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Ironbark Project (Withdrawn)

Withdrawn

Origin Energy ATP 788P Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Origin Energy Limited (Origin Energy), had previously proposed to develop the coal seam gas (CSG) resources within Authority to Prospect (ATP) 788P, also known as ‘Ironbark’, located in south-central Queensland. The project included ATP 788P and a 30 metre wide gas pipeline corridor, extending north to the Darling Downs Pipeline and covering a total area of 72,300 hectares.

Pilot testing in the Ironbark field at the Duke-2 and Duke-3 pilots was successfully completed during the December 2014 Quarter. The results of the Duke pilot testing continue to be incorporated into the development plan for Ironbark.

On 3 April 2014 Origin Energy notified EHP of its intention to withdraw from the EIS process for the Ironbark project in order to pursue regulatory approvals through the EA Amendment process. Origin is continuing to progress gas development opportunities in Australia, including Ironbark,  which could be pursued in the future should market conditions be appropriate. A decision about an EIS will be made, if Origin decides to continue with the project.

Archived information

Project summary

Origin Energy ATP 788P Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Origin Energy Limited (Origin Energy), proposes to develop the coal seam gas (CSG) resources within Authority to Prospect (ATP) 788P, also known as ‘Ironbark’, near Tara in southern Queensland. The Ironbark Project would supply domestic customers including the Darling Downs Power Station near Dalby, and may also supply proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) ventures. First production of sales gas from the Ironbark Project is targeted for 2015 at a rate of 50–60 terajoules per day (TJ/day) with the potential to increase sales gas production to a maximum rate of 120 TJ/day. The study area to be investigated for the environmental impact statement (EIS) includes ATP 788P and a 30 metre wide gas pipeline corridor, extending north to the Darling Downs Pipeline and covering a total area of 72,300 hectares.

Development of the gas field is likely to require the following infrastructure:

  • up to 600 wells spaced generally on a 750 metre grid, subject to social, environmental and technical constraints
  • underground gas and water gathering networks
  • up to two gas plants (with field compression) to remove water and compress the gas at locations to be determined during development of the EIS
  • a buried sales gas pipeline connecting proposed gas plant infrastructure to the existing Darling Downs Pipeline
  • warehouses and administration buildings
  • CSG water management infrastructure
  • temporary and permanent accommodation facilities
  • access roads, telecommunications infrastructure and sewerage.

Water extracted from the coal seams (CSG water) is proposed to be treated at a central location before beneficial use (agriculture, urban, industrial), discharge to streams, or reinjection into suitable aquifers. Options proposed for disposal of salt in brine from CSG water treatment includes salt recovery, brine injection into saline aquifers, and brine injection into depleted gas wells

Origin Energy proposes developing the Ironbark Project over a period of up to 40 years, requiring a peak construction workforce of approximately 200 people and peak operational workforce of around 60 people. A construction camp is proposed to be established on ATP 788P to service well development activities and to provide accommodation for the various construction teams. A permanent camp to accommodate the operational workforce is planned in the vicinity of a proposed gas plant located on the property ‘Greenlea’, 25 km north-west of Tara.

Queensland environmental impact statement (EIS) process

Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act)

On 15 March 2011, an application was made by the proponent under section 70 of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act) for the preparation of a voluntary EIS. The application was approved on 18 March 2011.

Commonwealth assessment process

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)

On 22 August 2011, Origin Energy ATP 788P Pty Limited lodged an Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) referral for the Ironbark Project with the Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. On 7 October 2011, the Ironbark Project was determined to be a controlled action requiring assessment and approval under the EPBC Act through the voluntary EIS process under the EP Act in accordance with the bilateral agreement. The controlling provisions for the project are sections 16 and 17B (wetlands of international importance), 18 and 18A (listed threatened species and communities), and 20 and 20A (migratory species).

Public notification of final terms of reference (TOR)

The process for the assessment of this project is as follows:

In accordance with section 41 of the EP Act the proponent submitted draft terms of reference (TOR) for an EIS to the then Department of Environment and Heritage Protection. The draft TOR were made available for public comment between Monday 21 November 2011 and Friday 20 January 2012.

The TOR for the project have been finalised and were issued to the proponent on 5 April 2012. The proponent will now prepare an EIS for the project addressing the issues listed in the TOR.

Further information

For further information about the EIS process for the Ironbark Project, please contact the EIS coordinator or email .

Last updated
20 August 2015