News

Boost for Gladstone as state lifts ban on oil shale mining

Queensland Energy Resources operations manager Chris Anderson, Environment Minister Andrew Powell, Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps and QER operations superintendent Ray Pascoe at QER's demonstration plant.
Queensland Energy Resources operations manager Chris Anderson, Environment Minister Andrew Powell, Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps and QER operations superintendent Ray Pascoe at QER's demonstration plant.

All about oil shale

A COMPANY with a trial oil shale plant in Gladstone was given a boost on Wednesday, with the State Government  announcing the lifting of a ban on oil shale mining.

Queensland Energy Resources has constructed a small-scale technology demonstration plant in Gladstone, with the company considering the Stuart site of the Yarwun oil shale resource to be an important source of oil for the future.

The lifting of the ban has the potential to create thousands of jobs and provide the State Government with a new revenue stream.

Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps and Environment and Heritage Protection Minister Andrew Powell visited Gladstone to make the announcement - one that isn't expected to be well received by environmentalists.

The oil shale industry has been in limbo since 2008 after a 20-year moratorium was placed over a major deposit in north Queensland.

The industry was told it must prove its technology before the government would give the green light to proceed.

Oil shale is a completely different industry and extraction process to shale gas or shale oil. 

The decision will allow Queensland Energy Resources to progress its trial plant and seek approval for a full commercial operation.

Mr Powell has stressed strict environmental controls would apply to any proposal to mine and process oil shale. 

"To date, there has been extremely limited commercial application of oil shale in Australia and overseas," he said.

"That's why any proposed oil shale development will be subject to detailed environmental assessments on a project-by-project basis.

"We will consider these proposals on their merits and require a trial stage to determine the feasibility and environmental performance of any unproven technologies."

He said the QER pilot plant had successfully demonstrated the viability of its processing technology.

"Under the new policy, existing operator Queensland Energy Resources Ltd will be able to proceed directly to commercial production, but new entrants to the industry will need to prove their oil shale extraction technologies through trials.

"The report into the QER plant demonstrated it operated well within the environmental performance requirements of its environmental authority issued by my department," Mr Powell said.

Mr Cripps said as the world supply of conventional crude oil diminished, there were strong prospects for oil shale to become the next major source of liquid fuel supplies in Australia.

"Queensland is well placed to lead that charge," he said.

"The industry has the potential to create thousands of new jobs in the construction phase alone, and provide royalties and other economic benefits for our regional communities and the broader economy, which is great news for Queensland."

The industry has the potential to create thousands of new jobs in the construction phase alone, and provide royalties and other economic benefits for our regional communities

Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton slammed the decision as "dangerous", Brisbane Times reported.

"This is nothing more than a desperate attempt to prolong the life of the fossil fuel era using dangerous technologies rather than adopt alternative, cleaner and available technologies,'' he said.

"Shale oil is a dirty, bottom-end technology and by giving it the go-ahead, the Newman government is taking Queensland on a course toward making us the Dirty State - certainly not the Smart State.''

In 2010, QER operations manager Chris Anderson told an industry conference oil shale would be a successful technology.

 "The technology works well and you get good oil out of it," Mr Anderson said.

"We need to establish the technology through a pilot plant which is a mini version of a full-scale plant. It will be a very small capacity plant that will produce 47 barrels a day.

"We are not about production and we won't make money from it. The reality is that oil is declining, with Australian oil reserves expected to be only 20 per cent by 2030."

QER is an integrated resources and energy company that holds mining and other tenement rights to several of the largest and potentially most productive oil shale deposits in Australia.

Will the development of another mining industry be good for Gladstone?

This poll ended on 13 March 2013.

Yes. The more the merrier. - 66%

No. There's enough damage being done now. - 27%

Not sure. Time will tell. - 6%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

QER general manager Chris Anderson showcases the company's first bottle of oil from a demonstration plant near Fishermans Lane, Gladstone, in 2011.
QER general manager Chris Anderson showcases the company's first bottle of oil from a demonstration plant near Fishermans Lane, Gladstone, in 2011. Chris Chan


About oil shale:

Sometimes known as 'the rock that burns', oil shale is an organic-rich sedimentary rock containing kerogen, an organic chemical compound that when heated can produce oil.

 It is a completely different industry and extraction process to shale gas or shale oil. 

Hydrocarbons are derived from oil shale that has been mined and then heated in a processing plant.  This process produces vapours which are condensed and converted into synthetic crude oil, and then refined to produce ultra-low sulphur transport fuels.

Oil shale deposits vary considerably in nature and yield around the world. In Australia, the largest deposits are in Queensland, and were formed about 40 million years ago in a freshwater lakes environment.

Total oil reserves in Queensland oil shale deposits total more than 20 billion barrels, while global estimates of oil shale reserves are around three trillion barrels.

When oil shale deposits formed in Central Queensland, sea levels were about 150m lower than present, with the Gladstone region more elevated and about 200km south-west of the coastline as it was then.

Topics:  ban gladstone mining resources shale state government



10 best street art spots to take an Insta selfie

IF YOU are in need of a few trendy new Instagram snaps, then get your phone and selfie-stick ready and head to Brisbane.

Where to find the best coffee

Strauss is known for its superb brew.

COFFEE snobbery is at an all-time high.

Theatre royalty graces Brisbane stage

Don't miss Charles Edwards in this incredible theatre performance.

WHEN acting royalty comes to town, you sit up and take notice.

Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

The Scenic Rim is just one place nearby that you'll love.

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

Gladstone jobs 'at risk' without action against power prices

Coal generic Hay Point Coal Terminal stacker retriver

Change is needed for the state's power prices.

'Bad year': Man guilty of ice supply, underage sex

Tyson Raymond Smith.

HE WAS charged with drug possession, supply and carnal knowledge

The price council is paying for mayor's Adani mega-mine pitch

LOTS OF CASH: Gladstone Regional Council Mayor Matt Burnett and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk discuss the water dividends.

Gladstone mayor Matt Burnett will fight for our region's jobs.

Local Partners

3D printers that make human body parts are almost here

CREATING human body parts with 3D printers seems like something out of a 80s film and it's headed our way.

'I wasn't naked': Blanca Blanco speaks out

Blanca Blanco arriving at the 89th Academy Awards. Picture: Ian West/PA WireSource:AAP

"It was a nude colour, it matches my skin, so I wasn’t naked.''

‘IT’S A LITTLE SAD’: Trump makes Oscars bungle all about him

US President Donald Trump claims Hollywood's elite were too busy mocking him to pay attention on Oscars night.

Donald Trump ‘explains’ Oscars stuff up.

Lama and Sarah’s ‘epic’ MKR fail

My Kitchen Rules contestants Lama and Sarah.

Tempers flare as Lebanese feast turns into an epic fail.

Oscars 2017: How did biggest award get stuffed up?

Presenter Warren Beatty shows the envelope with the actual winner for best picture as host Jimmy Kimmel, left, looks on at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The winner was originally announced as La La Land, but was later corrected to Moonlight.

'Guys in headsets starting buzzing around. They took the envelope.'

Lisa Curry can't marry her fiance

Lisa Curry breaks down in the jungle.

Lisa Curry says she can’t get married to her fiance

The true cause of the Oscars bungle

Faye Dunaway, left, and Warren Beatty present the award for best picture at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

The Oscars ended with a moment that left everyone speechless.

Casino boss loses $4m on waterfront Sunshine Coast home

The owner of this stunning Noosa home accepted much less than he had initially wanted for the home.

When illness struck owner forced to try and cash out of property

Price drop as Gladstone's best suburbs to buy a house revealed

Aerial View overlooking Kin Kora residential area, Gladstone.



Photo Brenda Strong / The Observer

HUGE price drop in a select few Gladstone suburbs reveals best buys.

Loaded Chinese family excited about buying Heron Island

The Heron Island Wedding Expo is set to offer people a great chance to get all the information they need on having a luxurious Heron Island Wedding. Photo Contributed

The long-term future of the resort and improvements were discussed.

Mining homes dive: $600k homes sell for $120k-$300k

18 Yeates Street, Moranbah sold for $135,000 in December, after being repossessed by a bank. The owners bought for $545,000 in August, 2011.

The economy still has two speeds, but with a painful twist

Mackay's property market climbing like a Rocket Man

Renewed confidence in Mackay means more homes are being snapped up by those eager to plant their roots in the region.

There's movement in the real estate sector and it's all positive.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!