This project will review and assess the presence of organic compounds in groundwater found in the Surat and Bowen Basins using existing open source and company held data.

The outcomes include information and methods to assess possible sources of hydrocarbons in groundwater to help differentiate naturally occurring hydrocarbons and those potentially introduced during gas extraction process.

Reports and papers

Occurrence and fate of natural hydrocarbons and other organic compounds in groundwater from coal-bearing basins in Queensland, Australia PDF 3 MB

The broad aims of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of the fate of hydrocarbons in groundwater and identify potential compounds that could be used to detect natural pathways by which hydrocarbons and other organic compounds can enter groundwater systems.

The key findings from this study were:

  • occurrences of hydrocarbons and other organic compounds in the groundwater of the Surat Cumulative Management Area (CMA) is limited both in frequency of occurrence and in concentration
  • there is little evidence to identify the source of detected hydrocarbons in the Surat CMA. Due to the lack of any supporting data and no quantitative information in regards to hydrocarbon occurrences in over a longer period of time, any interpretations on the sources of these hydrocarbons need to be treated with caution.
  • groundwater chemistry data presented in the study show relatively low concentrations of various hydrocarbons in the Surat CMA. Concentration levels of detected compounds were ≤9.64 ppb for Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH) compounds and ≤203 ppb for benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX) compounds (mostly toluene). These values were well below drinking water guidelines for BTEX compounds developed by various government agencies.

Final report, October 2018.

Literature review of dissolved hydrocarbons in groundwater with emphasis on the Australian Surat and Bowen Basins PDF 3 MB

This report gathers information on the occurrence of hydrocarbons such as partially water-soluble organic compounds (e.g. benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes (BTEX), phenols, polyaromatic hydrocarbons) and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs) in coals and associated coal seam formation groundwater.

Literature review, September 2015.

Project progress

This project is now complete.

Project proposal PDF 206 KB

A detailed description of the project, budget and research milestones.

Project order, July 2014.

Progress report PDF 331 KB

The project outline, any variations and research progress.

Progress report, September 2018.

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