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Qld report backs CSG on water concerns

THE Queensland government has issued independent research that shows CSG operations will produce 26% less water over the life of industry than previously estimated just as a review of Queensland’s Gasfields Commission has been launched.

Anthony Barich
Qld report backs CSG on water concerns

While anti-CSG activists have managed to stall development in New South Wales and Victoria, both states facing an energy shortage, industry considers the Queensland Gasfield Commission has been a factor in successfully ensuring Queensland’s three CSG to LNG mega-projects got off the ground.

Though they had been planned for years, there was some pushback as the suddenness and sheer magnitude of not only the investment and reports that some 40,000 wells would need to be drilled to feed the LNG plants, industry believes the Commission helped manage and improve relationships between rural landholders, regional communities and the booming gas sector.

Pledging to work with Bob Scott, the lawyer and former bureaucrat with an agriculture background heading up the review, Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association Queensland director Chris Lamont said the Commission has been invaluable in “providing effective information and in promoting coexistence outcomes”

This was a key function of the commission, established three years ago, and would continue to be important for both landholders and the gas industry, which in Queensland has largely now moved into operations and maintenance phase, Lamont said.

“Today a $70 billion investment in gas projects continues to support thousands of jobs and strengthen Queensland’s economy and is assisting the globe in the transition to a lower carbon future.

The recent research took the form of a report by Queensland’s Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment that collected and analysed three years of water monitoring data from water bores covering an area the size of Germany.

The report, which was released for consultation, revealed that the area of planned CSG development has contracted “significantly” since 2012 as tenure holders gain a better understanding of the CSG resource.

The report said conventional gas production, which involves pumping gas from porous rock such as sandstones, is in a declining phase and there are no plans for expansion, with water extraction falling to about 1000 megalitres a year.

It’s a different story for CSG, however, where much more water is produced during production. The report said CSG water extraction had increased to about 65,000ML pa.

Meanwhile, water extraction for non-petroleum and gas use including agriculture, industry, town supply, stock and domestic supply totals about 203,000ML pa.

The report found that of the 22,500 water bores in the study area – the majority privately operated – 469 may be affected by natural gas production, an 11% reduction on OGIA’s 2012 report.

These bores – which produce saline water from the Walloon coal measures – represent 2.1% of the 22,500 bores in the study area.

Data has been collected from 491 monitoring points.

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