The pipeline industry in both Queensland and New South Wales is booming with the successful production of coal seam gas.


Over the last five years, coal seam gas (CSG) production has increased from 1 PJ in 1996 to 139 PJ in 2008. It accounts for over 10 per cent of total gas consumption in Australia and 30 per cent of eastern states’ consumption.

Pipelines are needed to continue the development of this resource – as collectors between CSG wells, to transport product to processing sites, and in some cases, to port side for liquefaction and export.

“The new CSG-to-LNG projects, in addition to other major LNG projects currently under development, have the potential to move Australia from the fourth largest exporter of LNG in the world to second by 2015,” said a Federal Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism spokesperson.

Although CSG has been successfully extracted in Western Australia and Victoria, the CSG in Queensland and New South Wales has been found to be more commercially viable. To support the burgeoning CSG industry in these areas, many exciting pipeline projects have been proposed.


BG Group subsidiary QGC’s Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG) Project involves an onshore CSG-to-LNG production and export facility on the Queensland coast. It will have an initial production capacity of 8.5 MMt/a of LNG from two trains, with provision for a third train.

The project includes a 334 km, 1,067mm diameter export pipeline, which will connect QGC’s Surat Basin tenements to a port site. It will also include a 194 km gas collection header pipeline to collect gas from centralised compressor facilities for delivery to the export pipeline, a 12 km pipeline crossing The Narrows from the mainland to Curtis Island, and a 13 km lateral.

The export pipeline will have a capacity of 1,360 MMcf/d of LNG and be constructed with API 5L X70 steel with a dual layer fusion-bonded epoxy coating (FBE). Engineering, procurement and construction has been awarded to a joint venture between McConnell Dowell and Consolidated Contracting Company Australia (MCJV) with line pipe supplied by Howa Trading. Mechanical completion is expected in 2012 with commissioning of LNG planned for the third quarter of 2013 and LNG production to commence in 2014.

A joint venture between Origin Energy, ConocoPhillips and Sinopec is currently planning and designing the Australian Pacific LNG (APLNG) Project, a four-train CSG-to-LNG development which will produce up to 18 MMt/a of LNG at a processing plant, to be located at Laird Point on Curtis Island.

A 360 km, 1,066 mm diameter gas transmission pipeline with a capacity of 1,250 TJ/d will transport gas from Origin’s CSG reserves in the Surat and Bowen basins to the LNG plant. Two laterals will branch from the mainline: the 75 km, 914 mm diameter Condabri Lateral and the 87 km, 762 mm diameter Woleebee Lateral.

MCJV has been contracted for the design, engineering, procurement and construction of the pipelines. Construction is expected to begin in mid-2012 with completion planned for early 2014.

Construction has begun on both the plant and mainland sites for the GLNG Project. The plant is located at Curtis Island, Gladstone, and will have two trains producing 7.8 MMt/a of LNG once complete, with space at the site for three more trains. Initial production is expected to be 3-4 MMt/a, with a maximum potential production of 10 MMt/a of LNG. Joint venture partners Santos, Petronas, Total and Korea Gas have contracted Saipem for pipeline construction.

The project includes a 435 km, 910 mm diameter gas transmission pipeline which links a compression station in Santos’ Fairview and Roma CSG fields in the Surat Basin to the LNG facility. Gas will also be sourced from the Bowen Basin.

The GLNG pipeline is expected to run parallel to Jemena’s Queensland Gas Pipeline route from the northern end of the Arcadia Valley to Gladstone, crossing Port Curtis between Friend Point (on the mainland) and Laird Point (on Curtis Island).

Construction is due to commence this year, with first LNG export expected in 2015.

Arrow Energy, which is owned by a 50-50 joint venture between Shell and PetroChina, has submitted an initial advice statement to the Queensland Government for the 600 km Arrow Bowen Pipeline as part of its Arrow LNG Project. The company is currently progressing detailed environmental, social and economic impact studies.

The pipeline will transfer CSG from its Bowen Basin tenements at a point 80 km north of Moranbah, to a proposed LNG facility to be located at Curtis Island, which is expected to produce up to 16MMt/a of LNG through up to four trains. Arrow aims to submit an environmental impact statement in late 2011 or early 2012. The diameter and capacity of the pipeline, as well as a timeline for selecting its contractors and suppliers, is yet to be finalised.

The Arrow Surat Pipeline (formerly Surat to Gladstone Pipeline) will also supply Arrow’s LNG project with CSG from the company’s Surat Basin operations. The 
470 km pipeline will be constructed from X70 steel with a dual layer FBE (2FBE) or three layer polyethylene (3LPE) coating, and is likely to have a 660 mm diameter. Front-end engineering and design (FEED) has been completed by GHD with construction anticipated to commence in 2014 and first gas in 2016.

Arrow Energy has also proposed the 440 km Central Queensland Gas Pipeline in a joint venture with AGL Energy, following the success of the North Queensland Gas Pipeline. The pipeline will run from Moranbah to Gladstone and connect into the national pipeline grid as well as to the Gladstone “˜Fisherman’s Landing’ LNG Project. It will have metering stations at Gladstone City Gate and Fisherman’s Landing, and be constructed with X70 steel with a 2FBE or 3LPE coating.

In February 2011, the Queensland Government granted LNG Limited subsidiary Gladstone LNG Pty Ltd environmental approval to construct the 21 km pipeline for its 3 MMt/a Gladstone “˜Fisherman’s Landing’ Project.

The following month, the company made further progress, receiving a petroleum facility licence from the Queensland Government and signing a pre-FEED study agreement with Jemena. The study will evaluate the potential for the Queensland Gas Pipeline (QGP) to transport gas to the project from the Wallumbilla gas hub to the Callide gas hub in Gladstone. The pipeline is expected to initially supply 520 TJ/d, but is designed for additional gas supply capacity.

In addition to the pipeline, the project involves construction of a two-train 3MMt/a LNG plant at Fisherman’s Landing in the Port of Gladstone.

Epic Energy has undertaken a looping project it has dubbed QSN 3, which duplicates both the South West Queensland Pipeline and the QSN Link. QSN 3 will involve 935 km of 450 mm diameter looping made of API 5L X70 PSL2 steel with a 2FBE coating. The looped pipe will have a capacity of 380 TJ/d.

FEED for the looping has been contracted to WorleyParsons, with looping construction contracted to Nacap. Compression FEED and construction for compression has been awarded to Zektin and Enerflex respectively. MITO is supplying line pipe for the project.

Construction began in July 2010, and the project is due to be completed in December 2011 and commissioned in January 2012. Over 80 per cent of the pipe has been delivered to the right-of-way stockpiles and all three compressor units have arrived in Australia. All approvals and consents for the project have been obtained.

Design work for the 825 km Queensland Hunter Gas Pipeline (QHGP), which was proposed to transport CSG collected in southern Queensland gas fields near Wallumbilla to Newcastle, NSW, is in hiatus. Consultation with government, landholders and the public as well as some other activities are still proceeding, but design work will not resume until gas transportation contracts have been finalised.

Finances for the pipeline fell short after a foundational agreement to transport 50 PJ/a of gas for 20 years to Chinchilla was rescinded, following QGC’s decision to cancel its 400-600 MW power station.

The 500 mm diameter pipeline will use API 5L X65 or X70 steel with a FBE or high density polyethylene (PE) coating and will have a 85 PJ/a capacity, with the possibility to be increased to 160 PJ/a or more. URS has been contracted for FEED with completion expected in 2014.

The 37 km, 500 mm diameter Hunter Gas Pipeline is a lateral of the QHGP. As with the QHGP mainline, public, landholder and government consultation and other activities are still moving forward but, design work for the pipeline has been placed on hiatus.

The pipeline will connect the gas network at Seahampton to the Hunter Economic Zone (HEZ), Weston Aluminium and Rutherford, interconnecting with the QHGP at Rutherford. It will have a steel grade of API 5L X70 and either a FBE or tri-laminate coating.

The project is being privately funded by a joint venture between Weston Aluminium and HEZ majority investor Hardie Holdings.

Design work and the rest of the project program will resume when gas transportation contracts have been finalised. Construction is scheduled to commence in 2012 and be completed in 2013.

Bow Energy has commenced the environmental impact study for its proposed 257 km, 610 mm diameter Blackwater to Gladstone Pipeline, with study completion expected by the end of 2011. The pipeline, which will have a capacity of 100 PJ/a, will transport gas from the Norwich Park and Blackwater CSG fields in the Bowen Basin to Gladstone, passing through Rockhampton.

New South Wales

Eastern Star Gas (ESG) has selected a preferred route and is currently in the process of securing approvals and land access arrangements for its 272 km Narrabri to Wellington Pipeline. The pipeline will transport gas from ESG’s CSG tenements near Narrabri to the company’s proposed gas-fired power station in Wellington, NSW. The pipeline is expected to be completed by 2013.

Approvals and land access arrangements are currently underway for Eastern Star Gas’ proposed LNG export project in Newcastle. The LNG Newcastle Project will involve a 400 km pipeline with a capacity of up to 150 PJ/a, which will supply CSG from Narrabri to a proposed LNG plant to be located on Kooragang Island. First LNG export is scheduled for 2015.

Macquarie Generation’s 76 km, 500mm diameter Liddell Pipeline will be constructed in two sections. The east-west component consists of a 25 km pipeline from Liddell Power Station to the Mt Arthur coal mine. The remaining 51 km makes up the north-south component, stretching from the CSG mines in the Hunter Valley to the Liddell Power Station.

The pipeline aims to reduce methane gas emissions from these mines. Macquarie has said that the project has the potential to eliminate up to 41 MMt of greenhouse gas by 2020.

The pipeline will be made from PE or fibreglass pipe and is estimated to take five months to complete. No contractors have been appointed and a planned completion date is yet to be determined.

AGL is currently engaged in route selection and refinement for its Stratford to Hexham Pipeline. The pipeline is associated with AGL’s Gloucester Gas Project which will commercialise CSG reserves in the Gloucester Basin. The pipeline is expected to be either 95 km or 100 km in length with a diameter ranging from 245-457 mm.

Metgasco is currently investigating any potential environmental impacts from the construction and operation of its Lions Way Pipeline. The 145 km pipeline will run between its gas field in Casino, NSW, and Ipswich, Queensland, to supply gas to the company’s Clarence Moreton Basin partner, CS Energy.

Metgasco has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BP Australia to conduct feasibility studies for the extension of a pipeline to the company’s refinery facilities at the Port of Brisbane. The MoU covers the supply of CSG, in excess of 15 PJ/a from Metgasco’s Clarence Moreton Basin operations to BP.

In addition, Metgasco has entered into a MoU to study the feasibility of gas supply to LNG Limited’s Gladstone “˜Fisherman’s Landing’ LNG Project. This would see the pipeline extended to the Port of Gladstone. Construction is expected to commence in 2012.

CSG impacts on Australia

With the many CSG-to-LNG projects proposed in Queensland, there is great potential for international gas export from Australia. First exports from the port of Gladstone are expected within the next three to four years, and this would not be possible without the construction of substantial pipeline infrastructure. In NSW, a number of CSG projects are in progress to ensure domestic gas supply for the area.

There is also enormous potential for new jobs to be created. This will be both a challenge and an opportunity for the pipelines industry; as many pipeline projects are scheduled to commence at the same time, the country is currently facing a skilled worker shortage. However, with training initiatives being developed and promoted by industry associations such as APIA, the pipelines industry has shown it is ready to take on the challenge.