NERA (National Energy Resources Australia) has approved more
than $1.8 million in new project funding that will lead industry
collaboration and drive innovation across Australia’s energy resources
Through the industry-led growth centre NERA, the Federal
Government will provide the funding to support seven new projects that are
backed by oil and gas, coal and uranium sector operators through
This latest announcement brings the number of projects NERA
is delivering across Australia to 32 and the number of project partners
directly involved to more than 80 – a sign of NERA’s ability to foster
The projects include a revolutionary metal 3D printing
technology that will be adapted for remote oil and gas operating
environments. The new technique can operate around 1000 times the speed of
conventional 3D printing at a fraction of the cost and is an example of
directly integrating new technology into the energy resources sector - a
key priority area outlined in NERA's Sector Competitiveness Plan, a 10-year
strategic roadmap for Australia's energy resources industries.
Other projects to receive funding were selected to deepen
understanding of regions including the Great Artesian Basin – one of the
world’s largest groundwater resources which stretches across more than 20
per cent of Australia. This – and an additional project centring around the
northern Perth Basin - will better inform future resources activities and
unlock new pathways to exploration and extraction.
NERA chief executive Miranda Taylor said the new projects
support NERA’s goal to lead sector-wide transformational change across
Australia’s energy resources sector by developing a smart, high-value,
digital and export-focused supply chain.
“Projects that receive NERA funding are selected to deliver
results on a national scale and have sector-wide impact, assisting the
energy resources sector unlock a potential $10 billion in value that NERA
has identified,” Ms Taylor said.
"These projects demonstrate NERA’s role to assist
Australia’s energy resources sector maintain its global competitiveness by
adapting to the changing global and domestic energy market and accelerating
technological change by creating vital opportunities for collaboration and
innovation and the improved transfer of knowledge and technology.
“By assisting new resource opportunities come online, these
significant initiatives will be critical to maintaining industry
productivity and meeting Australia’s future energy needs.
“We are very pleased to see the successful commercialisation
of world-class research from Australian universities that is, with the
combined support of industry and government, delivering real solutions to
the challenges our industry operators are facing today and those they will
The successful projects will receive co-funding from NERA’s
$15.6 million Project Fund, upon the formalising of contracts.
The full recipient list is detailed below:
New 3D printing technology to support remote operating
NERA is collaborating with technology developer SPEE3D, Charles Darwin
University and industry partner ConocoPhillips Australia to support the development of a new
high-speed, low-cost metal 3D printing technology specifically for the oil
and gas industry. The technology can operate around 1000 times the speed of
conventional metal 3D printing at a fraction of the cost and has the
potential to revolutionise industrial activities in remote areas by
allowing onsite metal part production. The technology will enable operating
environments to fabricate necessary parts on site and limit costly delays
associated with downtimes that can be in the order of tens of millions of
Improving our understanding of the Great Artesian Basin
This project will increase our understanding of the Great Artesian Basin
and how it relates to resource development projects. Led by the University
of Queensland, the project will bring together a team of independent
reviewers and contributors including Australia Pacific LNG, Santos and
Arrow Energy to document the latest work on the Basin aquifers of the Surat
Basin. The delivery of an updated peer-reviewed and evidence-based report
coupled with a media and public education campaign will increase knowledge
of the Basin and enable more efficient and accurate decisions for proposed
projects to be made.
Reducing hydrate risk in subsea jumpers (WA)
Jumpers are subsea pipe segments that connect wellheads to larger manifolds
and pipelines. However, their unique shape means jumpers are at a high risk
of blockage from the growth of ice-like solids (hydrates) which results in
a lengthy and costly process to unblock them. Recognising this problem, a
UWA-led consortium of international oil and gas partners including Chevron,
Total E&P UK, Woodside and OneSubsea, will use an unique Australian
test facility to undertake research to deliver the first predictive model
to assess when and where hydrate blockages are likely to occur in jumpers.
With this new capability, operators can remove a key dimension of
uncertainty in designing deep-water subsea systems, unlocking deeper
resources to support the next generation of asset development.
Virtual operating environment (WA)
The project will develop and install a novel integrated system to provide
early notice of changes in plant operating conditions such as leaks or
rotating equipment faults. The system will do this by measuring noise,
vibration, temperature and atmospheric pressure and connect to cloud-based
processing to analyse and visualise changing conditions. Operators will be
alerted to potential operational issues at speed and will boost the
efficiencies by transitioning to a more proactive operating environment.
The development, led by Quadrant Energy, will bring together local and
international technology suppliers including Curtin University Innovation
Centre, Flicq, Optika and AWS.
Machine learning-based sub-surface geological model
Together with partners Origin Energy and the University of Sydney, this
project will bring together a wide range of information such as
exploration, downhole geophysics, drilling, completion and production data
into a data fusion model to create a more accurate and reliable information
platform on subsurface resources. This will improve asset development
planning and risk assessment and expand the capabilities of geologists,
geotechnical engineers and field development teams. A predictive
(machine-learning based) tool will also enable enhanced understanding of
asset net pay, coal continuity, coal gas content and permeability.
Reference cases for seismic activities
The project will reduce the assessment burden on exploration companies in
terms of cost, timeframes and uncertainty when dealing with new survey
activities. It will do this through the preparation and submission of
reference case Environment Plans (EPs) for regulatory approval for known
petroleum provinces. The ability to leverage from an accepted EP will
provide improved certainty for exploration companies to more efficiently
mobilise assets and schedule activities around operator requirements. The
project has the potential to open up Australia as a destination for
offshore exploration activities and already includes a number of consortium