The first Darling Downs cereal crops grown with treated coal seam gas (CSG) water are flourishing on Arrow’s farm outside Dalby.
The 120ha of sorghum, 120ha of corn and 210ha of mung beans are growing on Theten, Arrow’s 5,000ha working property. The crops are irrigated with treated water sourced from Arrow’s nearby Daandine gas wells.
Arrow Energy CEO Andrew Faulkner said this was a ‘farming first’ on intensively farmed land (IFL) and demonstration of Arrow’s ability to coexist on IFL in the Surat Basin.
“Showcasing the use of treated CSG water for agricultural purposes is a practical demonstration of how Arrow can coexist with the agricultural industry and rural communities,” Mr Faulkner said.
Using treated CSG water to substitute existing users’ government groundwater allocations in IFL is one of Arrow’s 12 coexistence commitments. These commitments apply to IFL on Arrow’s exploration tenements ATP683 and ATP676, east of the Condamine River and also include providing flexibility on CSG well locations with wells located by the edges of farm paddocks, maximising spacing between wells and using pitless drilling only.
Arrow considers IFL to be a subset of Queensland Government-designated Strategic Cropping Land (SCL). “It is important we continue to demonstrate we can coexist with the agricultural industry to meet the energy needs of all Queenslanders.
“Based on technology advancements and feedback from our consultative committees in the Surat, we have made 12 commitments that will see us reduce our operational footprint to less than two per cent on total IFL,” Mr Faulkner said.
Arrow Farming Manager Bill Schloss said the Theten crops looked extremely healthy and promised excellent yields. “We definitely expect these crop yields to be some of our best, and also expect our fertiliser use to be down as well,” Mr Schloss said.
“So far we’ve used more than 150ML of water and have been drawing about 20ML a day from our reverse osmosis treated water dam since December.
“The CSG water is treated then stored in a 1,250ML dam on the farm before being pumped through the pivots on to the crops. “Planting cereals in this country is historic but there is a commercial side to this as well, with the sorghum and corn going to cattle feedlots while the beans will be exported.”
Arrow has Queensland Government approval to use treated CSG water on crops under an intensive water and soil monitoring program which includes monitoring bores and weekly water testing.
“This includes weekly water testing and use of monitoring equipment that considers rainfall, plant uptake and metrological conditions to ensure environmental protections are in place,” Mr Schloss said.
Theten also includes Surat Tek Park where Arrow actively researches ways to minimise impacts on IFL and demonstrate its gas well and drilling technology.
Pad drilling and pitless drilling have been recent innovations from the Surat Tek Park.
Pad drilling allows up to eight gas wells on one pad with shared infrastructure that substantially minimises the gas infrastructure footprint.
Pitless drilling involves drilling without the traditional open pit to collect drilling mud and cuttings. The waste is instead contained in portable tanks which are removed from site when drilling ends. Arrow is moving to pitless drilling as standard in IFL areas where it has tenure