Chinchilla Research Forum Nov 16

Thank you for attending the 2016 Chinchilla Research Forum held in partnership with the University of Queensland, the Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA) and AgForce Projects.

The forum was a great success with over 80 attendees and a wide range of experts discussing their research projects.

Below is some information on the UQ Centre for Coal Seam Gas and GISERA and  the research projects that were discussed on the day. To view the full agenda for the day click here and to view a fact sheet outlining the projects click here.

If you would like any further information on anything that was discussed on the day, or have any other questions please contact the CSG team on (07) 3238 6048 or email the team.


About the Centre for Coal Seam Gas at the University of Queensland

Founded in 2011, the University of Queensland's Centre for Coal Seam Gas conducts and coordinates research on technical and social challenges associated with the development of coal seam gas resources in Australia. The centre also contributes towards educating the next generation of professionals to work in the coal seam gas sector.

The Centre's vision is to become a leader in creating new knowledge and capability that will enable the coal seam gas sector to meet Australia's energy needs whilst addressing community, government and industry challenges. The Centre's research capability spans four areas: Water, Social Performance, Geoscience and Petroleum Engineering. Achieving a suitable balance among these areas is a key challenge for the Australian coal seam gas industry and is the guiding principle behind CCSG's education and research strategy.


Water Chemistry Atlas for Coal Seam Gas Fields

The University of Queensland Centre for Coal Seam Gas researchers have developed an open source 3D Water Atlas, a unified and now publicly available source of groundwater level data, groundwater chemistry data, hydrogeological layers and analysis tools.
The aim of the project is to create a knowledge base that integrates a wide range of groundwater chemistry, water level and geological data sources into a single platform for visualising and analysing the data.

The platform aims to support research and further understanding of groundwater and the impact of CSG extraction and water re-use, treatment and disposal on groundwater resources.

Key Points:

  • Specific to the Surat and Bowen Basins
  • Water chemistry atlas will provide spatial and temporal record of changes in groundwater chemistry and geological models as new data becomes available
  • The water atlas is accessible to specialist and non-specialist groups

The 3D Water Atlas of the Surat Basin is now available to the public. It allows you to interactively view a variety of different groundwater datasets. To view, visit the UQ CCSG website.

Click here for the Water Atlas presentation from the Chinchilla Research Forum.


Current and Estimated Water Production from CSG Development

With 5 of 6 LNG trains now running and the 6th due to start later this year, we are now well into the ramp up of CSG production and have actual data on the volumes of water being produced. This in turn provides information to history match dynamic models against such that new forward forecasts are more accurate. The volumes of water actually produced has an impact on the anticipated cumulative impacts and the volume of salt that may result from water treatment.

This research is important to improve the accuracy of groundwater models regarding the potential impacts of the CSG industry on aquifers and groundwater users. By better understanding and estimating the volumes of water extracted, as a result of producing CSG, we can better predict the short and long-term impacts on groundwater supplies and users.

For more information on this project click here.


The University of Queensland's Groundwater Use Study

Presented by Professor Andrew Garnett, The UQ groundwater use study is being undertaken to improve estimates of water bore extraction rates across the Surat Cumulative Management Area (CMA), which can be used to improve the accuracy of future groundwater models used by government and industry. Professor Andrew Garnett discussed the research, including UQ’s field monitoring program, interpretation of various data sources, and statistical modelling approach.

UQ’s groundwater use study aims to help better understand groundwater extraction rates from water bores across the Surat CMA. The project is using statistical techniques, as well as field monitoring to ‘ground truth’ the statistical models, to better quantify this important input to regional groundwater flow models.

Key Points:

  • UQ are conducting a study to better estimate water bore extraction rates in the Surat CMA
  • This is being undertaken to independently improve the accuracy of future groundwater flow models used by government and the CSG industry
  • The study will use a range of data sources, including field monitoring of flows from bores to produce statistical estimates of water use from each aquifer with the Surat CMA
  • The first estimates from the study will be produced by the end of 2016

Read more on this project here, and view the forum presentation here.


Agriculture and Coal Seam Gas: Two Industries on One Landscape

This research undertaken by Professor Jim Cavaye and Dr Lisa Kelly studied the coexistence of the coal seam gas industry alongside the agriculture industry in Queensland, and assesses how to best manage the impacts on businesses and communities.

Key Points:
The University of Queensland’s research addressed two main issues that are central to the business relationship between the CSG and agricultural industries —

  • Understanding what co-existence means and how to facilitate it, and
  • Working out how to measure both positive and negative impacts of CSG operations on agricultural businesses & identifying how best to manage these impacts.
Landholders, the CSG industry, and government appear to agree on three crucial elements for successful and improving coexistence: Relationships, information and intermediaries.

47 landholders were interviewed in this study and analysis of the interview data identified both positive and negative impacts. The information from interviews helped researchers to develop a package of monitoring tools that landholders can use to identify and measure change on their property. These were successfully trialled on 3 properties over a 10-month period and can be adapted to a variety of farming types.

To see the presentation from the day click here.

The University of Queensland's Cumulative Impacts Indicators Project

The University of Queensland has undertaken research into the cumulative socio-economic impacts that the coal seam gas industry (both positive and negative) has on communities and their environment. This project tracked the impacts of the CSG ‘mega projects’ in the Darling Downs region, which has proved an interesting subject for research due to its large-scale development and rapid rate of growth.

Key Points:
  • CSG development has been a catalyst for social and economic change in the Darling Downs
  • Some sections of the community have benefited and others have faced challenging times
  • UQ has combined interviews with analysis of statistical data to ‘tell the story’ of changes over the past 15 years
  • This story has been shared with numerous government agencies and the CSG companies in Brisbane

To see the presentation from the day click here.


Measuring Economic Trends and Benefits of CSG Development on Local Businesses

This research has investigated the key Small to Medium Enterprises capabilities and policy settings which lead to resilient local businesses. The study investigated factors that influence performance of small businesses in Queensland towns affected by CSG development across three time periods: investment (2008-2013), transition to operations (2013-2015) and estimated future performance (to 2017).

Insights gained from this research are likely to benefit stakeholders not only within this region but also in new regions likely to experience onshore gas development.

Key Points:

  • The research identified characteristics and key capabilities of successful adaptation in local SMEs that are responding positively to the dynamic business environment and to the shift from construction to operations phase of CSG development.
  • The research also determined factors external to SMEs that facilitate or constrain local businesses benefiting from, or adapting effectively to, new opportunities and the new economic environment, in order to inform and improve business resilience of the SME sector.


To see the presentation from the day click here.


Stakeholder Trust in CSG Research & Industry Operations
This research was conducted by Associate Professor Nicole Gillespie and Dr Carol Bond from UQ Business School. An organisation's reputation for trust is the foundation to its performance and long-term survival. Yet building and maintaining stakeholder trust is challenging, particularly in large, complex field operations that have multiple interconnected stakeholders, such as in the CSG industry.

This research has examined the following questions:

  • What are the key drivers of stakeholder trust?
  • How do the key drivers of trust differ among stakeholder groups?
  • How can stakeholder trust be built & maintained in the future?

Key Points:

  • CSG companies must understand and manage trust with their stakeholders - the community, political influencers, employees, contractors, regulators and the media, if they are to stay competitive and maintain their social license to operate.

To see the presentation from the day click here or visit the CCSG website for further information on the project.


About the Gas Industry Social & Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA)

 GISERA’s aim is to provide scientific research and information on Australia’s growing natural gas industry to community, government and industry alike. The organisation seek membership from a range of sectors such as industry, governments and research organisations. With a broader range of members, the organisation aims to gain a better understanding and perspective of the effects of the natural gas industry on Australia’s society, economy and environment.

GISERA’s current members are AGL, Australia Pacific LNG, CSIRO, Origin Energy, QGC and Santos.


Measuring CSIRO Community Wellbeing and Responding to Change

CSIRO and GISERA have conducted a series of studies into the overall community attitude towards CSG operations in affected towns including Chinchilla, Miles, Tara and Dalby. The research, undertaken in 2014 and again in 2016 asked individuals within these communities a series of questions about their opinions on the wellbeing and resilience of their communities.  

Key Findings:

  • The biggest change in wellbeing in 2016 was the decrease in satisfaction in relation to jobs and employment opportunities
  • The biggest improvements were in roads and the quality of the environment (eg dust and noise)
  • Overall community wellbeing in the Western Downs region was favourable and remained relatively unchanged when measured in 2014 and 2016
  • On average, people who live in-town reported higher levels of wellbeing than those who live out-of-town.

 You can read more on the Community Wellbeing Survey results here, or click here to see the presentation from the forum.


The CSG Project is delivered by AgForce Projects with the support of the Queensland Government, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, Queensland Resources Council and the GasFields Commission Queensland.

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