6 December 2011

The Premier of Queensland, Anna Bligh, today (December 7) launched a $20 million partnership encompassing industry, government and researchers to further increase the knowledge and skill needs of the growing coal seam gas industry.

The University of Queensland has created the partnership to initiate and operate the Centre for Coal Seam Gas (CCSG).

The CCSG will harness extensive capability from UQ and other academic collaborators and be hosted by UQ's Sustainable Minerals Institute.

The centerpiece of the CCSG is a Strategic Advisory Board that will include industry, university and State Government representation.

The Board will establish priorities, determine activities that will be resourced and monitor and communicate all outcomes.

As the world transitions to cleaner energy fuels the demand for gas will only continue to increase.

Electricity generated from gas has a lower carbon intensity than coal-fired electricity and therefore coal seam gas has a role to play in a cleaner energy future. Queensland is in a prime position to help fulfill this need.

Professor Chris Moran said the Centre provided an ideal opportunity for industry, UQ and Government to work in partnership to identify and develop education and research projects which will add further value to the technical and practical operations of the CSG industry.

The University of Queensland, QGC, Santos and Arrow Energy have committed up to $20 million for the first five years of the CCSG.

QGC Senior Vice President Jim Knudsen commended the hard work and dedication of people within the industry, government and university to initiate the new centre.

CEO Santos GLNG Project Mark Macfarlane said: “This research will further add to the significant and rigorous body of science that each of the companies has undertaken and continues to undertake as each of our Projects are developed.”

Arrow Energy CEO Andrew Faulkner said the new Centre would be a major boost for Queensland-based industry research.

“It builds on existing CSG research facilities and further strengthens Queensland’s position as one of the world-leading CSG research hubs,” Mr Faulkner said.

The SMI Director, Professor Chris Moran, said UQ had expressions of interest from several other potential partners.

“Like all work under the SMI, the Centre will have a strong focus on sustainability with production, people and environmental issues all considered.”

“The Centre will be a great positive for students and researchers, who will get to interact with industry and have on-site experiences as part of their educational or research programs.”

SMI's funding has been modelled on government and industry support since its founding in 2001.

“We have always worked closely with industry, and the CCSG will be no exception,” Professor Moran said.

“We greatly value the input of leading companies for the simple reason that they understand the challenges and the ones working to address them.”

The CCSG aims to be the pre-eminent global authority on vital issues relating to CSG within 10 years. It will draw on the capabilities from some 16 Schools and Centres across UQ.

It has been working with other universities in Australia and has held talks with international universities in the UK and US to discuss future collaborations in the CSG and broader unconventional gas areas.

To turbo-boost the CCSG capabilities beyond this considerable base, UQ will recruit five new Professorial Chairs.

These Chairs will include a new Centre Director as well as the treatment and utilisation of coal seam water, petroleum engineering, geosciences, and the industry's social performance and community impact.

To download a photo of Professor Chris Moran, and for background information, please visit: http://omc.uq.edu.au/images/ccsg/

Media contact: Kelly Tomlinson, SMI, +61 7 3346 4004; +61 466 746 680; k.tomlinson1@uq.edu.au