South Australia is on the verge of achieving two key milestones in which the old Leigh Creek coalfield will be used to deliver a fresh source of gas and energy products into the national power grid.
Addressing the Paydirt 2018 South Australian Resources and Energy Investment Conference in Adelaide this week, Leigh Creek Energy managing director Phil Staveley said the company was on track to commence this quarter, a pre-commercial demonstration of its in situ gasification (ISG) demonstration plant under construction currently on the former coal mine site.
Subject to a positive outcome of the planned 90-day demonstration trial to produce syngas, this should lead to an anticipated upgrade to reserve, of the project’s 2C unconventional gas resource.
The demonstration plant includes the construction of an above-ground plant and the establishment of a below-ground single-ISG gasifier chamber.
“We have recently secured the key environmental approval for the demonstration to go ahead and that has substantially de-risked the test schedule,” Mr Staveley said.
“The pre-commercial demonstration will commence shortly from what is arguably the best ISG site in the world.
“It has the correct geological setting, and we are deploying industry best practices to ensure Leigh Creek remains one of the world’s most low-risk ISG commercial operations.”
The demonstration plant will be commissioned and operated for a short period, between two and three months, to produce syngas, so the technical and environmental performance of the process can be analysed.
The company’s flagship Leigh Creek project has an estimated resource of 2964PJ – equivalent to about 7.8 per cent of the east coast’s 2C gas resources of 38,600PJ and delivering a potential 30-year plus life.
Its syngas can be converted into power, natural gas, petrochemical and agricultural products.
Leigh Creek Energy is looking to final feasibility, approvals, FEED and offtake conclusions through calendar 2019 to facilitate a final investment decision and start to construction of the project’s main power station, in 2020.
The ISG configuration will consist of two wells drilled into a deep coal seam more than 500m below the surface, one for an inlet well for the addition of air and water, and the other for the outlet well for the extraction of synthesis gas (syngas).
The demonstration project is regulated as an exploration activity under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 and as an exploration activity the syngas produced is unable to be sold for commercial use, and will therefore be treated on site in a thermal oxidiser as part of the process.