The joint program will determine the appropriate usage of water produced as part of QGC’s gas production – now close to commercial startup.
QGC managing director Richard Cottee said the water would be used on the Darling Downs and Maranoa areas.
Speaking in Toowoomba yesterday, Cottee announced several joint initiatives, expected to begin with the start of QGC gas production next year.
“QGC has reached in-principle agreement to supply 1000 megalitres a year of town water to the Chinchilla Shire for 20-30 years,” Cottee said.
“If our funding application under the National Water Initiative is successful and the normal State Government water transportation support is available, the supply of ‘drought-proofing’ water to Chinchilla should commence in the fourth quarter next year.”
QGC will also look at supplying water to Darling Downs for irrigation.
QGC expects to begin supplying gas next April from reserves near Chinchilla under the first of three contracts totalling 15.4 petajoules per annum – but with options to increase this to 22.4PJpa.
Agricultural trials are being undertaken to assess opportunities to apply the by-product water to irrigated crops. Approximately 20 hectares will be planted with various crops on QGC’s Windibri property. The trials will test the effects of the water with and without treatment by reverse osmosis.
A reverse osmosis (RO) pilot plant will be delivered to QGC’s Berwyndale South development next week. The plant, which will run for 10 weeks, will test the latest water filtration processes, using water from the wells being prepared for gas production.
QGC has carried out successful preliminary RO trials of water from Berwyndale South. The new trials would ensure that the water quality was appropriate for Chinchilla’s town water supply.
The company said discussions would be held with coal mining companies to consider the suitability of the residual water from the reverse osmosis process in coal washing plants.
If the trials are successful, QGC will build a full scale RO plant that could be commissioned by April and supplying water by November next year.