The Chinchilla Gas Circuit is a one day self drive tour of gas fields and infrastructure in full production. See for yourself if the gas industry impacts the agricultural industry.
If you are coming from Goondawindi and wish to continue on to Miles, start the circuit at Condamine and leave it when you return to the Leichhardt Highway from Fairy Meadow Road.
Greenswamp Road and Fairymeadow Road
Look out for coal seam gas wells, pipelines, irrigation ponds, feedlots and reinjection trials (injecting the waste water back into the earth). Keep your sense of direction. Do not go north into Goombi Fairy Meadow Road.
Accommodation available. Condamine Pub serves lunch and dinner.
Kogan Condamine Road
Talinga Water Treatment Facility is hidden behind trees on the northern side of the road not far from Condamine. Traveling in an easterly direction on the same side of the road at Nangram is the Windibri Gas Centre and the Condabri Berwydndale Field.
Nine Mile Irrigation Lucerne
Turn right into Chinchilla Tara Road
This lucerne crop is irrigated by treated waste water. It is made into hay and sold to cattle breeders and feed lots.
Kenya Gas Hub
Drive along the Chinchilla Tara Road and turn into Vanrenens Road. A waste water pond is on your left. Gas infrastructure is on your right and further along on your left the huge Kenya Water Treatment facility is just visible.
People living on lifestyle blocks of 30 to 800 acres to the south and east of the Kenya Gas Hub were the first to report health impacts from the gas industry. A lot of large infrastructure is located in this area, including Origin Energy’s Ironbark CSG Project and QGC/ BG Group/ Royal Dutch Shell’s Brentleigh Park and Kenya gas fields. Within a fifteen to twenty kilometre radius of this infrastructure, people are affected by headaches, nose bleeds and respiratory problems. The most affected are the people who are there twenty-four hours, seven days a week, which includes small children too young to go to school.
Back to Kogan Condamine Road
Turn right. The Orana processing facility is on your left.
Avenue Road & Excavation Caution Zone
Travelling north cross over the bridge at Wambo Creek. Look for bubbles in the water. The Wambo is a tributary of the Condamine River, which bubbles continually in places on private land. Bubbles appear in Wambo Creek, depending on the water level.
This area is called Hopeland, which is prime agricultural land. The area on either side of the road has been damaged by Linc Energy’s underground coal gasification (UCG) project which is subject to a court case. No one is allowed to dig below 2 metres within the excavation caution zone (see area on map with red stripes) except gas miners, otherwise hydrogen sulfide, and other harmful gases escape. UCG is a different process to CSG.
In this area many farmer’s bores into the aquifers above the Great Artesian Basin have been leaking gas and have had to be shut down due to CSG. More are expected to do the same.
Near the end of this road going north, on the right, water flows from a pipe into a waterway. This is treated waste water which flows from here into the weir and Chinchilla’s water supply.
Condamine River & Chinchilla Weir
Free camping and a boat ramp are available at the Chinchilla Weir on the Condamine River. Recently gas bubbles have been seen in the River from the weir to 4km upstream.
Methane was first discovered bubbling in the Condamine River in 2012 where coal seam gas wells had been drilled by Origin Energy nearby. There are hundreds of wells in the immediate area, with three companies, Origin Energy, QGC and Arrow Energy all operating coal seam gas fields nearby.
Locals say the river has never bubbled with gas like this historically. Government investigations found that the source of the gas was “consistent with gas originating from Surat Basin geological formations”. The concern is that depressurising the coal seams for gas extraction has caused methane gas to flow up other cracks, fissures, bores, to the surface – such as through the Condamine River. This is directly polluting the river and the air, but also methane is a potent greenhouse gas and these fugitive emissions are a major concern.
Not only is the gas bubbling becoming more intense recently, but it has spread to a greater length of the river. Origin Energy, which has wells in close proximity to the gas seep, has installed some monitoring pipework, and the Qld Government has put stakes on the river bank to mark each visible seep.
Return to Chinchilla
Linc Energy’s UCG Plant
This plant has been shut down.
Kogan Creek Power Station
This is an awesome sight at night.