Maximising Australia’s gas resource potential
While Western Australian gas resources are plentiful, they possess many unique characteristics that make their development challenging.
Accessing gas found in deeper waters in a commercially viable manner brings with it the need for greater efficiencies – the application of world-leading subsea technologies, the design of equipment that is compact and energy efficient, and the utilisation of optimum processing and low emissions technologies.
WA:ERA scientists and researchers have a competitive edge to develop strong relationships and align research priorities with the needs of companies leading the Western Australian gas industry, through WA:ERA’s geographic proximity to significant gas reserves and the multi-dimensional capacity and expertise delivered through its alliance members.
Curtin scientists possess a diverse suite of capabilities from skills in process intensification, which involves the development of reactors that are smaller, lighter, faster, and more energy efficient, to corrosion and reliability engineering and expertise in computational fluid dynamics.
At UWA, scientists experiment to optimise each and every aspect of the gas processing journey from well-head to plant in the knowledge that small improvements can make large differences particularly in relation to cost and carbon dioxide capture.
CSIRO’s investment in state-of-the-art laboratory and infrastructure for technologies include the nation’s first synthetic fuels research facility, and the hydrates flow loop, Australia’s only gas-dominant flow loop, allowing researchers to investigate methods to prevent flow disruptions in subsea pipelines, particularly blockages from gas hydrate crystals which form at high pressure and low temperature.
“Western Australia’s research capabilities are accelerating rapidly. It is time for us to continue to work together as a State to capitalise on this, develop new ways to add value to the production of our resources, and demonstrate to the rest of the world that we can set a new global standard in gas processing.”
Professor Eric May, Chevron Chair in Gas Process Engineering
Significant advances in drilling and simulation technologies have made gas shale an attractive development prospective in many countries including the US and Canada. WA:ERA has assembled a multi-disciplinary team focussed on establishing a methodology to identify and map unconventional gas resources such as shale gas, in the Perth Basin. The methodology will require geological, geochemical and petrophysical rock properties characterisation and could then be used by drilling companies to optimise drilling locations.
CSIRO has commissioned Australia’s first synthetic fuels research facility. This facility is capable of running unmanned, 24 hours a day, for months at a time, producing syngas from a range of feedstock and providing round the clock industrially significant data. This research aims to lower the capital and operating costs of Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) plants to advance development of a GTL industry in Australia.