Dataset: Cooper subregion Preliminary Assessment Extent (PAE) v03



This dataset was derived by the Bioregional Assessment Programme. The parent datasets are identified in the Lineage field in this metadata statement. The processes undertaken to produce this derived dataset are described in the History field in this metadata statement.

The first step in deriving the Cooper subregion Preliminary Assessment Extent (PAE) was geologically-based. This involved assessing the extent of coal seams occurring in the Patchawarra and Toolachee formations in the Cooper Basin. These two units are the most prospective for coal seam gas as a result of their extensively developed coal seams, the depth of these seams and the inferred thermal history of the formations. Depths to the Permian coal measures preclude resource development by mining. Although coal occurs in other shallower formations, such as the Winton Formation, no economic deposits have been defined in the Cooper subregion. Screening criteria used in defining the geological components of the PAE were:

* Patchawarra and Toolachee formation tops at depths less than 2000m (DMITRE, 2001); and

* cumulative coal thicknesses in these formations of greater than 0 m (Hall et al., in prep)

These criteria are used as they represent current maximum depths of extraction for coal seam gas (CSG), and the assumption that CSG will not occur in areas without coal. These also represent areas which do not also have resources of shale, basin centred, tight or conventional gas, which only occur at depths greater than 2000 m.

Coal in the Winton Formation was not included in this assessment, due to its thin, discontinuous nature and poor gas shows in drilling on the Innamincka dome in PEL (Petroleum Exploration Licence) 101 and 103 by AGL Energy. It is thought only to represent a viable resource where it occurs in conjunction with another oil or gas play (such as a basin centred or shale gas play in the underlying Cooper Basin).

The next stage in deriving the PAE was to incorporate ecological and surface water features. This was done by intersecting the Geological Components PAE with CAPAD reserves, lakes from 250,000 scale topographic mapping and the DIWA important wetlands dataset. The resultant PAE incorporates areas of potential future CSG-only development which intersect with ecosystems and surface water resources within the Cooper subregion, and includes limited areas of investigation downstream and outside the subregion boundary. The PAE encompasses approximately 52,194 square kilometres and includes the Coongie Lakes Ramsar wetland area, Lake Blanche, the Strzelecki Creek Wetland System, Cooper Creek Swamps-Nappa Merrie, Cooper Creek-Wilson River Junction and some Lake Eyre Mound Springs DIWA wetlands, the Innamincka Regional Reserve and Strzelecki Regional Reserve and two GAB discharge springs from the EPBC-listed GAB discharge springs threatened ecological community.

The PAE for the Cooper subregion of the Lake Eyre Basin Bioregional assessment was finalised by extending the boundary along part of Cooper Creek, to join the separated north-eastern section with the main south-western section.


The role of the PAE is to optimise research agency effort by focussing on those locations where a material causal link may occur between coal resource development and impacts on water dependent assets. The lists of assets collated by the Program are filtered for "proximity" such that only those assets that intersect with the PAE are considered further in the assessment process. Changes to the PAE such as through the identification of a different development pathway or an improved hydrological understanding may require the proximity of assets to be considered again. Should the assessment process identify a material connection between a water dependent asset outside the PAE and coal resource development impacts, the PAE would need to be amended.

Dataset History

This dataset was created by extracting all features from:

which intersect with the Geological Components of the Cooper Preliminary Assessment Extent (PAE v03) (GUID: 23851dee-ce38-4734-891b-7b9cac47240d) dataset.

All extracted features were merged with the Geological Components of the Cooper Preliminary Assessment Extent (PAE v03) dataset to create the final Cooper PAE v03 dataset.

Dataset Citation

Bioregional Assessment Programme (2015) Cooper subregion Preliminary Assessment Extent (PAE) v03. Bioregional Assessment Derived Dataset. Viewed 27 November 2017,

Dataset Ancestors

General Information