Surat Basin – 16,500 sq km of coal-seam gas deposits – a new future for Queensland jobs.
We all tend to think of mining in Australia as the mainstay of the energy development sector; and after all, it is a huge part of the export market that earns this country billions in export earnings as well as royalties.
It’s no secret that Australian mining companies have been facing some tough and challenging trading conditions as the prices paid for iron ore, coal and other precious metals drop to new lows.
Many people who once worked in the mineral extraction side of the mining industry found themselves at the mercy of commodity price drops, and when that happened, the workforce was the first target as mining companies trimmed extra costs in order to stay in business. This has been the case for a long time, as the uncertainty of commodity prices keep everyone guessing what’s next.
CSG spawns a host of multi-billion dollar projects
However, one of the biggest secrets of the Australian energy sector is the proliferation of the coal-seam gas industry, which has been gaining momentum for well over 2 years. This industry has spawned a host of multi-billion dollar projects, all connected with developing the Australian LNG industry.
This new source of energy is nothing new, as offshore oil and gas platforms have sucked the precious resource out of naturally forming gas and oil basins deep under the seabed for many years. Western Australia especially is home to some of the biggest gas wells and production platforms in the world.
What we have seem more recently is a focus on developing the Australian coal-seam gas industry using land-based underground coal seams, that have stored the gas in water-filled seams for millions of years.
“gas is fed into a network of additional pipes”
Typically, these gas seams are found deep underground and therefore are not commercially viable to develop as a traditional strip and open cut operation. So the only real option is to drill. Gas is released from the coal when the water is drained from the seam causing it to naturally collect in gas pockets where it is extracted to the surface and fed into a network of additional pipes from other wells.
If you’re interested in seeing how a CSG exploration rig is set up, watch this cool time lapse video from Australian energy sector training and video company RigVids. The rig is moved to a new location every 2 days . . . amazing footage. Watch the RigVids CSG drilling platform video
“massive coal-seam gas reserves”
The Surat Basin in Queensland, which can be found west of Brisbane is home to massive coal-seam gas reserves and is being tapped in an all-out assault. The gas from thousands of wells is being transported by a network of feeder pipes and gas transmission pipelines hundreds of kilometres to LNG production facilities off the coast of Gladstone, on Curtis Island.
This mammoth operation has been meticulously planned and executed with absolute precision by a host of exploration, drilling and pipeline construction companies. Many people who were once employed in open-cut or underground mining operations have seized the day and transitioned across into the gas sector.
“plenty of jobs for qualified machinery operators”
There is an abundance of jobs for experienced and qualified machinery operators, specialist welders and technicians as well as WHS officers, pipeline engineers and project managers.
iMINCO recently learned what it takes to build these enormous pipelines from one of the gas industry’s most respected magazines, Pipeliner.
The information is contained in an article about the Surat Basin, which we thought would be very helpful for those people who are looking to the gas sector for employment, and would like to further increase their knowledge of the industry.
The Pipeliner Article
The Surat Basin coal-seam gas project is a large-scale operation that has kept Murphy Pipe and Civil (MPC) pipe crews busy for almost three years. The following is an interview with the construction Director Tony O`Sullivan, who gives us some insights into what it takes to construct a pipe network of this size.
CSG-LNG pipeline quick facts
- MPC first started installing polyethylene (PE) pipe back in April 2012 and since then has laid about 3,500 km of pipe across the Surat Basin`s CSG fields.
- As an example of the sheer size, it’s about 180,000 multi-diameter pipe lengths running from the Gold Coast to Darwin.
- Pipe diameter variations, which range between 110″“630 mm.
- A combination of about 50-50 of conventional trench and bury methods using excavators, as well as trenchless technology using a fleet of Spiderploughs.
- The CSG industry has developed and now larger polyethylene pipes between 450″“630 mm are being laid as a continuous system.
- 630 mm diameter PE pipe was laid using the `over-the-cab` system.
- In 2013 one plough crew achieved what is believed to be a world PE pipe record when they laid 17.8 km in a single 12-hour shift.
- Typically about 4km of pipe is laid every day.
- Australian Fusion Welding crews have been responsible for most of the pipeline welding.
- To date more than 92 per cent of the completed network has been successfully pressure tested.
- One of the largest test sections was 220 kilometres in length.
- The network being developed for Queensland Gas Company (QGC) covers an area of around 16,500 sq km and spans across three work fronts that are at times up to 350 km apart.
- At any one time a workforce of around 450 is required, although this can blow out to 800 when needed.
- The company introduced a number of innovative safety initiatives to reduce the potential for a workplace injury.
- Driving skills development (4WD), which accounts for our biggest safety risk due to the large amount of travel our team does each month was high on the agenda.
- Their team achieved 3 million man hours on the project without any lost-time due to injury.
iMINCO Tips and free resources to help you get CSG jobs
- Build your knowledge by reading this comprehensive guide to LNG Jobs inAustralia
- Subscribe to the iMINCO Project News newsletter ““ mining and resource sector jobs
- Have a good resume prepared for you to improve your chances of getting an interview
- Get this free e-book by iMINCO on how to get into mining and the resource sector
- Have a go at writing your own resume. 40 tips to creating a winning resume