THE first drops of oil have been produced from QER's shale oil project at Yarwun.
QER contacted The Observer with the news, confirming it was only a small amount of oil as the company maintains a softly-softly approach to building up its New Fuels Development Centre.
QER site operations manager Chris Anderson said while the first batch of oil was a tiny one, it was a big achievement for the plant.
"It's a really important step for the company, producing our first oil from this new technology," he said.
QER heated oil shale passing down through the Paraho II retort to produce small amounts of oil.
Mindful of community concerns, QER's main message was that the achievement was part of a careful, step-by-step approach the company was taking to commission the new technology's demonstration plant.
"That's our whole approach," Mr Anderson said.
"We want to prove that we can do what we say we are going to do, and then take it from there."
Once the demonstration plant is fully operational, it will produce ultra-low sulphur diesel and aviation fuels for ongoing testing programs in Australia and at research institutes in the United States, and Great Britain.
Mr Anderson said if members of the community wanted to learn more about the process, and how it differed from previous technologies, they should drop in to the QER visitor centre.
"We'd love people to come out and take a look at it," he said.
"It's open and it's here for people to come and have a look at.
"That's what we built it for," Mr Anderson said.
- The Paraho II retort system is a new technology, which QER says uses a vastly different method from that previously used on the site.
- The technology has undergone extensive testing in Colorado.
- QER expects the demonstration plant to be fully operational by the end of the year.
- To view an animated demonstration of how the process works, visit the QER Visitor Centre at 375 Landing Rd, Yarwun, or visit www.qervisitorcentre.com.au/