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April 16 - 22, 2010
activity is set to fall 6 per
cent next financial year,
which is expected to
lead to a decline in total
according to a report by
in Australia, 2009/10 --
2023/24, says the decline
will be apparent as a
current round of large
transport, water and
resources projects are
for BIS Shrapnel s
mining unit Adrian
Hart said that while civil
construction will remain
at high levels, a decline
will be hard to avoid in
"Even given a ramping
up of work on various
projects, there will still
be negative growth for
the sector," Mr Hart said.
"The decline can
be attributed to a
a general decline in
occurred through much
of 2009, with the notable
exception of the Gorgon
LNG project, and a likely
easing in public sector
The report says that
despite the impact of the
global financial crisis in
2008, civil construction
grew 15 per cent in real
terms through 2009,
according to Australian
Bureau of Statistics
Mr Hart warned the
next cycle -- a new engi-
boom -- was unlikely to
occur for some time.
"It is unlikely that
growth in engineering
over the next decade
will be anywhere near
as strong as the last five
years," he said.
activity tipped to fall
access to Petroleum Exploration
Licences (PELs) and Exploration
Licences (ELs) in the Arckaringa
and Walloway Basins," he said.
"UCG is an evolving technology
and has required significant
research and development by Linc
Energy to convert UCG synthesis
gas (syngas) into liquid fuels.
"Our Chinchilla plant is the
only one of its kind in the world
and includes new generation UCG
trial generators, a fully operational
GTL pilot plant and a specialised
laboratory to analyse and monitor
the gas-to-liquid technology around
The company s plan is to fast
track the commissioning of a
modest-sized UCG commercial
facility at Orroroo to confirm the
suitability of the resources for low-
cost synthesis gas production that
can be used for power generation.
Locals have been told the plan
is for a 20-30mW plant with a long
term plan for a 500mW power
The site is ideally located just
40km from 275kV transmission
lines and 75 minutes by road from
When Mr Bond made the
announcement at the end of 2009
he commented that "these initial
drilling results are fantastic and
confirm my belief that the coal in
this area has all the attributes we
are looking for in our first com-
mercial USG site."
"By that I mean great coal, at
ideal depth, excellent coal seam
thickness, good geology and flat
"This deposit can support
significant production of low-cost
synthesis gas for power generation
and synthetic fuels GTL production
for a generation or more."
The synthesised fuels he refers to
include diesel and jet fuels.
State Minister for Mineral
Resources Development Paul
Holloway confirmed he has
travelled to Chinchilla to inspect
first-hand the company s progress
in developing its projects in
Queensland s Surat Basin.
"The next stage of the process
is for Linc Energy to consult with
relevant government agencies," Mr
"The decision by Linc Energy
to develop its first commercial
underground coal gasification
in South Australia s Walloway
Basin is great news for the State s
"Linc Energy s investment
confirms South Australia s
supportive policies can not only
lure explorers, but can also ensure
the crucial follow-up investment
into mine construction, support
services and technological develop-
ment," he said.
Peter Bond said his company
has been able to meet government
requirements: "A range of mining
and exploration licences, govern-
ment, environmental and regulatory
approvals were required to get us to
this point and more will be required
as we move towards commercialisa-
tion especially in areas such as
generating power and connection to
the transmission system.
"We currently have two rigs in
the Walloway Basin. One is focused
on appraising and defining the coal
resource and further assessing
the overburden and the second is
focused on drilling piezometer wells
to gather baseline hydro-geological
information for the UCG team to
prepare for the environmental
submissions for our first UCG trial
Mr Bond also outlined the
"A pre-production stage referred
to as UCG Generator 5 is targeted to
commence operations by the end of
2010," he said.
"This will involve the construc-
tion and operation of one UCG
gas generator designed to provide
us with site-specific gasification
experience and provide engineering
and environmental data to support
the commercial project inputs for
"Stage 2 involves the production
of up to 15PJ/annum of gas for
a significant power generation
project in the region of 250mW.
"Based on various market
studies, commercial arrangements
and project approvals, we should be
in a position to make an investment
decision on the project in the final
quarter of 2010.
"The final stage will involve an
expansion of gas production to
support a large synthetic fuel (GTL)
facility and this is likely to occur
within the next three years.
"Linc Energy is currently in
the final stages of completing a
conceptual engineering study for
a 20,000 barrel per day GTL facility
at Orroroo and I hope to see that
report shortly for the indicative
information on scope, production
outputs, capital and operating costs
for this facility."
Meanwhile, in Orroroo, they re
taking it "one step at a time", but
as Iian Wilson tells it, the impact is
right across the community.
"Let s say they start with the
smaller version of the power plant
and 30 families move into town.
"There s the economic activity of
those families and the people who
services their needs," Mr Wilson
"That s five more footy players
for the club, five more netballers, a
nurse a doctor and a copper.
"And the kids at school start to
think about becoming engineers
and maybe staying longer at school
to get their qualifications.
"Don t underestimate the impact
this will have.
"We could be the epicentre of
It s already tight at Orroroo.
"There s more work than you can
poke a stick at," Mr Wilson said.
"If you re looking for work, you ll
"You name it, we need it:
boilermakers, welders, shearers,
fencers, plumbers and cooks."
Even the real estate is on the up
with median house prices in the
town rising from $110,000 two years
ago to $160,000.
The missing Linc for SA energy
1 Vertical wells are drilled into
the coal seam. These are linked
together horizontally by drilling or
2 The coal seam is ignited and air
or oxygen is pumped into a well (the
injection well) to drive coal combus-
tion and gasification.
3 Through partial combustion and
a series of subsequent reactions
controlled by heat, pressure and
water influx, the coal is converted to
4 When coal combustion occurs,
heat and carbon dioxide are
produced. These become active in
some of the gasification reactions.
5 Syngas flows from the gasification
chamber through the horizontal
connection in the coal seam and
flows to the surface through another
well (called the production well).
HOW IT WORKS
In its simplest form, UCG works like this:
A Linc Energy worker at Undergound Coal Gasification plant.
From page 13
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