Will ‘Unconventional’ Gas Power Up SA?
If what Premier Jay Wetherill says is any indication, the state of South Australia may soon have another key driver of economic growth, energy generation capacity and civil construction activity: ‘unconventional’ sources of gas.
Not long ago, Wetherill told a conference of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) that conventional wisdom dictates that energy production in the Cooper Basin had peaked and entered a period of gradual decline.
Now, he says, ‘unconventional’ sources of gas, such as shale gas and coal seam gas (CSG), have changed all this.
“We now know that, with new techniques, there is far more gas available from other levels of the basin than has yet been extracted,” Weatherill says. “Even in its infancy, the unconventional gas sector has the potential to deliver hundreds of millions, if not billions, of investment dollars to this state.”
According to a ‘roadmap’ for unconventional gas projects released by the state government, ‘unconventional ‘ sources of gas include coal seam gas (CSG), basin-centred gas, shale gas, gashydrate, natural bitumen (tar sands), and oil shale deposits.
Typically, deposits exist in petroleum accumulations that are pervasive throughout a large area and are not significantly affected by hydrodynamic influences. Such accumulations usually require specialised extraction technology and the extracted petroleum may require significant processing prior to sale.
In other parts of Australia and overseas, these types of unconventional gas sources are generating enormous volumes of exploration activity. In Canada, for instance much excitement surrounds long term prospects regarding oil derived from tar sands, while in America, companies such as BHP Billiton are investing tens of billions of dollars exploring shale gas deposits....