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Coal Seam Gas Mining

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Cutter, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. Cutter Nicholas Shehadie (39)

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    More on the Pilliga story.


  2. Karl Bill McLean (32)

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    Tip of the Iceberg i reckon.
  3. Cutter Nicholas Shehadie (39)

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    A bit more iceberg.


    Why this isn't being stopped until we know more is astounding.

  4. suckerforred Chilla Wilson (44)

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    As a person that grew up, lives and works in the agricultural sector, I am very concerned about this industry.

    Having said that, until we as a community make the decision between food and fuel projects like this will always get priority.

    Beats me why Oz isn't spending money on solar, wind, wave and other alternative energy sources. Had this discussion with a bloke last year who said that a) couldn't understand why farmers just couldn't go elsewhere and b) he didn't want wind turbines because they 'kill cattle'. Miss information on all sides. When I asked him where our food was going to come from he couldn't see the connection.

    For those in the cities - would you like to see a CSG well in your back yard? If the answer is anything other then yes, you are a hypocrite.
    AngrySeahorse and Cutter like this.
  5. spooony Ron Walden (29)

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    They are not worried about the gases they are worried about the chemicals use to split the rock to get the gas out.
  6. chasmac Dave Cowper (27)

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    And the mineral laden water that comes up with the gas. It requires massive purification before it is useable in anything like Feedlots or Irrigation. Basically unviable, and a massive can of worms for the EPA and the miners.
  7. Inside Shoulder Nathan Sharpe (72)

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    Bob katter is playing your song!

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  8. Karl Bill McLean (32)

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    In years to come this whole CSG issue is going to be shown as one of the worst displays of corporate greed and government mishandling in our history.

    The mining companies know they have a big issue - look at all the ads on TV. Now its "Natural" Coal Seem gas. Getting it out is barely noticeable to look at. And its the Future.
    Inside Shoulder likes this.
  9. Inside Shoulder Nathan Sharpe (72)

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    The gas may well be natural....thats about it

    don't know a lot about this issue but I have a sneaking suspicion that, in the long run, we're going to need food more than gas
  10. Gnostic Mark Ella (57)

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  11. Kook Frank Row (1)

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    Long-time reader, first time poster.

    As someone who has studied CSG for my undergraduate engineering thesis, I have been very interested in the industry's development in Australia. I really believe there isn't a lot of public education on the process of CSG extraction here. Yes there are many (thousands) of wells that are drilled, but this process isn't as invasive as you might think:

    As for CSG wells potentially contaminating aquifers, the reservoirs are usually thousands of feet lower than aquifers, and the aquifers are isolated from them by cement completions and steel casing. As long as these completions are of integrity and tested properly this is not an issue. From an industry that drills in 2000m+ of water offshore, land drilling is significantly easier to achieve successfully and monitor in comparison.

    Additionally, the boom of CSG (and shale oil & gas) in the US with the more economical use of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling improvements, came at the same time as the GFC. The state governments of these heartland areas were pretty much broke and unemployment obviously very high. As a result, there has been some admittedly pretty lax environmental regulations imposed on the industry there as creating jobs and tax $ has been the highest priority. I believe this is the main reason for the water storage/leakage and other environmental problems there, and is not the case here where there is much more regulation and accountability (and less desperation for tax $).

    Hydraulic fracturing is also safe as long as it is closely monitored, it is worth remembering that over a million wells in the US have used hydraulic fracturing without significant environmental impacts. Australian CSG reservoirs are also very permeable, so in many cases hydraulic fracturing isn't required here. Australian regulations are also a lot more stringent on the types of proppant chemicals used and in many cases are just water-based.

    I appreciate that there are some potential environmental impacts that can arise from the sheer scale of drilling required and wells to be monitored, but to say that the government is ignoring them or isn't imposing strict regulation is ridiculous. This resource and shale oil/gas has revolutionised the US energy industry and I expect it to do the same here once the infrastructure is established.
  12. I like to watch Simon Poidevin (60)

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    Mate, that's a very interesting post. The problem I have, is that anecdotal evidence from the US, where the industry is more mature than it is here.
    would indicate to me that this is going to be one of the biggest environmental disasters in my lifetime.
    The excuse that "trust us that it will be ok, because we are more environmentally responsible than the yanks" is cold comfort for me.
    IMO the oil/gas industry telling me they are environmentally sound is no different to the tobacco industry saying choofas are good for you.
    How do they safely dispose of the brine or salt water?
    Why do mining rights surpasss the rights of the landholder to "quite enjoyment? "BTW how is the gas extracted after the well has been drilled?

    Apologies if this comes across a spray on your post it is not intended that way.I know the Bylong Valley well, and think it is a fucking disgrace that mining arseholes can just roll in and fuck up the whole joint till the end of time.
    I get angry every time I see anything mining or Obeid related these days.
    AngrySeahorse likes this.
  13. Kook Frank Row (1)

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    Not sure how the land rights work, but I agree that farmers/land owners should probably have the choice and look at whether CSG wells on their land is a good thing (in terms of supplementing income during drought etc).

    Basically CSG is produced by first draining the water present in the coal to reduce the pressure in the seam. Once the pressure is reduced sufficiently, the methane gas (which was previously in an 'adsorbed' or liquid-like state on coal pores) desorbs as free gas and is produced. Both water and gas are separated and then piped off to their respective processing apparatus. The produced water is brackish and is processed using reverse osmosis plants, with the concentrated salty water stored in lined 'brine ponds' and the salt crystallises.

    No worries, I know CSG production probably isnt the ideal activity that could be happening in the area, but I'd say it could be a lot worse ie. Oil Sands mining (or other open cut mining). I would say the oil & gas industry are doing a lot more environmentally risky things (ie. drilling offshore in the arctic circle) than CSG.

    Also, we have the advantage in that the US was the 'guinea pig' and we should have learned from most of the issues they've already faced. While the industry has boomed recently over there, it has actually been around for 30 years so it is not really an 'unknown' now.
  14. I like to watch Simon Poidevin (60)

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    But the film clip shows a couple of days with a drilling rig, then everything is removed and the cows continue on as they ever have.
    Surely the finished result was a working CSG mine/plant in full production?
    Or are they being less than honest with how the process works, and should not be trusted to operate one within 100km of any viable farm?
  15. suckerforred Chilla Wilson (44)

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    Hey Kook appreciate the posts, but I have a few more questions:

    1. The film is of the drilling of the well. What about the next step of conecting said well to the various others in the area and then to the production facility? Then there is the access etc that must be maintained. As a person that has lived through a mine being established on our family place there is a lot more to be considered.

    2. Yes we are told that the aquifers that are used for water will be protected from contamination through casing & concrete. Only problem is that there has not been a comprehensive testing program carried out on the existing ground water supplies to establish baseline measures. Therefore the answer that is coming out in places such as Tara is that the contamination & changes are 'natural'. As a person who is in a current exploration & development area we have been told that if we want these baseline tests done then we have to do them ourselves. At what cost? However the companies & governments assure us that the 'make good' provisions in the contracts are sufficient. What they have to measure 'make good' is not yet known. Do you know?

    3. Same can be said for air quality. The baseline that the company in this area wants to use is Ipswich, some 135km east & a built up area rather than rural. Is this typical? Are we expected not to be able to maintain our air quality at the standard that it is now or do we just have to accept it if our air quality is diminished to that of a large city?

    4. Water is our most vital resource in this country. It doesn't matter if a landholder will have income from wells on their property, if their water, above & below ground, is effected in anyway they will not be able to maintain a business or any quality of life. Please visit NWQ and see how many of the property owners up there have huge issues now due to the fact that mining activity has effected their water supplies through decline in levels or contamination. Yes I know mining is not gas wells, but the principle is the same. You play with one aquifer it effects others that people reply on. And what is going to happen when said brine ponds leak or over flow? How do you 'make good' a whole catchment area. Again there are properties in NWQ that are struggling due to tailings dams leaking or overflowing. They were built to code as well.

    5. Each well, or network of wells, decreases the arable area of land available for agricultural production. Since our cities are expanding into these areas as well, agricultural production is being pushed into more and more marginal areas and we are expected to produce more with less resources. In the long term where do you expect to get our food and fibre from? Yes I know this is extreme, but it is a bit late to think about this once all our land is gone.

    6. Lastly. I am not accusing, but do you work for one of the CSG companies? If so I would appreciate that you declare an interest. If not, please continue to answere our questions as you are one of the few that seems willing.
    chasmac likes this.
  16. Kook Frank Row (1)

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    suckerforred, I'm a uni student from WA who plays a bit of rugby and just has a bit of interest in the industry given I've done a bit of study on it (more subsurface engineering). I'm not employed by anyone in the industry so I've just got my own opinions on the topic more from a technical viewpoint. As I don't live in the CSG areas I can't really answer questions on land footprint etc, I've only really entered the fray of this conversation because the debate here seems a bit one-sided there is a bit of fearmongering on how it is produced and the possible enviromental impacts of fracking, aquifer contamination etc in Australia. So I will try and address those questions.

    Yeah that's just the drilling phase, with the wells being capped. Once the pipelines are laid and water-gas separators installed, both phases are extracted from the wells and diverted to a central process facility. And yes, these wells/pipelines would need access for maintenance etc. I just wanted to show that video as it's not like we have huge land derricks being permanent fixtures on the landscape, but most visible infrastructure would be the pipelines and production facilities.

    I'm not really sure about the water monitoring process, but given it is an agricultural region wouldn't there have already been some study of the aquifers? If not that sounds pretty average seeing as water disposal/quality is probably one of the biggest issues facing these CSG operators here, given such large amounts of water are produced. Definitely if we are to trust firms to 'do the right thing' and be accountable they need to show they are doing so. While as I said earlier the regulation here is undoubtedly better than the US, accountability is the main thing and something that hits home, given WA has had an offshore well blowout and a gas processing facility explosion.

    That does sound peculiar with regards to air quality benchmarks, but during production there is some 'flaring' of the gas and obviously water processing facilities which will cause air quality to decline. It's just a byproduct of resource projects unfortunately.

    As for water, it's a big issue as I already mentioned. I'm pretty sure some operators are looking at injecting the water in (much deeper and isolated) rock formations as well as the brine pools and processing already done. I think this is a good strategy, provided the formation is contained by impermeable rocks above it so water can't migrate upwards over many years. Other than that, I agree that the industry needs to be really careful with this issue as they are able to process and use this water, especially given that studies in the US have shown that even reprocessed water can harm soils it is used on.

    Not sure about that argument, the wells/pipelines don't leave too much of a footprint and as I said earlier is a lot better than open cut mining (and coal mining). As for these environmental concerns, they are a necessary evil associated with these resource projects that can be mitigated I believe and are on the low scale of what the oil and gas industry is currently doing. I'm working at the moment on offshore well blowout modelling and some of the wells being drilled across the world in terms of flow rates and accessibility for relief well kills are just scary. So much can go wrong offshore, while land projects are much easier to monitor and maintain.

    Sorry I don't have more knowledge of the water use and issues, I'm not an enviro engineer. Basically I agree mainly that responsible water production and storage is the most important element of these projects, along with proper regulation and accountability. But for the most part, these projects are good for Australia. But it seems my view is at odds with most people here :)
  17. Scarfman Knitter of the Scarf

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    [ideological comment]The "make good" provision lies at the heart of Mr Capitalism's relationship with Ms Environment. At the moment, the production of goods only includes a tiny fraction of total environmental costs. The remainder are paid by the government, or by the future (also, usually the government, except in rare cases like James Hardie). When we decide to stop eating the future, we're going to realise how important that aspect was to our great wealth today.[/ic]
  18. suckerforred Chilla Wilson (44)

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    Hey thanks for replying. Most people who support the CSG industry just wrtie us all off as worry warts.

    I supose what I was trying to point out is that the industry is trying to gloss over a number of issues that we, as residents of the area, have. I am sitting on the fence at the moment. I understand the benefits that these projects will have to the wider community (i.e. the state and country) but I have this sick in the guts feeling that we are 'eating the future' (as Scarfman so eloquenty put it). Having been through situations where we have been assured that there would be little problems and then having to fight tooth and nail to get problems fixed or compensated for, I don't want to be standing here in 1, 5, 10 even 50 years time doing the same thing for another mess that has been created by greed. Just my 2 cents.
  19. boyo Mark Ella (57)

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    I fear that CSG will provide short-term gain and long-term misery.

    Doing anything that may jeopardise fibre and food production must be treated with caution.
  20. Gnostic Mark Ella (57)

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