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Coal Seam Gas Mining In Australia

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Question:

Discuss about the Coal Seam Gas Mining in Australia.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction:

Coal seam gas (CSG) is one of the natural gas. Australia have sufficient amount of Coal Seam Gas. It was first founded in 1990. It is considered as the source of fuel. It plays a significant role in lower the carbon emission which is highly beneficial to save the environment from the harmful effect of carbon. Australia is known for the exploration of CSG. It is mainly found in the Eastern Australia. CSG is not a shale gas. There is a difference between the shale gas and CSG. There are some specific method to extract the gas, such as- hydraulic fracturing, horizontal drilling. Coal Seam Gas puts a significant impact on the financial infrastructure of the Australia. The economic development of Australia is highly dependent o the exploration and exportation of the CSG gas (Fleming and Measham 2015).

The below mentioned article has concentrated on the CSG mining in Australia. It has discussed about the impact of CSG mining on the financial development of Australia. The report has articulated several process of the CSG mining that has been followed in Australia to extract the Coal Seam Gas.

Coal seam gas (CGM) is considered as one of the natural gas. It is mainly known as methane gas and found in coal seams. Coal gas mining is also known as coal bed methane (CBM).  CSG is known as unconventional gas, as it requires unconventional method to be extracted like horizontal drilling or hydraulic fracturing. It is different from the conventional gas due to its extraction method of the gas (Werner et al. 2016).

 

Hydraulic Fracturing:

Hydraulic Fracturing is used by many gas and oil mining industry to extract Coal Seam gas. In Australia this method has been used since last 40 years. NSW used this method to increase the water flow. This fracturing method has become unpopular due to the rise of horizontal drilling. In this procedure fluid that is a mixture of sand, water and chemicals is pumped into the fracture to open up the cracks. This allows gas to come up into the surface and release from the coal. Due to negative impact on the environment NSW government recently has banned the use of harmful chemicals in the Hydraulic fracturing method (Maher, Santos and Tait 2014).

One of the famous and scientific methods that have been used by most of the Coal Seam Gas mining companies is horizontal drilling. It is considered as one of the innovative techniques to extract CSG. The role of the horizontal drilling is to identify the wells. After identifying the well small holes is drilled horizontally through which the coal seam gas will come out. Many Coal Seam Gas mining companies have implemented this method to extract the CSG (Duong et al. 2015).

How much water will be involved in the process of Coal Seam Gas mining varies from project to project. According to the CISRO, the behavior of two wells or coal seam is not similar. Thus, the production of water is also not similar. It depends on the feature of the well or coal seam.

Permission for Coal Seam Gas Mining:

In order to extract Coal Seam Gas or deal with it, every company is asked to seek the permission of the local state government. They must apply for the exploration license so they can implement their strategies to extract CSG. According to some report, in recent time 5,072 well are operating in Australia, 4842 in Queensland and 23 in New South Wells (Jakubowski et al. 2014).

CSG is often confused as Shale gas. However, there is a difference between Shale Gas and Coal Seam Gas. Shale gas is found in the shale layers. On the other hand, CSG is fund in the Coal Seam. Shale is harder than coal.

Australia is known for its coal seam gas resource. CSG is mainly found in the Eastern Australia. CSG is being extracted from the eastern region of Australia since 1990. CSG mining industry of Australia is capable of fulfill the requirement of gas market of various countries. It covers a huge gas market. As opined by Australian Energy Regulatory, the demand of CSG is increasing day by day. Coal Seam Gas production in the Surat Basin is growing high.  Australia mainly brings CSG from this Basin. In Australia hybrid drilling has been used to extract CSG, as his procedure is safer than other method and it make little noise. Australia has seen the rapid growth of the Coal Seam Gas mining industry since past few decades. The demand of CSG has been increased in national and global market. This has changed the scenario of the Coal Seam Gas mining industry. CSG mining industry of Australia plays key role in the Australian Economy. It has provided a wide opportunity to the Australian government to improve the financial and social structure (Jakubowski et al. 2014).

 


Although, it plays an important role on the growth of financial infrastructure Australia, coal gas mining industry puts some significant impact on the environment as well, such as-

CSG mining affects the aquifer level by removing large amount of ground water. Removal of the water puts negative impact on the agriculture and rural development. It is harmful for national development. Agriculture is an important element of every country; due to the removal of water level the farmers of the country may face various difficulties to grow crops, which is harmful for the local citizen as well as economy of the country. The exportation of the agriculture based products will be hampered due to such practices (Tait et al. 2016).

CSG mining may add many chemicals into the ordinary water which is harmful for the health of the consumers. They may face various health issues due to chemical reaction. People who will that polluted water for their domestic purpose may suffer from several health hazards.

CSG mining causes various kinds of environmental damages. Although, the economic infrastructure of Australia has been flourished due to CSG extraction, the local citizens are facing various obstacles due to mining industry. The pollution rate has been increased in the environment due to CSG mining. The growth of the CSG mining has affected the soil, water, air. Mining industries are known as the villain for the environment. Due to many harmful practices of the mining industry, the society may lead to face an awful consequence. This practices are influenced by the growth of the CSG mining.

Due to such environmental impact of CSG mining, Australian CSG mining industry is facing various obstacles. New South Wales government has recently taken some remarkable initiative to deal with the situation. The government of NSW has evaluated the effect of coal mining industry on the atmosphere (Rees et al. 2016). A new scientific committee has been constructed in National Partnership Agreement on Coal Seam Gas to scrutinize the impact of the coal gas mining in atmosphere. This committee is hired to examine the water of the most affected areas (Mercer, de Rijke and Dressler 2014). Australian government has incorporated many laws to support the growth of the mining industry as well as to protect the environment from the negative impact of mining industry, such as- environmental protection act (1994), the petroleum act (1923), the water act (2000) and so on. The main motive of the government is to support the community building along with growth of the CSG mining industry (Lacey and Lamont 2014).

 

Impact of Coal Gas Mining on Australian Economy:

The growth of the coal seam gas mining industry has put a significant impact on the financial infrastructure of Australia. CSG mining companies of Australia is known as a huge profit making industry and it possesses huge workforce. More than 20000 people are appointed in the CSG firms of Australia (Jakubowski et al. 2014). Due to the rise of Australian gas industry the economic and social infrastructure has been transformed in past few decades. Many people are appointed in the gas firms and various other companies that are responsible for supplying required equipments to the oil and gas companies of Australia. Thus, it can be states that the employment opportunity has been increased due to the rise of Coal Seam Gas mining industry. The development of this industry has increases the national income of the country, as Australia is known as one of the giant that exports a large amount of CSG in all over world (Hamawand, Yusaf and Hamawand 2013).

The growth of the CSG mining industry in Australia has put a significant impact on the diary industry of Australia as well (Hamilton et al. 2014). Initially the framers of Australian diary industry are opposing the idea of Coal Seam Gas Mining industry. The Australian government has taken a noble initiative to describe the farmers about the benefits they may get due to the growth of the CSG mining industry. This is considered as one of the remarkable steps taken by Australian government, as the dairy industry and the CSG mining industry both play key role in the development of the country. It is not possible for the government to avoid agriculture to expand CSG mining industry.  This idea has provided a vivid picture of the pro’s and cons of the CSG mining industry to the dairy industry. This has led the Australian Dairy Industry Council to establish a supply chain to support the development of the CSG mining industry. Australian dairy farmers, milk companies and state dairy company has taken part in establishing this supply chain. The main motive of this supply chain is to provide sufficient support to the Australian CSG mining industry without compromising any natural assets (Aziz et al. 2014).

Australian Rules and Regulations:

In order to ensure the safety of the environment, Australian Government has included Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act in 1999 (Fleming and Measham 2015). This act has been introduced to ensure environmental safety from the negative impact of CSG mining. EPBC will be implemented where it can be implemented. This act aims at protecting all the national and international heritage places, wetlands. However, it is not responsible for protecting underground water. Although the Australian government has adopted all required strategies to maintain a balance between the atmosphere and CSG mining industry, it is a complicated procedure. Mining industry is known as the villain for the environment. According o some people, CSG mining is highly responsible for the rapid growth of the environmental pollution (Day and Dell’Amico 2014).

 

Conclusion:

As per the previous discussion, it can be concluded that the CSG mining plays a crucial role in the Australian economy. It influences the growth of the Australia. Australia is considered as a major storage of Coal Seam Gas. Coal Seam Gas is primarily known as a methane gas. It is mainly discovered in Eastern Australia. According to some reports, 13% of the total power is supplied by CSG. The Australian Government is incorporating new and modern technologies to extract CSG, as it will be beneficial to establish a bright future for country.  The Australian government often faces various obstacles due to Coal Seam Gas mining. It tries to maintain healthy relation between the Australian citizen and other industries and the coal seam gas mining industry.

 

Reference:

Aziz, N., Florentin, R., Zhang, L., Ren, T. and Black, D., 2014. Enhancement of coal seam gas by N2 injection-a laboratory study.

Day, S. and Dell’Amico, F., 2014, June. R., Javanmard Tousi, H.,(2014). Field Measurements of Fugitive Emissions from Equipment and Well Casings in Australian Coal Seam Gas Production Facilities. In Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (Vol. 110, pp. 18023-18024). CSIRO, Australia.

Duong, H.C., Gray, S., Duke, M., Cath, T.Y. and Nghiem, L.D., 2015. Scaling control during membrane distillation of coal seam gas reverse osmosis brine. Journal of Membrane Science, 493, pp.673-682.

Fleming, D.A. and Measham, T.G., 2015. Local economic impacts of an unconventional energy boom: the coal seam gas industry in Australia. Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 59(1), pp.78-94.

Hamawand, I., Yusaf, T. and Hamawand, S.G., 2013. Coal seam gas and associated water: a review paper. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 22, pp.550-560.

Hamilton, S.K., Golding, S.D., Baublys, K.A. and Esterle, J.S., 2014. Stable isotopic and molecular composition of desorbed coal seam gases from the Walloon Subgroup, eastern Surat Basin, Australia. International Journal of Coal Geology, 122, pp.21-36.

Jakubowski, R., Haws, N., Ellerbroek, D., Murtagh, J. and Macfarlane, D., 2014. Development of a management tool to support the beneficial use of treated coal seam gas water for irrigation in Eastern Australia. Mine Water and the Environment, 33(2), pp.133-145.

Lacey, J. and Lamont, J., 2014. Using social contract to inform social licence to operate: an application in the Australian coal seam gas industry. Journal of Cleaner Production, 84, pp.831-839.

Maher, D.T., Santos, I.R. and Tait, D.R., 2014. Mapping methane and carbon dioxide concentrations and δ13C values in the atmosphere of two Australian coal seam gas fields. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 225(12), p.2216.

Mercer, A., de Rijke, K. and Dressler, W., 2014. Silences in the boom: coal seam gas, neoliberalizing discourse, and the future of regional Australia. Ecology, 21(222), p.e348.

Rees, N., Carter, S., Heinson, G., Krieger, L., Conway, D., Boren, G. and Matthews, C., 2016. Magnetotelluric monitoring of coal-seam gas and shale-gas resource development in Australia. The Leading Edge, 35(1), pp.64-70.

Tait, D.R., Santos, I.R., Maher, D.T., Cyronak, T.J. and Davis, R.J., 2013. Enrichment of radon and carbon dioxide in the open atmosphere of an Australian coal seam gas field. Environmental science & technology, 47(7), pp.3099-3104.

Werner, A.K., Watt, K., Cameron, C.M., Vink, S., Page, A. and Jagals, P., 2016. All-age hospitalization rates in coal seam gas areas in Queensland, Australia, 1995–2011. BMC public health, 16(1), p.125.

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