$135k research project aims to help SMEs benefit from onshore gas

11 Aug 2015
Associate Professor John Steen, and Martie-Louise Verreynne

With billions of dollars being invested in coal seam gas development, a new research project aims to help local businesses and communities achieve maximum benefit.

The University of Queensland’s Centre for Coal Seam Gas will provide $135,000 to researchers at UQ Business School to carry out the study, which will focus initially on the Surat Basin but will have implications for operations in other areas.

With input from external government and non-government business advisors, the research team, led by Associate Professors Martie-Louise Verreynne and John Steen, will interview small and medium-sized enterprises in the region to determine what factors enable firms to successfully exploit the business opportunities.

They will include companies across a range of sectors, from gas industry and mining services businesses which may be direct suppliers to the industry to tourism and leisure firms which may indirectly benefit through an increase in trade.

The year-long study starts on 1st July and comes as construction work in the Surat Basin is coming to an end and gas production operations are due to begin. It will build on previous work by the University and Centre for Coal Seam Gas and in cooperation with the Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA, an alliance between the gas industry and CSIRO) it will feed into wider research to quantify the various impacts of onshore gas operations at all levels of the economy.

Dr Verreyne said: “Millions of dollars of investment are being poured into towns in and around the Surat Basin for coal seam gas development, creating huge opportunities for supply chain businesses. It is vital that small firms in the area do not miss out as they have the potential to generate local jobs and prosperity and create sustained economic benefits.

“This research will help us to understand how local businesses can best exploit the opportunities and what government and the industry can do to help them. We will be developing specific advice to assist small firms, and also to inform state and local governments, and coal seam gas companies, on what type of policies and programs are most effective in creating shared value.

“The insights will not only benefit communities in the Surat Basin but also those in other areas with onshore gas developments, both now and in the future.”

The UQ, Centre for Coal Seam Gas is funded by UQ and 4 gas companies, QGC, Arrow, Santos and APLNG. Research in governed by UQ policies and procedures.