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Coal Seam Gas

Kenya Plant Reverse Osmosis at Chinchilla

Projected life: Currently 20 years, although the plant has been built with a 40-year lifespan.

Operator: Veolia Water Australia.

Staff: 25.

Power source: 33MW gas-fired plant.

Production capacity: 95ML per day (currently about 40-60ML).

Desalination rate: 97 per cent, with the balance of concentrated salt to be held on site prior to removal.

Process: At the plant, water released from the Walloon Coal Measures to liberate CSG is filtered to remove suspended particles.

The water then passes through an ion exchange to remove minerals and reverse osmosis to remove dissolved salts. It is then remineralised and its pH corrected to meet SunWater’s requirements. The plant’s three boiler-like structures are brine concentrators, which concentrate dissolved salts through thermal evaporation.

Sister plant: QGC’s Woleebee Creek Water Treatment Plant is due to open next year and has a projected maximum daily output of about 100ML. It will be used for irrigation and commercial mining and carried via a pipeline to the Glebe Weir on the Dawson River.

Overall project: QGC’s Queensland Curtis LNG plant includes a pipeline that will link the Kenya plant and points south to Woleebee Creek and the Curtis Island LNG plant at Gladstone to supply liquefied natural gas to the export and domestic markets.

QGC Pty Limited awarded a contract worth up to A$800 million to Veolia Water Australia Pty Ltd to operate and maintain QGC's three water treatment plants in the Surat Basin.

From June 2013 Veolia Water electricians, instrument technicians, plant operators and water engineers will operate and maintain ultrafiltration, ion exchange, reverse osmosis and brine concentration equipment in addition to pump stations and electrical substations.

Under the 20-year contract Veolia Water will operate and maintain the plants, which will treat groundwater produced alongside natural gas. QGC is investing more than A$1 billion in infrastructure to treat this generally unused salty water for use by agriculture, industry and towns.

The two main water treatment plants to be maintained and operated are under construction at sites known as Kenya and Woleebee Creek, about 35 km from Chinchilla and Wandoan respectively. These facilities will have a combined capacity to treat about 200 megalitres a day - or about 80 Olympic-sized swimming pools - during peak production. A smaller, 6-megalitre treatment plant operates at QGC's Windibri site near Chinchilla, providing water to Cameby Downs coal mine and Condamine Power Station.

Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning

The Honourable Jeff Seeney

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Water plant shows benefits of resources sector

QGC’s Kenya Water Treatment Plant near Chinchilla will help to drought proof agricultural producers, providing an example of how the resources sector is delivering wider benefits to Queensland communities.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney officially inaugurated the plant in the gas fields west of Brisbane today.

Mr Seeney congratulated QGC on its investment of around $1 billion on water infrastructure in the Surat Basin.

“Projects such as this are not only important for the local farmers and communities, but for the sustainability of the region,” Mr Seeney said.

“The output of this plant will ensure that a considerable number of agricultural producers are effectively drought free.”

“It shows that CSG water is a valuable resource, not the waste product always portrayed by the previous Labor Government.

“I have always acknowledged CSG water as a valuable by-product, not a problem, and that is the difference with the Newman Government,” Mr Seeney said.

The Kenya plant will purify water collected as a by-product of gas production and deliver it to local farmers, irrigators and communities.

It is one of two major water facilities QGC will build as part of its gas production operations in Surat Basin.

A second plant is currently under construction at Woleebee Creek near Wandoan.

Mr Seeney said the CSG industry was injecting billions of dollars into the Queensland economy and providing tens of thousands of new jobs.

“The resources sector is critical to continued prosperity and this plant shows that there are significant additional benefits for Queenslanders from resource development,” he said.

“Resource companies are spending significant funding on community facilities across the state.”

Sunshine Coast Daily
'The plant was built by a consortium of GE Power and Water and Laing O'Rourke Construction Pty Ltd, and involved about 250 people at peak construction.
Laing O'Rourke built the plant and GE provided technical expertise and process
equipment, including advanced ultra-filtration, ion exchange, reverse osmosis and brine concentration technology.
About 25 people will operate the plant, one of two large QGC water treatment facilities in the Surat Basin that will be operated and maintained by Veolia Water Australia Pty Ltd as part of a 20-year, A$800 million contract.

Associated infrastructure includes a 33-megawatt gas-fired power plant to run the reverse osmosis process, and ponds and pipelines related to the water treatment facilities.'

QGC water plant is not all good news

25 October 2013 The long-awaited QGC Kenya water treatment plant, which officially opened on Wednesday, is not the saviour to agricultural and community water security that the government and industry are claiming it to be, according to the Basin Sustainability Alliance (BSA).

The plant will see water, which is extracted from underground as part of the coal seam gas mining process, treated and then delivered by pipeline to the Chinchilla Weir.

BSA Chair David Hamilton said it was difficult to listen to glowing praise of the plant, when so many farmers are under extreme stress and angst over the security of groundwater supplies now in jeopardy because of CSG development in the area.

“This is a complex issue and we are concerned that we are seeing the government promote the benefits to one part of the community while turning a blind eye to the impacts elsewhere.

“There’s no doubt that’s it’s better to do something useful with the water rather than see it evaporate in a pond, but BSA has said all along that the extracted water must be used to mitigate impacts before it’s put to new uses.

“This desalination plant doesn’t magically manufacture water; it is water that has been drawn from underground as part of the gas extraction process.

We don’t deny the treatment of this water provides short term benefit to some farmers and supplements Chinchilla’s water supply, but we can’t forget that that extracting the water is potentially depleting an aquifer and affecting current users.

“It’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Mr Hamilton said BSA was calling on the industry to be proactive by offering to replace groundwater bores before they are impacted, instead of waiting for three years for government modelling to direct the companies do so. Such a gesture would go a long way to repairing the break-down of trust and the fracturing of local communities.”

He said it was only a matter of time before landholders accessing their water supplies from the Walloon Coals Seams will see the impacts from CSG.
“Farmers whose bores have been identified in the Government’s underground water modeling as expecting to suffer long term loss, will be offered “make good” arrangements. However, BSA is still not clear where the “make good” water will come from.

“We are very concerned that the only option for some will be to accept financial compensation to make up for their loss of water. Unfortunately money doesn’t water crops or livestock.

The other big issue that BSA fears has been brushed under the carpet is the disposal of salt.

“This industry is expected to generate millions of tonnes of salt and at this stage, none of the CSG companies seem to have a suitable solution for its disposal. We are very fearful that the salt will end up in landfill, resulting in another serious environmental hazard .”


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