Coal seam gas

Coal seam gas (CSG) is the name given to naturally occurring gas trapped in underground coal seams by water and ground pressure. Coal seams store both gas and water. The water is under pressure from the weight of overlying rock material, holding the gas in place, and when the water pressure is reduced the gas is released. The extraction process (production) involves the drilling of a well into a coal seam and the water being gradually pumped out of the seam, which reduces the pressure and allows the gas to flow through the well to the surface.

There are vast CSG resources spread across Australia’s many coal basins, particularly in the Bowen and Surat Basins in Queensland and New South Wales. It has been commercially produced in Queensland for more than 15 years and generates about 17 per cent of Queensland’s electricity needs.

In South Australia, the Cooper, Pedirka and Arckaringa subregions (part of the Lake Eyre Basin bioregion) are being assessed to improve information about water resources with potential for CSG or coal mining developments. This fieldwork does not signal the beginning of CSG or coal mining development in South Australia. It is about understanding, through scientific research, the potential impacts of CSG and coal mining activities on water resources. By doing this research now, impacts of any future developments can be assessed and avoided or mitigated with confidence and transparency. For more information, visit the Australian Government's CSG website.