UQ & Santos sign coal seam gas agreement

11 Feb 2010

A new agreement between The University of Queensland and Australian oil and gas company Santos is set to help Queensland take a leading role in coal seam gas exploration and production.

The University and Santos this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to foster research and education programs which will help the development of Queensland coal seam gas and its related industries.

Stored within unmined coal seams, coal seam gas (CSG) is an energy resource which has many uses, ranging from household to power generation and which can be a significant contributor to the transition to a more sustainable energy future.

UQ's Executive Director, Business Engagement, Professor Gordon Dunlop said the partnership was an important step towards securing the future of this booming industry.

“UQ is in a position to provide the industry with new insights, ideas and results that will contribute towards more efficient utilisation of coal seam gas resources, improve the environmental profile of the industry, and assist in dealing with community issues,” Professor Dunlop said.

“We expect to commence new, large research projects with Santos in the areas of reservoir characterisation, gas extraction, gas processing, water engineering, environmental sustainability and social engagement in which the University has significant expertise.”

The MoU will pave the way for further development and expansion of UQ's research capabilities in CSG, increasing research personnel and ensuring that UQ research continues to evolve in line with industry needs and requirements.

Santos Queensland and Gladstone Liquefied Natural Gas (GLNG) President Rick Wilkinson said the MoU would reinforce Santos' working relationship with UQ on a range of coal seam gas issues.

“In coming decades, the activities of Santos and other gas industry participants will continue to be focused on the ongoing development of coal seam gas resources and LNG projects,” Mr Wilkinson said.

“We believe real benefits will flow from an alignment of UQ's considerable capabilities in research and development with Santos' current and future needs for information and technology, along with a future supply of CSG engineers and geoscientists with high level, practical skills.”

Santos has been producing coal seam gas in Queensland for many years and continual improvement in technology is making gas extraction from coal seams easier and more efficient.

Mr Wilkinson said the outcomes of the partnership will help provide the foundations for Queensland to be recognised as a global centre of excellence on CSG and liquefied natural gas.

“Mega projects such as those underway in Queensland have the capacity to change the economic landscape of the State,” Mr Wilkinson said.

“It is important that industry works with communities and educational institutions to provide opportunities to take full advantage of this situation by developing pathways into the industry.”

UQ and Santos have been working together in the area of coal seam gas since 2000.

Media: Alice Walker at the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology (a.walker1@uq.edu.au or 07 3346 7696)