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Deal with the challenges of coal seam gas produced water

Effective environmental management systems (EMS) and robust planning are critical to unlocking the challenges of produced water management from coal seam gas (CSG) operations

That was the message delivered by CSG services company Wood Group Wagners at the APPEA CSG conference in Brisbane, today (Wednesday, October 10).

Wood Group Wagners (WGW) delivered a presentation at Australia’s inaugural APPEA CSG conference & exhibition to share the many success stories and lessons learned from more than a decade of delivering operations and water management services to CSG operators in the prolific Powder River Basin of Wyoming, USA – a landscape rich in wildlife and ranching tradition.

The presentation titled: ‘A billion barrels later – meeting the challenge of CSG produced water management’ was delivered by Steve Szmyd (pictured above), Health Safety and Environment Manager for WGW parent company, Wood Group PSN in the US.

Szmyd said: “The true value of an EMS is that it enables organisations to put written environmental policy into action.

"The environment in the Powder River Basin is not too dissimilar to that of the CSG landscapes in Australia.

"Both are rural and semi-arid, with similar farming infrastructure and weather-related challenges which impact land accessibility – whether it is the wet season in Queensland or deep winter in Wyoming.

"The regulatory frameworks for environmental management and planning are also quite similar.

“Although various water management options are available – such as irrigation and livestock watering – the ultimate decision should not be based exclusively on economics.

"Operators should consider a multitude of options and keep as many of these open as possible – particularly in Australia, where the volume of water produced is very difficult to predict.

"Flexibility in design of CSG infrastructure will enable operators to adapt quickly to different challenges and contexts.    

Steve concluded: “Planning the entire life cycle of a CSG project from permitting to reclamation is key. Engage and build strong and open relationships with all stakeholders.

"Involve soil scientists, environmental scientists, agronomists, biologists, hydro geologists – keep data available and credible.

"Perform self-assessments so that audits become exercise of verification. Most importantly, be honest and do the right thing.”

Based in Brisbane, Wood Group Wagners (WGW) was formed in 2010 and brings together Wood Group PSN (WGPSN), a global provider of brownfield energy services and Wagners, a Queensland materials and mining services company.

WGW provides Australia’s coal seam gas (CSG) industry with entire CSG project services from front end and detailed design through to construction and maintenance services.

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