World first steps on the gas

BY June 2012, QGC had spent nearly $8 billion on developing its Queensland Curtis LNG project (known simply as QCLNG): the world’s first CSG to LNG operation.
According to the company, this figure was justified as the QCLNG venture in the Surat Basin of southern Queensland would generate about $1 billion per year in royalties and taxes.
QGC claimed in 2011 that in the 10 years to 2021, the QCLNG development would boost the Queensland economy by up to $32 billion.
QGC’s environmental impact statement stated that the “QCLNG project involved expanding QGC’s existing CSG operations in the Surat Basin of southern Queensland and transporting the gas via an underground pipeline to a gas liquefaction and export facility on Curtis Island, near Gladstone, where the gas will be converted to LNG for export to markets in the Asia Pacific region and around the world”.
About 17.3 trillion cubic feet of CSG reserves and resources have been discovered, and QGC intends to export up to 9.5 million tonnes of LNG per annum.
Construction on QCLNG began in 2010, and will comprise CSG field development, a network of underground pipelines including a 540.7km gas transmission pipe between the Surat Basin and Curtis Island; a 270 hectare LNG facility on Curtis Island; with two processing trains, to be followed by a third; an export jetty and supporting infrastructure for shipping operations; and two storage tanks, each able to hold about 140,000 cubic metres of LNG.
QGC’s parent company BG Group has gas sales agreements in place for almost 10mtpa with the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, Tokyo Gas, GNL Chile, Chubu Electric and the Energy Market Authority of Singapore.
Project scope and progress
The first major components for QGC’s Gladstone LNG plant arrived in Gladstone Harbour at the end of August, including six pipe rack steel modules: a reminder of the exciting times ahead for the Queensland gas industry.
“LNG projects are significant undertakings and we are now well on the way to completing the world’s first LNG plant that is designed to be fed by gas from coal seams,” QCLNG project director Mitch Ingram said.
“Arrival of the modules is a major milestone less than two years after [the construction contractor] Bechtel started preparing for construction of our LNG plant on Curtis Island.”
During the next year, a total of 80 75m-long and 10-storey-high modules, each weighing up to 2500t, will make their way to Gladstone for the project.
Dredging of the channel also began in August, and QGC reported that “substantial progress” was made that month on construction of the two LNG storage tanks, with the walls and steel roof panels on Tank B and the base and walls for Tank A well advanced.
Additionally, more than half of the welds have been completed on the underground gas transmission pipeline scheduled to be finished in 2013, and about 24,000 welds have been made on the 46,000 lengths of 42-inch pipe required.
The pipeline will comprise three distinct sections: a 196km gas collection header; a 332km export pipeline; and a 12.7km crossing of the Narrows waterway between the mainland at Gladstone and Curtis Island.
At the end of September, 72.5km of the gas collection header and 36km of the export pipeline was lowered into the ground and backfilled, and 22 per cent of a 5.4km easement on Curtis Island was cleared and graded.
Workers’ accommodation on the island was commissioned halfway through 2012, and will be expanded to house 1700 people.
Throughout the entire life of the project, 6000 production wells will be drilled.
Construction in the gas field development areas of the Surat Basin has increased, and the infrastructure and gas processing facilities that will fuel the QCLNG development are progressing toward completion.
Infrastructure works will beundertaken at QGC’s Woleebee Creek development block southeast of Wandoan and its Bellevue development block east of Miles, scheduled for completion in 2013
Earthworks for an electrical substation at Woleebee Creek have been completed and construction is under way, in addition to the progression of earthworks for two water treatment plants.
The Woleebee Creek substation will provide power to facilities including the central processing plant that will process gas from the northern region before it is transported to Curtis Island.
A water treatment plant at the Kenya gas field near Chinchilla is also under construction. The water treatment works, including the completed Windibri gas field plant, will provide farmers, industry and the local community with high-quality water.
Government fits the bill
At the end of August, the Queensland Government passed a bill that aimed to cut red tape for the resources sector. According to QGC, it would “significantly reduce environmental impact for gas developments”.
The passing of the Mines Legislation (Streamlining) Amendment Bill meant that, to an extent, restrictions concerning infrastructure for CSG mining would be somewhat relaxed.
Before the bill was passed, QGC gave its support for the legislation and claimed it would “facilitate the efficient development of upstream infrastructure to mitigate impacts on the community and the environment, in addition to
providing proponents with much needed security of tenure for pipelines built under petroleum licences”.
The bill is intended to make the application and processing procedures for resource interests, such as exploration permits and mineral development licences, easier.
The legislation means that water and brine can be moved across tenement boundaries, resulting in less infrastructure being needed.
In the case of QCLNG, QGC will now avoid the crossing of 70 private properties. QGC operations director Walter Simpson said the company welcomed the bill.
“For the Queensland Curtis LNG project alone we anticipate that the new legislation will allow us to reduce the number of water and brine plants from up to 37 of each to only three water treatment plants and one brine processing facility,” he said.
Queensland Natural Resources and Mines minister Andrew Cripps was quoted in The Courier Mail as having said that the new legislation would make processes quicker and easier as the previous system was “antiquated, inefficient” and imposed “unnecessary administrative and regulatory burdens on industry and on government”.
Social and environmental initiatives QCLNG has already generated $2.8 billion worth of contracts for Australian businesses, with $1.8 billion worth awarded to Queensland companies.
In April this year, the Queensland Government approved QGC’s $150 million Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP) for QCLNG: the state’s first such strategy to be approved.
Under the SIMP, QCLNG has more than 1500 conditions it must adhere to in accordance with Queensland and Australian environmental protection legislation.
According to a statement, the plan “is part of QGC’s strategy to manage social impacts and maximise project benefits in communities during the four years of construction”.
Queensland’s Deputy Premier and State Development, Infrastructure and Planning minister Jeff Seeney said that QCG was required to manage the effects of the facility and ensure local communities reaped the benefits.
He described the SIMP as a “comprehensive road map of commitments that covers the entire life cycle of the facility”, and said it “encompasses areas including housing, employment, training, health and community services”.
QGC’s strategy includes the donation of $3 million towards upgrading Gladstone Hospital; a $2 million rural health initiative for the Western Downs; $14.1 million for affordable housing;$56 million for worker housing across the
The Kenya water treatment plant under construction in May Gladstone and Surat regions; an $8million community development fund; and $5.7 million for the Western Downs Housing Trust, in addition to support for local employment and training.
Meanwhile, the QGC Sustainable Communities Fund established in February last year will make $6 million available for short-term projects during the construction of QCLNG. Local organisations in Western Downs, North Burnett, Banana Shire and Gladstone are able to apply for grants of between $10,001 and $50,000 to a panel of QGC and community representatives.
QGC spent two years and $25 million devising an environmental impact  assessment of the project, resulting in a 12,000-page report.
“We know that our operations have impacts upon the environment and our focus is to minimise and mitigate those impacts,” the company stated on its website.
QGC works in 8.5 square kilometre blocks, allowing the company to “engage with all relevant landholders at one time” while helping to “minimise impacts and agree compensation”.
Looking ahead
At present, QGC’s existing operations account for about 20 per cent of Queensland’s domestic gas demand. The company has big plans for its QCLNG project: It will have 28 blocks developed by 2014, and 2000 wells drilled and connected to a pipeline network (featuring the longest onshore large-diameter pipeline in the country) – ready to be processed by in-field facilities.
The two processing trains at Curtis Island are designed to produce 8.5mtpa of LNG for 20 years.
However, subject to demand, their combined capacity could be expanded to 12mtpa.
In the meantime, QGC will start exploring for additional natural gas reserves in its Bowen Basin tenements.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>