Queensland chosen for $2.5m coal seam gas R&D centre

Queensland premier Anna Bligh has announced plans for a gas technology research and development laboratory in Brisbane, funded by Schlumberger.

Schlumberger is a global technology and project management company specialising in the oil and gas industries.

The funding comes as more than 500 delegates gather for the Queensland International Gas Symposium.

Bligh said this research lab will focus on studying unconventional gas technologies such as coal seam gas, and other natural gases which are difficult to extract.

"The laboratory, established in collaboration with QUT, is the first of its kind in Australia and is scheduled to open early in 2012," she said.

"The facility will house more than $2.5 million worth of specialised geotechnical equipment supporting industry-leading research focused largely on unconventional gas technologies.

"Schlumberger currently has many laboratory and R&D facilities around the world and we are delighted that they chose Queensland for their latest."

Kyel Hodenfield, vice president of unconventional resources for Schlumberger, said: "Brisbane was an obvious choice because of its proximity to major projects, strong protection of intellectual property and access to engineering talent".

This is the latest development in the growing CSG and LNG industry in Queensland, with the government investing around $45 billion in the industries to date, with the Australia Pacific LNG Project worth $20 billion alone.

Last month, the University of Queensland announced that it is creating a centre focused solely on coal seam gas research.

Dubbed the Centre for Coal Seam Gas, it aims to "be the pre-eminent global authority on vital issues relating to CSG", and will be part of UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI).

Chris Moran, director of SMI, said: "the new Centre, backed by the UQ’s global research capabilities, will undertake critical research that will drive sustainable practice in this emerging industry, and bring the scientific rigor and data that have been lacking to date to the social, environmental and technical challenges the industry faces."

UQ is also creating five new professional chairs to develop the research programs, which will look at: the treatment and utilisation of coal seam water; social and community performance; geoscience, and petroleum engineering.