2.3.4 Baseline and coal resource development pathway


There was no coal or coal seam gas (CSG) (i.e. CSG-only, not associated with other hydrocarbon) production occurring in the Cooper subregion as of December 2012. As a result, the baseline coal resource development (baseline) for the subregion does not have any coal resource developments.

As of early 2016, the only potential coal resource considered likely to proceed to production is the Southern Cooper Basin Gas Project, in the Weena Trough. Coal seams in the Patchawarra Formation of the geological Cooper Basin at depths of around 1900 to 2100 m are production targets at this prospect. This potential CSG project is estimated to contain a prospective resource of 7375 petajoules (PJ), and is currently undergoing production testing.

It is anticipated that the project will enter full production sometime during 2020 or 2021, with a reported production life of 20 years.

The Southern Cooper Basin Gas Project is located within the Far North Prescribed Wells Area (FNPWA) in SA. Groundwater in the FNPWA is managed under a water allocation plan (the Far North Water Allocation Plan, FNWAP). In addition to the allocated volume for petroleum activities, the FNWAP also sets limits for drawdown effects at springs and at the SA border. Predicted drawdown must not exceed 1 m at the boundary of the Southwest Springs Zone, and must not exceed 0.5 m at a distance of 5 km from any individual spring.

In addition, drawdown in excess of 10% of the pressure head at a state border is a trigger for consultation with the potentially-affected state.

Full scale field development in the Southern Cooper Basin Gas Project will require a separate environmental assessment and approval under relevant legislation, additional to that which exists for the exploratory and testing operations. Water for drilling and stimulation activities for the Southern Cooper Basin Gas Project will be sourced from shallow bores adjacent to the well site, or trucked in. Produced water will be stored in lined ponds. Pond size is dependent on predicted water production rate, predicted total produced water volumes, evaporation rates and site constraints. Ponds will be constructed according to standard Cooper Basin construction methods. Excavation and bunding will be used to elevate pond walls above ground level. Ponds will be located on existing disturbed areas as far as practicable. Impermeable liners will be installed in ponds where required. Depending on operational parameters, these water management options may not be utilised.

At the completion of operations, after pond water has evaporated or been pumped out, the liner and any salt residue will be removed and disposed to an appropriately licensed facility, the ponds will be backfilled and re-profiled to match pre-existing surface contours, and the surface will be ripped to promote revegetation.

Data collected during production testing have shown that water production rates are in the order of 30 to 85 kL/day per well.

Last updated:
31 October 2018