Well head safety
Queensland's CSG industry must comply with the Code of Practice for Coal Seam Gas Well Head Emissions Detection and Reporting (PDF, 1.4 MB), which sets a world's best practice standard for detecting, fixing and reporting CSG well head leaks.
The Code requires operators to:
- immediately fix leaks over the reportable level, even in cases when there are very low volumes of gas
- report on their detection and remediation activities.
The government has also completed a CSG Well Head Safety Program Audit. Of the more than 2,700 well heads tested in the audit, 98% showed no reportable leaks and all detected leaks have been fixed.
The risk of actual leaks - in particular, an uncontrolled, high volume leak from the well itself - is considered very low. If leaks do occur, they do not represent significant risk to the workforce or the community provided they are managed appropriately.
The fact that gas rises and quickly dilutes and dissipates in open air environments, the isolated nature of well sites in rural areas, signage and fencing, and the exclusion of ignition sources around the equipment also minimises the risk.
The risk of ignition or explosion from fugitive or very low level leaks is considered minimal as any gas release will quickly dissipate and disperse into the air. Well heads and immediate hazardous zones must be designed free of flame ignition sources.
More information about well head safety in Queensland's CSG industry: