Advance Queensland Fellowship supports innovative research into optimising CSG production

29 January 2019

The University of Queensland Centre for Coal Seam Gas (UQ-CCSG) congratulates UQ researcher Dr Christopher Leonardi who was recently awarded a prestigious mid-career Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship.

Dr Christopher Leonardi will be working on important research
into the sustainable enhancement of coal seam gas production

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has highlighted the importance of natural gas as a key transition fuel to achieve international emissions reductions targets. To effect this, supplies of affordable natural gas have to grow. Chris will be working on an important research project focussing on the sustainable enhancement of coal seam gas production in Queensland in a program supported by Centre members Santos, Arrow Energy and Australia Pacific LNG / Origin Energy. 

Dr Leonardi’s research could open up access to large volumes of natural gas that up until now has been too expensive to access. This abundant resource has remained untapped, with current extraction technologies not able to cost effectively access natural gas from areas where the coal structure is too ‘tight’ to allow gas flow to the well.

This project focusses on developing an innovative new technique for enhancing the gas transport and productivity in these coals via the exploitation of natural coal fractures and the novel injection of inert microparticles. This has the potential to reduce both the need for hydraulic fracturing and the associated water requirements, and liberate gas that can be used for domestic consumption or directed to the multi-billion-dollar LNG export industry.

The project is funded by UQ-CCSG, UQ School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering and Advance Queensland, and starts in March 2019. Dr Leonardi, a senior lecturer with UQ’s School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, will be spending a proportion of his time embedded within Origin Energy throughout the fellowship. This presents a valuable opportunity to gain a detailed understanding of the company’s operational processes and the input of industry experts, and assist the translation of outcomes.

The Queensland Government Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships program supports scientists to undertake innovative research that can have a positive impact on Queensland.