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Australia establishes coal seam gas scientific research alliance

Australia’s CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia’s national science agency) and Australia Pacific LNG (a coal seam gas to LNG joint venture between Origin and ConocoPhillips) have launched a new research alliance to support the development of the coal seam gas (CSG) industry.

The Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA) will undertake integrated, regional, systems-based research that addresses the impacts of gas developments, drawn from an evidence-based understanding of regional processes and issues.

In the first instance, GISERA will explore issues in Queensland related to five topics:

  • groundwater and surface water;
  • biodiversity;
  • land management;
  • the marine environment; and
  • socio-economic impacts.

GISERA has been designed to expand the membership to other companies both within and outside of the industry, as well as research purchasers and providers such as universities and government agencies. Stakeholders such as agricultural industries and communities will also be sought as members. This will ensure public good research undertaken by GISERA will benefit the broader community and industry.

A robust governance framework has been designed to ensure the delivery of quality peer-reviewed and publicly available science. Research planning will be overseen by a Research Advisory Committee that will draw on formal and informal advice from a range of experts and interests. Research will be conducted with the active collaboration of a range of regional stakeholders and research reports will be made publicly available following review by CSIRO’s peer-review process.

CSIRO and Australia Pacific LNG provided initial seed funding totalling A$14 million (US$14.9 million) over the next five years to fund research into the socio-economic and environmental impacts of the natural gas industry in Queensland.

The CSG industry has been providing significant quantities of gas for Queensland for more than 30 years. It now provides 90% of Queensland’s gas supplies and about 15% of its electricity generation, and is now working to advance one of the largest resource developments in Australian history.

While GISERA’s initial focus will be directed at Queensland’s CSG-LNG industry, it has the potential to expand its focus to gas operations in other parts of Australia. Results will be made publicly available following peer review with all relevant material posted on the GISERA website.

Australia Pacific LNG is the leading producer of CSG in Australia and holds the country’s largest CSG reserves position, currently providing over 40% of Queensland’s gas supply.

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