Australian Water Treatment Plant Named Industrial Water Project of the Year

Water treatment plant at QGC’s coal seam gas extraction site receives honor at global water awards. The northern water treatment plant, built by GE and Laing O’rourke, treats 100,000 cubic meters of water per day.

QGC’s water treatment plant at its northern coal seam gas fields near Wandoan in Queensland, Australia, was named Industrial Water Project of the Year at the annual Global Water Awards. The award represents the most impressive technical or environmental achievement in the field of industrial water.

Commissioned in May 2015, QGC’s Northern Water Treatment Plant purifies 100,000 cubic meters per day of produced water from the coal seam gas fields, and the treated water is beneficially reused by the local communities and farmers. An alliance between GE and Laing O’Rourke Australia designed and built the water treatment plant.

QGC’s Northern Water Treatment Plant is the largest of a trio of produced water treatment plants that treat saline water produced as part of the coal seam gas extraction process. 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, which must be treated in an environmentally responsible manner. The water treatment plant uses GE’s advanced water treatment technologies including ZeeWeed submerged ultrafiltration, ion exchange and three-stage reverse osmosis followed by brine concentration. Ninety-seven percent of the water is recovered for beneficial use.

Due to the plant’s remote location, it was imperative to utilize the latest off-site construction techniques to streamline the construction process and minimize the impact on the local environment. The pipe racks were modularized and manufactured to allow a “plug-and-play” approach using a pre-defined installation sequence and were trucked in according to carefully timed transport envelopes, limiting the need for police escorts and pilot vehicles. Meanwhile, the three, 120-tonne brine concentrators were manufactured off-site in New Zealand before being shipped in one piece to Brisbane, trucked to the site and installed using one of the largest mobile cranes in Australia.

QGC, a BG Group business owned by Royal Dutch Shell, 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.

“Congratulations to QGC on winning the prestigious Industrial Water Project of the Year award for the Northern Water Treatment Plant. GE is proud to have been a part of this project from design through commissioning,” said Heiner Markhoff, president and CEO—water and distributed power for GE Power.

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