CTL dream one step closer to reality

THE CNOOC-backed Arckaringa coal-to-liquids joint venture has run the gauntlet of approvals and emerged on the other side ready to drill.

James McGrath

Altona Energy has recently received an extension of six months on its program for Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation approval, largely in recognition of how long the South Australian government has taken in the granting of other pertinent approvals.

Separately, it has reached agreement with native title claimant group Antakarinji Matu-Yankunytjatjara Aboriginal Corporation on its proposed drilling program.

The process involved the relocation or redesign of six out of 30 proposed drill holes.

The changes in drill hole location has been signed off by the technical experts both in Australia and China. The upshot of the approvals is that the JV is now ready to drill, the first step in its dream to bring an Arckaringa GTL plant to life.

The drilling will involve:

  • extracting bulk samples of coal to test and extend the coal quality profile
  • completing in-fill coal and coal geotechnical boreholes to facilitate an open-cut mine design and;
  • completing hydro-geological test wells to enable the refinement and the existing models to underpin a groundwater management plan

Executive chairman of Altona Energy Chris Lambert said the approvals process was like running a marathon.

“This is a significant moment for the Arckaringa project. All regulatory approvals are now in place to allow the commencement of the drilling program,” he said.

“Large scale long-term projects like Arckaringa certainly have their challenges for everyone involved, but it is clear that we have made some very sound progress in the last few months, and we look forward to updating the market with more news on the drilling programme as it becomes available.”

This article first appeared in ILN's sister publication EnergyNewsBulletin.net.