Ironbark Project Pipeline

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

The Ironbark Project Pipeline is a proposed natural gas pipeline.[1]


The pipeline would run from the proposed Ironbark CSG facility near Dalby, Queensland to the Darling Downs Pipeline in Queensland.

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Project Details

  • Operator: Origin Energy
  • Owner: Origin Energy
  • Current Capacity:
  • Proposed Capacity: 140 terajoules per day (129.5 million cubic feet per day)
  • Length: 20 Miles / 32 kilometers
  • Status: Proposed
  • Start Year: 2021


The pipeline would be built to carry coal seam gas (CSG) from Origin Energy's proposed Ironbark CSG Project in Queensland.[1] In February 2018 Origin Energy downgraded the value of its Ironbark CSG Field by A$514 million to A$279 million. Origin purchased the field from CSG speculator Paul Fudge for A$655 million in 2009.[2] According to oil and gas analyst Saul Kavonic, "Ironbark is a relatively small gas resource and suffers from varying coal depth and quality changes across the acreage. Like the rest of the CSG acreage experience, the rocks are unlikely to produce anywhere near the levels envisaged a decade ago. Despite high gas prices, the economics for Ironbark still look poor."[2]

In May 2019 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approved the purchase of the Ironbark CSG project from Origin by Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG).[3]

Coal Seam Gas

Coal seam gas is found in coal seams, where underground water pressure keeps it contained. Pumping water out of the coal seam releases this pressure and allows gas to escape from the coal into a well.[4] Coal seam gas wells produce large volumes of water (averaging 10,000 litres of water per day per well in Queensland). This water can contain salt and other contaminants that exist normally in coal seams in varying concentrations.[4]

According to the environmental group Lock The Gate Alliance, the impacts of coal seam gas mining include "encroachment on good farming land, disruption of other land uses and industries, clearing of bushland, air pollution, contamination or depletion of ground or surface water, pollution of waterways, health impacts on workers and nearby residents, and damage to biodiversity."[5]

The practice also raises concerns about global warming because methane is a relatively potent greenhouse gas with a high global warming potential 72 times that of carbon dioxide (averaged over 20 years) or 25 times that of carbon dioxide (averaged over 100 years), according to the IPCC's Third Assessment Report.[6] (Note that the global warming potential of methane was estimated at 21 times that of carbon dioxide, averaged over 100 years, in the IPCC Second Assessment Report, and the 21 figure is currently used for regulatory purposes in the United States.[7]) Methane in the atmosphere is eventually oxidized, producing carbon dioxide and water. This breakdown accounts for the decline in the global warming potential of methane over longer periods of time.

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 2016 Gas Statement Of Opportunities, Australian Energy Market Operator, March 2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 Origin takes $700m bath on gas assets, Sydney Morning Herald, Feb. 8, 2018
  3. Origin Energy : APLNG's acquisition of Origin's Ironbark project not opposed, Market Screener, May 22, 2019
  4. 4.0 4.1 The coal seam gas debate, Parliament of Australia, accessed February 2018
  5. Unconventional Gas Facts: About Coal Seam Gas, Lock The Gate Alliance, Aug. 14, 2015
  6. Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)"Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis: 2.10.2 Direct Global Warming Potentials", IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007, Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  7. "Methane," U.S. Environmental Protection Agency information page, accessed July 2010

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