A strong export market is predicted to force up local gas prices.
A strong export market is predicted to force up local gas prices. Contributed

Chinchilla's coal seam gas ready to roll out to the world

THE world-first delivery of coal seam gas from the Chinchilla region to the rest of the world is expected in just days.

All eyes are firmly on Gladstone Harbour as QGC anticipates loading its first shipment of liquefied natural gas before the end of the year.

QGC's Queensland Curtis LNG plant will be the world's first project to turn natural gas from coal seams in the Surat Basin into liquefied natural gas.

A QGC spokesman said the LNG would be carried in one of the company's specially-designed LNG ships, the Methane Rita Andrea, which is currently at the Fairway Buoy, off Gladstone.

Mechanical testing of the facility is now complete and Train 1 and the storage tanks are being cooled, ready to produce and store sales LNG.

This is done by cooling the gas to -162 degrees Celsius.

The process reduces the gas by about 600 times its original volume, making it easier to transport economically over vast distances.

"There remains work to do, but we are on schedule to start loading LNG into the first ship to carry a cargo from Curtis Island," the spokesman said.

The product, from QCLNG, will be exported via ship to Chile, China, Japan and Singapore.

It has taken a little more than four years for the company to reach the project's operational stage.

This has involved expanding QGC's gas production in the Surat Basin, building and connecting a 540km pipeline from the gas fields to Curtis Island and constructing the LNG plant.

QGC's parent company BG Group this month entered an agreement to sell that pipeline for $5 billion.

Preparation for safe operations at the plant has included the delivery of a $1.1 million fire truck that is specially designed for industrial facilities.

While QGC is first off the block, Australian-owned Santos GLNG is expected to deliver its first LNG shipment in the second half of next year, along with Australia Pacific LNG.