First LNG from coal seams

First LNG from coal seams

In December, the Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG) plant loaded its first cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG), becoming the first LNG project to be supplied by coal-seam gas.

Coal-seam gas, also known as coalbed methane, is natural gas trapped inside coal seams – and is abundant in eastern Australia. Getting that gas out of the ground has required the drilling of more than 2,000 onshore wells, spread across an area of 4,500 square kilometres. Gas is sent to the QCLNG liquefaction facility – on Curtis Island, just off Australia’s east coast – through a 540 kilometre pipeline. There, the gas is chilled to -162°C, becoming a liquid with a vastly reduced volume (LNG occupies 600 times less space than gaseous methane). LNG is then exported to world markets in LNG tankers like the Methane Rita Andrea (inset).

Source: BG Group

QCLNGA few metres of QCLNG’s 540 kilometres of pipeline