The University of Queensland’s Centre for Coal Seam Gas (CCSG) was established at the end of 2011 by UQ, QGC, Santos and Arrow Energy to conduct and coordinate research on the technical and social challenges associated with CSG. In 2014 APLNG also joined the Centre and all major CSG operators are now fully on board.
The Centre, together with representatives of the industry members, Queensland State regulator, and several project specific advisory groups, work collaboratively with many academic partners to further CSG science.
Since its formation four years ago, the Centre has focused on developing a broad portfolio of research projects to address the demand for new and improved scientific knowledge. The research program is balanced across four main themes: Water, Social Performance, Geoscience and Petroleum Engineering, each lead by a professorial Chair.
As of the end of 2015, we have 32 current research projects and have allocated over $14 million in research funding, in addition to 4 co-funded professorial chairs. These projects draw on the expertise of more than 50 researchers from 18 UQ schools and research centres as well as collaborators from other Australian and major international research institutions. Within this, we have 26 PhDs and MPhils associated directly with CCSG funded projects and over 20 more across UQ engaged in research closely related to the onshore gas industry.
At the end of 2015, the Centre held its annual Research Review, an event which showcases the breadth of our research projects to an audience of industry, government, university and community stakeholders. This book reproduces the scientific posters that were displayed on the day providing an overview of the objectives, outcomes and key finding to date of our research at UQ.
The posters display the work of CCSG research teams, PhD students working on CCSG funded projects as well as several independent PhD students researching CSG related issues.
Professor Andrew Garnett, Director
Posters from the Centre Research Review 2015
Chair – Professor Jim Underschultz
The Centre’s water related research addresses the impacts of CSG extraction on groundwater and surface water resources; the hydraulic connectivity of coal seam and agricultural aquifers; and the development of adaptive water and environmental management strategies.
- Recharge estimation in the Surat Basin – Stage 2 Field site establishment
- Characterisation of current groundwater uses in the Surat and Bowen basins
- Non-seismic geophysics for CSG monitoring, initial results from the pilot field trial
- A 3D subsurface groundwater atlas for CSG fields
Chair – Associate Professor Will Rifkin
The Centre seeks to provide new knowledge to help government and industry manage social and economic impacts at a regional scale, develop strategies that enhance the social performance capacity of the industry, and deliver positive, long term development outcomes for communities impacted by CSG. Researchers design and apply innovative community engagement methodologies, examine issues associated with the management of cumulative impacts and develop evidence-based contributions to policy debate about the regulation of the sector.
- Small and medium enterprises (SME) sub-project: Measuring economic trends and benefits of CSG development on local businesses
- Evaluation of STEM enrichment programs for schools - SSP
- Understanding stakeholder trust in Queensland’s coal seam gas industry
- Interactions between agriculture and coal seam gas development
- PhD project: How do universities engage with controversial industries?
- PhD project: Science, risk and legitimacy: Investigating the governance of science in the CSG policy arena
Chair – Professor Brian Towler
Research in the area of Petroleum Engineering includes aspects of reservoir characterisation, development and dynamic behaviour, drilling, well completions, and stimulation and enhancement technologies. Other research examines aspects of the techno-economics of gas exploitation and recovery, and field related engineering including optimisation, process control and site rehabilitation.
- PhD project: Measurement of anisotropic properties of coal under triaxial stress condition
- PhD project: Influence of rank and lithotype on coal wettability
- PhD project: High-pressure measurements of gas-water relative permeability in coal seams using x-ray CT scanner
- PhD project: Nanoparticles with potential to stabilize smectite clays in coal seam gas reservoirs
- Mathematical modelling of the slug flow regime in CSG wells
- Masters research project: Plugging and abandoning (decommissioning) oil & gas wells with bentonite
Chair – Professor Stephen Tyson
The Centre’s significant expertise in geoscience includes geology, geophysics and geochemistry. Research is seeking to provide new knowledge on basin analysis and characterisation, the origins of coal seam gas, exploration targeting within the geological setting, and natural factors that establish the nature of the reservoir for CSG.
- Surat supermodel II – An integrated geological framework for CSG
- Honours project: Provenance of the Springbok Sandstone, Surat Basin, QLD
- PhD project: Palynology of the Jurassic-Cretaceous transition, northern Surat Basin
- PhD project: The Walloon-Birkhead transition - Changes in coal and interburden character
- PhD project: Controls on the geometry, stratigraphic distribution and quality of coals of the Middle to Upper Jurassic strata in eastern Australia
- PhD project: Coal strength from synthetic rock mass: Critical points to reproduce rock mechanical behaviour, an approach to improve inferences of permeability and reservoir performance
- PhD project: Automatic NMO correction in anisotropic media and non-hyperbolic NMO velocity field estimation
- Non-linear geostatistics
- Big Data for CSG analytics
- Improved spatial models of short range permeability variations
- Polynomial chaos for the geosciences
Independent PhD and Masters Research
These research projects cover a broad range of issues including regional geological structures, geological modelling, produced water treatment, communication tools, community investment, community health, business innovation and gas emissions. A few of these students’ projects are featured in this book, providing insight into the great diversity of research being undertaken. While some of the featured research is well-advanced, other projects are in their initial phases and the specific research questions are still being developed.
- Seismic insights into the sedimentary architecture of Walloon sub-group
- Core analysis and Pulsed Arc Electrohydraulic Discharge (PAED) stimulation of coal seam interburden
- Electrofacies analysis using high-resolution wireline geophysical data as a proxy for intertinite and vitrinite distribution in late Permian coal seams, Bowen Basin
- Pore-scale simulations of bubble-water flow in coal seams by Lattice Boltzmann Method
- Numerical simulation of hydraulic fracturing in unconventional reservoirs
- Hydrogeological and microbial controls on the isotope and molecular composition of coal seam gases and production waters of the Walloon Subgroup; Surat Basin, Australia