Australia and New Zealand CBNG development and environmental implications
Taulis, Mauricio (2009) Australia and New Zealand CBNG development and environmental implications. In Reddy, KJ (Ed.) Coalbed Natural Gas: Energy and Environment. Nova Publishers.
Following the success of Coalbed Natural Gas (CBNG) operations in the United
States, companies in Australia and New Zealand have been actively exploring and
developing this technology for the last two decades. In particular, the Bowen and Surat
basins in Queensland, Australia, have undergone extensive CBNG development.
Unfortunately, awareness of potential environmental problems associated with CBNG
abstraction has not been widespread and legislation has at times struggled to keep up with
In Australia, the combined CBNG resource for both the Bowen and Surat basins has
been estimated at approximately 10,500 PJ with gas content as high as 10 m3/tonne of
coal. There are no official estimates for the magnitude of the CBNG resource in New
Zealand but initial estimates suggest this could be up to 1,300 PJ with gas content ranging
from 1 to 5 m3/tonne of coal.
In Queensland, depressurization of the Walloon Coal Measures to recover CBNG
has the potential to induce drawdown in adjacent deep aquifer systems through
intraformational groundwater flow. In addition, CBNG operators have been disposing
their co-produced water by using large unlined ponds, which is not the best practice for
managing co-produced water. CBNG waters in Queensland have the typical geochemical
signature associated with CBNG waters (Van Voast, 2003) and thus have the potential to
impair soils and plant growth where land disposal is considered. Water quality from
exploration wells in New Zealand exhibit the same characteristics although full scale
production has not yet begun.
In general, the environmental impacts that could arise from CBNG water extraction
depend on the aquifer system, the quantity and quality of produced water, and on the
method of treatment and disposal being used. Understanding these impacts is necessary
to adequately manage CBNG waters so that environmental effects are minimized; if properly managed, CBNG waters can be used for beneficial applications and can become
a valuable resource to stakeholders.
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|Item Type:||Book Chapter|
|Keywords:||coal seam gas|
|Subjects:||Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EARTH SCIENCES (040000) > PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY AND ENVIRONMENTAL GEOSCIENCE (040600) > Hydrogeology (040603)|
|Divisions:||Past > Schools > Biogeoscience|
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
|Deposited On:||22 Oct 2010 14:18|
|Last Modified:||01 Mar 2012 00:21|
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