Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Santos' Gladstone LNG expansion proposal involves significant scientific uncertainties according to Federal Government's Independent Expert Scientific Committee

The industrialisation of rural and regional landscapes continue with Santos planning more than 6,000 water hungry gas wells operating for an estimated 30 years across 10,676 square kilometres in Queensland.

The Abbott Government has been in possession of the Independent Expert Scientific Committee’s final report on the Gas Fields Development Project since December 2014, sometime after which it was made publicly available on the Committee’s website.

ABC News 19 February 2015:

Top experts are warning of significant scientific uncertainties arising from a massive coal seam gas expansion proposal in Queensland.
The ABC has obtained a report from the Federal Government's Independent Expert Scientific Committee, which flags a concerning lack of information in project documents and says more work needs to be done on Santos's Gladstone LNG expansion proposal.
The proposed expansion covers 10,676 square kilometres and has the potential to include more than 6,000 gas wells across central Queensland.
"The scale, the early stage and the geographic extent of the proposed project development, together with other significant coal seam gas projects in the region, creates considerable scientific uncertainty about impacts on surface water and groundwater and associated ecosystems," the IESC report said.
According to the report, the potential impacts include:
* Reduced water supply to Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems, including Great Artesian Basin discharge and watercourse springs and endangered ecological communities.
* Changes to groundwater and surface water quality due to direct project activities and management of co-produced water.
* Cumulative impacts of Surat and Bowen basin activities (particularly coal seam gas and coal mining) on groundwater pressures and lag-time effects on water.
The IESC also warned the hydroecological information (including ecological water requirements of systems) was "inadequate" for understanding potential local ecological impacts.
"Methods applied are appropriate to understand regional impacts, particularly cumulative water drawdown," the Committee said.
"However, the methods used are not sufficient for understanding local-scale impacts, particularly to ecological assets.
"Recognising the considerable information provided in the project assessment documentation, the IESC is concerned that relevant data and information from investigations and monitoring from the [Gladstone LNG] Project and Joint Industry Programmes have not been incorporated in the project assessment documentation for [this latest] development."

There is also the matter of weather during cyclone season......

This is the Santos facility at Curtis Island, Gladstone QLD:

Then there is the matter of weather conditions during cyclone season.....

On 19 February 2015 7News reported:

Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) spokesman Patrick Quirk said ships would be moved away from Gladstone Harbour this morning as a precaution. "We have about 11 ships in the port and 23 ships at anchor and they'll be asked to clear the area," he said. "We have some LNG tankers also in the area and they'll go to sea to weather the storm."

The Financial Review on 20 February 2015:
Ports in Mackay and Gladstone had been shut down in preparation for the cyclone. Gas company Santos said all of its staff on its GLNG liquefied natural gas project had been moved off Curtis Island, near Gladstone, with workers moved into cyclone-proof accommodation. Bechtel, which has built the three gas processing plants on Curtis Island, said the projects would remain closed until the weather improved.

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