Coal Seam Gas (CSG)

Santos is one of the CSG industry’s most experienced operators. The Company’s Scotia-3 well in Queensland, drilled in 1996, was the first well drilled to test the late Permian CSG play. Our Scotia CSG plant commenced production in 2002.

Today Santos’ acreage in Australia covers approximately 200,000km. Santos’ extensive CSG resources in the Surat/Bowen Basins near Fairview and Injune in Queensland will supply the GLNG project, one of three new Australian CSG to- LNG plants exporting to Asian markets. The company also has strong CSG prospects in the Gunnedah Basin in New South Wales.

Santos recognises that its success depends on maintaining healthy relationships with local landholders. Santos currently has 700 agreements with landholders in SA, NT, QLD and NSW, and a recent survey has shown that nine out of 10 landholders would welcome us back on their land.

Coal seam gas (CSG) is natural gas mainly composed of methane, the odourless and colourless gas used in homes and businesses.

CSG collects in underground coal seams formed over tens of millions of years from compressed organic material. The naturally occurring coal seam gas bonds to the surface of coal particles.

A combination of water and ground pressure traps the gas in fractures of underground coal seams, typically 200 to 1,000 metres below the surface.

Benefits of CSG

With over 30% of eastern Australia’s gas currently coming from coal seams, it’s likely you are already using CSG.

CSG’s benefits go beyond its use as a fuel. The CSG industry has created jobs and local business opportunities in regional Australia, helping revitalise communities and reversing the migration of youth to urban areas. For instance, in Roma Queensland, where the CSG industry has been active for nearly 20 years, the local economy grew 120% from 2006 to 2011.

Where is CSG found?

Australia’s major coal resources are in a number of basins – the Bowen and Surat in Queensland, the Gunnedah, Gloucester and Sydney in New South Wales and the Clarence-Moreton Basin on the border between those two States.

To build a picture of the coal resource in a particular location, we use special trucks that bounce seismic waves underground to determine the depth and thickness of coal seams.

If we think there is likely to be a commercial quantity of CSG, we drill test wells.


CSG Reserves Dec 2013


How do you produce CSG?

CSG was first produced in Australia during the early days of coal mining. It was extracted at the Sydney Harbour Colliery in Balmain from the early 1900s and sold as an industrial and motor fuel, with production peaking in 1944.

Modern CSG production has been occurring safely and sustainably in central Queensland since 1996 and in south-western Sydney for over 10 years.

To produce CSG, we drill wells underground into the coal seams. These wells are surrounded by steel and concrete to ensure they are separate from other underground layers, such as water aquifers. Then we remove the salty water that is trapping the gas in the coal seam. This water is sent for treatment and reuse.

The gas is then pumped through a network of pipes to stations where it is compressed, purified and sent on to customers.

Sometimes we need to use a process called hydraulic fracturing to release more gas from a well. This involves pumping a mixture of water, sand and small quantities of chemicals into the coal seam at pressure to fracture it.

The water and chemicals are then pumped out and the sand remains in the coal seam, holding open the fractures to allow more gas to be released.


How do you produce CSG diagram

Coal seam gas (CSG) is natural gas mainly composed of methane, the odourless and colourless gas used in homes and businesses.

Natural gas from coal seams is used in exactly the same way as other natural gas, for cooking, heating, electricity production and to make products such as fertilisers.


CSG is natural gas, generally 95-97% pure methane.
CSG has been with us since Australia’s coal mining industry began over 100 years ago.

GLNG - Journey of natural gas

Sanctioned in 2011, GLNG involves the long-term development of natural gas resources in Queensland. 

A 420-kilometre underground gas transmission pipeline to Gladstone and two LNG trains with a combined nameplate capacity of 7.8 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) on Curtis Island.

Learn more