CSG Wellhead Compression

Significantly increasing recovery factors through implementation trials of innovative CSG Wellhead Compression

The project involves the development of a Gas Compressor specifically designed for coal seam gas (CSG) wellhead operation and production uplift. CSG operators have long recognised that there is a need to have more control over well production by having a positive flow control and therefore maintaining gas pressure to network pipeline systems.

There are currently over 7,400 operating CSG wells in Queensland. Generally, wells are abandoned when flows decline to uneconomic rates ~50 psi (the level at which most of the supporting Queensland gas network operates), as there is insufficient pressure to enter the gathering network. Approximately 90% of gas is still available in the wells. To recover this gas, a compressor is needed to achieve required flow rates into the network. Lowering abandonment pressures significantly increases recovery factors in CSG wells.

The project aims to develop a CSG wellhead gas compressor and to lease the units to gas companies, with potential to make bigger units for nodal compression. Larger units would facilitate pull on 5 wells instead of one, making the process more efficient. Ultimately, the aim also is to use local manufacturers to produce the compressor units.

Project Impact

There is currently a small number of gas compressor manufacturers worldwide who have trial tested wellhead compression; however, there are no production units that have been designed specifically for CSG operation with wide rangeability, reliability and efficiency for these conditions.

This project will benefit CSG industry requirements by:

  • Enabling effective collaboration between SMEs and large operators and the university sector
  • Maximising recovery of state resources and economic sustainability — increasing PJ/well means reduced footprint per PJ and hence an improved social licence to operate
  • Unlocking future resources — increased recovery per well significantly improves forward economics for contingent resources
  • Development of new technologies and markets — many thousands of CSG wells could benefit from new and improved wellhead compression, and the technology is transferable to conventional resources
  • Commercialisation of R&D — bench tests in a university well simulator and field trials will de-risk the technology for full commercialisation
  • Wider sector impacts are likely as the technology is particularly appropriate for mature assets

Project Partners


Project Timeframe

Start: March 2019

End: Feb 2022


Project Funding

Total Project Cost: $1,246,400

NERA: $450,000

Industry: $796,400

*Funding excludes GST