An immense deposit of shale oil estimated to be worth over AUD$20 trillion has been found beneath the earth in South Australia.
Brisbane-based Linc Energy released two reports on Wednesday stating that drilling and seismic exploration indicates the Arckaringa Basin surrounding Coober Pedy could contain anywhere between 3.5 and 233 billion barrels of oil.
If actual deposits skew closer to the upper end of estimates, Linc managing director Peter Bond says they would comprise an amount "several times bigger than all the oil in Australia."
The discovery has the potential to redefine Australia's role in international commodities markets, transforming it from an oil importer to oil exporter and enabling the country to achieve full self-sufficiency in fossil fuels.
Linc has already enlisted the aid of Barclays Bank in obtaining investors for the next stage of the project, which will see the drilling of up to six horizontal wells in order to confirm the extent of the oil reserves, and is expected to cost between $150 – 300 million.
Mr. Bond said that as a result of the discovery South Australia could be set for a "shale oil" boom akin to that experienced by the US, following technological advances which rendered extraction economical.