NERA Leads Transformation Of Australia's Energy Resources Sector

15 February 2018

NERA Leads Transformation Of Australia's Energy Resources Sector


NERA – the Australian Government’s energy resources industry growth centre - has announced funding of $2.1 million for eight national projects, aimed at improving the global competitiveness of the sector, by addressing key industry issues relating to sustainability, efficiency and diversity.

The projects are expected to leverage an additional $2.4 million in industry funding, bringing the total value to more than $4.5 million.

The latest round of funding comes in addition to the broad range of projects already underway, which have been made possible through NERA’s collaborative commitments from the $15.6 million Project Fund.

NERA received over 80 applications from consortia, made up of industry, research and talent organisations, small businesses and entrepreneurs, in a competitive bid to share in the funding available.

The projects have been selected to deliver results on a national scale, have sector-wide impact, and are aligned with NERA’s Sector Growth Priorities, defined in the 10-year Sector Competitiveness Plan.

“NERA’s projects have been selected to deliver national impact, not just for one or two companies,” NERA chief executive Miranda Taylor said.

“This competitive matched funding program aims to invest in bold, innovative initiatives that will transform the energy resources sector to a digital, globally networked and low carbon-based economy. These collaborative projects aim to combine technology and new business models to drive efficiency, productivity, and co-create value and commercialisation opportunities.

“NERA global benchmarking has already revealed more than $10 billion in value which could be unlocked across the energy resources sector.

“Our latest round of projects will assist us to build on the advantages, capabilities, capacity and opportunities that we have right here in Australia and critically, will enable us to commercialise into global export markets.

“Australia is richly endowed with a wide range of natural resources that have and will continue to provide the vital energy and electricity required to support a modern, digital and connected economy. The energy resources sector will play a leading role in the energy transition, deliver the future prosperity of Australia and energy solutions to the world.”

The successful projects will receive co-funding from NERA’s $15.6 million Project Fund, upon the formalisation of contracts.

In conjunction with these recently-announced projects, funding has also been provided to the Transforming Australia Subsea Equipment Reliability (TASER) project. Led by Wood Group and in collaboration with Chevron, Shell and Woodside, TASER will create a ‘living laboratory’ to improve subsea equipment design and protect against marine growth on subsea equipment.

Project details will be available on the NERA website at The full recipient list for this round is detailed below:

Optimisation of Operations Planning for Coal Export Terminals (QLD/NSW)

Under a joint initiative with Aurecon Australia, Queensland University of Technology and Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG), this project involves developing a schedule optimisation tool, which has the potential to improve productivity by as much as 10 per cent. Allocation of terminal equipment in unloading trains and loading ships for coal exports is currently supported by software rather than scheduled by a computational tool. This project has the significant potential to reduce costly delays due to equipment allocation clashes and as such, improve efficiency.

Jundah Project (QLD)

Spanning reservoir testing through to appraisal drilling and production testing, the Jundah Project seeks to position the Queensland Eromanga basin as a key contributor to the east coast energy market. The collaboration between Bridgeport Energy, Geological Survey of Queensland and the University of Queensland aims to prove the petroleum production of the highly prospective Toolebuc shale formation of the basin. Upon completion, project data will be shared publicly for the benefit of the broader sector.

Subsea Innovation Cluster Australia (WA)

Industry group Subsea Energy Australia is leading the establishment of the subsea innovation cluster of Australian research institutions, operators and service companies, to leverage the combined specialised expertise to develop new products and services and enter new markets.

LNG Reliability Data Joint Industry Project (WA)

Led by Petrofac Facilities Management, the Joint Industry Project (JIP) aims to provide a platform for LNG operators and technology suppliers to collaborate more effectively, analysing historical and real-time data to improve the efficiency, reliability and safety of liquefaction facilities. The sharing of information between industry players will assist in cross learning and decision-making processes.

Integration of Image Recognition Technology and Artificial Intelligence (WA)

Through developing and integrating existing image recognition technology into a subsea in-water hull cleaning tool, lead proponent CleanSubSea expects to reduce costs and increase operational efficiencies. This tool will enable simultaneous in-water clean and inspection of subsea oil and gas infrastructure, which will deliver automated inspection and reporting and identify the presence of invasive marine species.

Commercialisation of a New Geostatistical Technique (QLD)

An innovative, new “research code” has been developed by the University of Queensland Centre for Coal Seam Gas (on behalf of Australia Pacific LNG, Arrow Energy, Santos and the University of Queensland). To enable this code to be used by industry professionals, the Centre will integrate it with a software modelling package and develop trial uses and demonstration data sets. The availability of a plug-in to the software will improve resource estimation and flow modelling, leading to better production performance forecasting. Coal seam gas stakeholder companies can use the plug-in and its results to increase efficiency in production and decrease the risk associated with flow connectivity.

Converting Tight Contingent Coal Seam Gas Resources (QLD)

This project, being led by the University of Queensland Centre for Coal Seam Gas (on behalf of Australia Pacific LNG, Arrow Energy, and Santos) will develop application methodologies for graded particle injection in tight, low permeability coal reservoirs. The project will model unique properties of graded particles and develop transport models for implementing graded particles to improve hydraulic fracturing treatments. In addition, this technology is applicable for stimulation of other naturally fractured, unconventional resources (e.g. tight gas, shale gas).

Identifying Different Sources of Sub-Surface Methane in Groundwater (QLD)

Improved understanding and analysis of the sources of methane detected in groundwater is important for resource developments, regulators and the public. Methane is often detected in groundwater and monitoring bore samples, however there are many potential sources from which the methane could be derived. This project, led by the University of Queensland’s Centre for Coal Seam Gas (on behalf of Australia Pacific LNG, Arrow Energy, and Santos) focuses on developing a definitive ‘fingerprinting’ methodology. The project will build on expertise from within the gas companies as well as recent work done by researchers, that suggests certain combinations of hydrochemistry and isotope gas chemistry could definitively identify certain methane sources. The aim of the project is to provide a tool box and industry standard for sampling water bores and gas wells, with analysis techniques to differentiate fugitive subsurface gas from other naturally occurring gases.

For more detail on NERA, visit