Australia has about 6000 coal seam gas wells in active production and thousands of decommissioned wells. Many more will potentially be drilled in the future. Queensland takes the lion share of the wells in active production. The industry should, therefore, consider what will be left behind after production.
Coal Seam Gas (SSG) is natural gas, primarily methane. It is not a new discovery in Australia. CSG was discovered in the 1990s. Thank technological advancement, it has developed to be an essential fuel. The gas is found in plenty in coastal eastern Australia. Currently, Surat and Bowen basins are the largest reserves.
The extraction process involves pumping water within the seams to the ground allowing the gas to flow to the surface. Hybrid drill rigs are safer and faster than the conventional one. They also have less impact on the environment. The gas is channeled to processing facilities for distribution while water is piped to water treatment facilities. CSG producers aim to satisfy and expand demand and equally important, to replace the diminishing supply of conventional gas.
Coal seam gas production involves drilling wells into the underground coal seams. This brings mineral and salts rich CSG water coming out of the seam to the surface. The local community is usually left in the dark on what eventually happens when CSG eventually starts operation in their area. Education institutions, government, and environmental institutions conduct conferences majorly to bring all stakeholders on board and chart the way forward together.
CSG production has sparked heated debates in regards to agriculture, environment and community concerns. The community in the production area feels that the development of coal seam gas may affect their health. Other CSG risks are water resource competition, land use competition and environmental effects.
Several conferences are organized throughout the year to address the issue surrounding seam coal gas. While most are to address an issue such as health and environment concerns, others are purely business related. Below are some of the major conferences on SCG.
University of Queensland workshops in June 2019
In June 2019, the University of Queensland will hold a workshop in Miles, Chinchilla, Toowoomba, Dalby, and Roma to update the local communities on economic and social changes occurring in the community lately. The University’s Center for Coal Seam Gas conducted research on critical impacts on towns. The influences and changes include the development of coal and seam gas industry. This industry is a major player in the economy of Queensland.
The latest annual report on Gas field communities of Queensland will feature prominently. Insight in research and stakeholders trust in the CSG industry will also feature. The workshop will culminate with research in natural gas and energy updates.
Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration (APPEA) is a national body that represents Australia’s interest in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas. In May 2019, APPEA held a conference with the theme “Navigating the Future”. The conference program highlight challenges in petroleum exploration and development.
Coal seam gas licences accounts for 12 % of the North West shelf land mass. Such a vast area could have a significant effect on public health. A Workshop held last year in New South Wales and Queensland brought together industry, local community and state agencies to address CSG issues. The participants agreed that the CSG wells should never leak or impinge on land use. The wells should also be barely noticeable.
In August 2018, NWPA held a coal seam gas and public health conference. This conference brought together doctors, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, and community members. The conference sought to address host communities issues and also inform professionals on CSG impacts in Queensland. The evening forum explored whether the precautionary principle was being applied to health impact assessment. The conference discussed the issue regarding CSG gas rush and host communities concerns. The conference also informed the professionals in this industry about coal seam gas concerns in the Queensland and Southwest Sidney.
The afternoon sessions saw presentations from health professionals in matters gas. Dr Helen Redmond presentation addressed the health impacts of living in or need a gas field. Dr Geralyn followed with a wonderful presentation which sought to answer whether there is a connection between hospitalizations in Darling Downs Queensland and unconventional gas industry.