Australia’s Queensland government has given the go-ahead for Queensland Energy Resources Limited to begin developing its Gladstone plant at the commercial level, after imposing strict environmental protocols.
The new facility will be a pilot plant and is expected to generate 37-40 barrels per day of shale oil at a rate of 2.5 mt/hour of oil shale feed.
Platts quotes Natural Resources and Mines minister Andrew Cripps:
“Queensland currently has around 90% of Australia’s known oil shale resources, which are equivalent to approximately 22 billion barrels of oil,” Cripps said. “As the world supply of conventional crude oil diminishes, there are strong prospects for oil shale to become the next major source of liquid fuel supplies in Australia, and Queensland is well placed to lead that charge.”
QER had previously showcased the possibilities of its processing technology at a commercial level, and this approval allows it to go ahead with those plans. However, other competing firms have yet to demonstrate the viability of their processes in compliance with the environmental regulations.
Presently, QER has rights to the Stuart and Rundle deposits, as well as a number of other major shale reserves across Queensland. According to Platts, its net oil shale resource base is stated to be 15.8 billion barrels of oil.
The company hopes to make use of these shale reserves to develop diesel and aviation fuels, and it is also interested in the coalseam gas sector, which is only recently beginning to really develop.
The policies set by the Queensland government are intended to attract private sector investment, continuing an existing 20-year moratorium on QER’s McFarlane shale deposit development until 2028.