The coal seam gas industry

Australia’s coal seam gas industry is growing rapidly, creating valuable jobs, domestic power generation, export income and tax revenue.

Queensland began producing coal seam gas almost 20 years ago.

Since then, coal seam gas has become a mainstay of the Australian energy market.

Today, almost all natural gas used in Queensland comes from coal seams, and CSG now provides about a third of the gas used across the eastern Australian gas market (which includes South Australia).

Queensland’s gasfields are mostly in the Western Downs and Maranoa  regions, centred on the towns of Chinchilla and Roma. Toowoomba has become a major CSG industry service hub.

Many coal seam gas companies have large offices in Brisbane and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects are being built in Gladstone.

With the start of shipments from Queensland LNG projects in December 2014, CSG is now also being sold to Asian export markets.

The uses of gas

Natural gas – which includes gas from coal seams – is not only a major fuel but also an important component in many industrial processes. It is used to make fertilisers, plastics and many chemicals.

Gas is widely used in electricity generation. Because gas-fired generation is reliable and can be quickly started and stopped, it can be used for both baseload and peaking power. It can also be used to fill gaps in renewable power generation when wind or sunshine are not available.

Gas is also used for cooking, heating houses and buildings, and heating water.

It is also important for fuelling many industrial operations, including glass and steel foundries, and aluminium and nickel smelters.

Gas can also be used in the form of compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a transportation fuel.

 

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Manufacturing

Gas is used in producing a wide range of industrial products, including steel, glass, plastics and polymers, paints and dyes, and textiles.

Gas is also very important in the production of fertilisers.

History

Australia has a long association with natural gas.

In 1900, a well being drilled for water in Roma, Queensland accidentally discovered the country’s first natural gas field.

Commercial gas production from central Australia and Bass Strait began in the 1960s.

LNG has also been exported from the northwest of Western Australia since 1989.