigraphic trapping possibilities.
There are many large structures within the basin, ranging from drape and compaction over pre-Miocene basement highs and onlap/pinchout traps around the basin margin, to large anticlinal folds of Middle Miocene age (the Kumasi and Buna Structures) and normal and thrust faulted anticlines of Late Miocene to Early Pliocene age.
Present day geothermal gradients in the Cape Vogel Basin suggest that a substantial volume of sediment is buried deep enough for potential source rocks to be mature for hydrocarbon generation. Additionally, the Nubiam shale has shown to have relatively rich TOC content and has good to marginal hydrocarbon generating potential.