The purpose of the Centre is to contribute to the sector via research, education as well as independent science and evidence-based advice to stakeholders, e.g. government/regulator, community and industry. In several ways, the advice provided ranges from ad hoc requests from stakeholders by email to more structured involvement of UQ researchers.

Community science updates

The Centre has undertaken briefings, mainly around social performance and groundwater science in numerous events over the last five years, often collaborating with organisations such as AgForce, the Queensland GasFields Commission or the LNG Compliance Unit. These are generally used to update the public in the regions on emerging research insights or on broader matters related to the gas and energy sectors.

Science briefings to regulator staff or advisors

The Centre has held meetings and presentations as research briefings to DEHP, DNRM, DSITIA, Coordinator General and OGIA staff. The Centre also hosted the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development (IESC) to discuss the research program including recent research on well decommissioning in August 2017.

Parliamentary briefings

The Centre has held two Queensland Parliamentary briefings, collaborating with CSIRO/GISERA, which were intended to brief parliamentarians on new science and new insights.

Regulatory advisory bodies

The UQ Centre for Natural Gas Director and Professors have been members of several government advisory groups. This includes as the Queensland Code of Practice for the Construction and Decommissioning of CSG Wells, the Queensland Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate’s Safety & Health (upstream) Stakeholder Engagement Committee, the Queensland Geological Survey’s Exploration Advisory Group, and the Surat Cumulative Management Area Technical Advisory Panel.

Government inquiries

The Centre regularly makes submissions to State and Federal government enquiries.

In recent months, there has been a number of reports released and inquiries underway, which feed into how the nation intends to progress climate and energy policy between now and 2050.

This includes the long-awaited federal government Technology Investment Roadmap discussion paper, the Australian Government response to the Final Report of the Expert Panel examining additional sources of low-cost abatement (‘the King Review’) and the National COVID Commission Committee who are working on a roadmap to recovery.

The Centre is currently working on several formal submissions, focussed on giving practical expert input into the realistic energy mix needed in the transition to a low emissions future, including the role of gas in the long-term decarbonisation of energy supply. Generally speaking our advice is in line with progressing towards the International Energy Agency’s Sustainable Development scenario (World Energy Outlook 2019), with specifics related to our Australian context. Natural gas has four main roles (and an emerging fifth):

  1. It is needed to firm-up deeper penetration of variable renewable energy.
  2. It is needed to substitute for coal-fired power in rapidly growing region.
  3. It is needed to produce nitrogen fertilisers to feed a world population growing at over 80 million people per year.
  4. It is needed as a feedstock for many industrial processes and for heat.
  5. With a longer-range view, when combined with CCS, it may be an important route for hydrogen (for which gas is currently the predominate source).

Some previous submissions (2013-2017) made by the Centre to government are included below:

Contributions to government studies

The majority of the Centre’s work is published in conferences or peer reviewed journal articles. However, there may also be occasional contributions to government reports such as the Commonwealth Government’s Office of Chief Economist, Review of the Socioeconomic Impacts of Coal Seam Gas in Queensland and the Queensland Gas Supply Demand Action Plan.

For more information

If your organisation is interested in knowing more about the advice that we can provide or want to discuss options, please contact Professor Andrew Garnett, Centre Director, at naturalgas@uq.edu.au.