Environmental Protection

Water Treatment Plant Will Desalinate Byproducts of Coal Seam Gas Extraction

QGC is developing one of Australia’s largest capital infrastructure projects to turn Queensland’s abundant coal seam gas reserves into liquefied natural gas.

QGC, an Australian coal seam gas-explorer and -producer, has signed a contract with a consortium of GE and Laing O’Rourke for the construction of a water treatment plant in southwest Queensland that will support the region’s rapidly growing coal seam gas industry.

Coal seam gas is a form of natural gas trapped in coal beds by water and ground pressure. High-salinity water is produced as part of coal seam gas extraction and must be treated in an environmentally responsible manner.

The new Kenya Water Treatment Plant will use GE’s membrane and thermal water treatment technologies to desalinate water produced during the extraction of gas from the coal seams. This process will produce water suitable for reuse in a variety of applications, such as irrigation for farmers and process water for industrial customers. The facility, to be built near the town of Chinchilla about 290 kilometers west of Brisbane, will have the capacity to treat up to 72 million liters per day.

QGC is developing one of Australia’s largest capital infrastructure projects to turn Queensland’s abundant coal seam gas reserves into liquefied natural gas (LNG). Rising global demand for energy and the increasing pressure for cleaner fuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are spurring the development of Queensland’s LNG industry, using coal seam gas as the feedstock.

“GE will provide the technical expertise and the process equipment for the project, while we will bring our design experience and construction skills to the job,” said Stephen Wilson, infrastructure general manager for Laing O’Rourke. “Our engineering expertise, complementing GE’s expertise, was critical in securing the contract.”

“Advanced treatment processes will enable the Kenya Water Treatment Plant to convert coal seam gas water to a quality suitable for beneficial reuse. This supports both QGC’s objectives and the Australian government’s water management policy for this growth industry,” said Heiner Markhoff, president and CEO of water and process technologies for GE Power & Water.

The new water treatment facility will feature its own power-generation plant, which will be powered by coal seam methane. The project builds on an existing relationship between GE and Laing O’Rourke; the two companies worked together on the recently completed Darling Downs Power Station, the largest combined-cycle power station in Australia.

The Kenya Water Treatment Plant is expected to begin commercial operation in the final quarter of 2011.


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