The University of Queensland has announced a research project measuring the impact of the coal seam gas (GSG) industry on Australia’s underground water supplies.


The research undertaking has been announced as one of the initial projects at UQ’s new Centre for Coal Seam Gas, and will see researchers analyse underground water chemistry to improve conceptualisation and numerical modelling of the impact of the CSG industry on aquifers over three years.


“Incorporation of water chemistry data that is held by CSG companies into a unified database will greatly extend understanding of basin hydrology, aquifer interactions and processes controlling the water chemistry,” said lead researcher Associate Professor Sue Vink.

“The project will result in publicly available databases that identify health and environmental risk indicators, provide a baseline for assessing aquifer connectivity, and guide water re-use, treatment and re-injection options,” she said.


In two more technically-focused projects, researchers will improve understanding of coal permeability and stimulation methods, including hydraulic fracturing, permitting better gas recovery, and establish how unwanted solid particles resulting from drilling and well operation can be reduced.


“It's important we research and understand these processes so we can improve operations through the application of our findings,” said UQ engineering researcher Professor Victor Rudolph.