So, what is coal seam gas? Quite simply, it’s a natural gas that comes from coal deposits. Methane is found in all different rock types, including shale, sandstones, and of course coal. Coal seam gas is typically found underground, between a depth of 400 to 1000 metres. It can be found as deep as 1200 metres, though. The gas is trapped in those underground coal formations. They are found underneath shallow aquifers and often, are sourced for use in the agricultural industry.
The gas collects in the seams, bonding itself to the coal particles’ surface. The seams are covered with water and this pressure makes the gas a thin film on the coal’s surface. Wells are drilled into coal seams to produce gas. They pump water from the seams and by reducing the pressure release the gas. The majority of coal seam gas in Australia can be found in New South Wales and Queensland.
The industry in Australia has grown rapidly, as a result, it has produced valuable jobs and income. In Queensland, the production of coal seam gas started over two decades ago. Since then, it’s become one of Australia’s mainstays in the energy market. Now? Almost all of the natural gas consumed in Queensland originated from coal seams. It amounts to a third of gas that is used in eastern Australia as well.
Natural gas isn’t just an important fuel. It’s also a valuable component in a variety of industrial processes. It’s often used to make chemicals, plastics, and fertilisers. Additionally, it can be used to fill any gaps in renewable energy generation, when sunshine or wind are lacking. Gas is used to heat water, buildings, and homes, to cook, and so much more.