QGC has been operating our Curtis Island LNG plant for over three years and has an ongoing schedule of maintenance planned. Regular maintenance work is critical for the ongoing integrity and safety of the plant.

Maintenance background

Before maintenance begins, it’s imperative we completely remove any gas and refrigerants from the 100km+ of pipework so our team can do the job safely. We will return as much gas and refrigerant to storage as possible, while the balance will be sent to the flare so it can be burnt safely and minimise greenhouse gas emissions.

Predominantly methane gas is sent to flare producing a clean burning flame, which can vary in height depending on the gas flow rate.

Refrigerant gases - propane and ethylene - gases, used to cool the gas as part of the liquefication process, may also need to be flared in which case visible smoke may be produced.

While this smoke is visible for short periods, based on modelling and the Department of Environment and Science’s air quality monitoring, no health or environmental impacts are predicted from flaring at the LNG facility.

QGC has significantly reduced flaring since it began operations on Curtis Island and will continue to focus on minimisation.

Minimising flaring is important to us. It is fundamental for good business. Minimising flaring helps assure the future viability of our operations by optimising productivity and strengthening business performance. It also demonstrates QGC is sensitively integrating operations within the community.

About Flaring

No health or environmental impacts are predicted from flaring at QGC’s facility, including during smoky flare events. This is based on dispersion modelling and the Department of Environment and Science’s air quality monitoring:

  • Dispersion modelling studies show that, due to flare gas composition and flare stack height, no health impacts are predicted.
  • The smoke has a similar chemical composition to smoke from a campfire or candle, comprising carbon particles, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and water vapour.
  • The Department of Environment and Science’s Gladstone air quality monitoring network data (PM10, PM2.5, NOx, SO2 readings) show no health or environment impacts related to flaring. Community members can access Gladstone air quality data at www.ehp.qld.gov.au/air/data/search. This data is publicly available in real time.

Maintenance Works

Between October 2017 and May 2018 QGC undertook two major maintenance programs at the LNG Plant on Curtis Island, inspecting, repairing and replacing critical equipment to ensure operations remained safe and reliable. Both programs were successfully and safely executed with minimal black smoke during the flaring process and no community complaints.

We are pleased that the results from the additional air quality monitoring conducted by the Department of Environment and Science have verified that the flaring at the LNG plant did not result in any exceedances of air quality objectives. We support continued operation by the Department of Gladstone’s air quality monitoring network, and efforts to improve the accessibility of this information for the community.

QGC will continue to operate within flaring regulations, keeping visible smoke to a minimum. We will continue to notify the community in advance of any planned maintenance activities that may result in flaring events.

Safety of our people, the community and the local environment is our priority.

Environmental Authority Amendment:

In May 2017, QGC lodged an application for an amendment to its Environmental Authority associated with flaring at its LNG Plant. The existing environmental conditions did not allow for the required flaring for major maintenance works, which is why the Application to Amend our EA conditions was made.

Since then, QGC have been working with The Department of Environment and Science (DES) to provide necessary information for reviewing and assessing the Application and QGC’s proposed options for amendment.

On 29 June 2018, DES made a decision to approve the EA Amendment Application subject to specific conditions. While we did not receive the full flexibility that we were seeking, QGC acknowledges that the Department must strike a balance, and appreciates that our need for some operational flexibility has been acknowledged.

You can find a copy of the amended Environmental Authority here.

Copies of, or extracts from, the application may also be obtained from QGC at 72 Goondoon St, Gladstone, QLD 4680 during business hours by appointment. Please email community@qgc.com.au to book an appointment.

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