QGC Pty Limited has awarded a contract worth up to A$800 million to Veolia Water Australia Pty Ltd to operate and maintain QGC’s three water treatment plants in the Surat Basin.

Under the 20-year contract Veolia will operate and maintain the plants, which will treat groundwater produced alongside natural gas.

QGC is investing more than A$1 billion in infrastructure to treat this generally unused salty water for use by agriculture, industry and towns.

From June 2013 Veolia electricians, instrument technicians, plant operators and water engineers will operate and maintain ultrafiltration, ion exchange, reverse osmosis and brine concentration equipment in addition to pump stations and electrical substations.

About 55 Veolia staff will be employed to operate and maintain the plants, with the majority from Queensland.

QGC Operations Director Walter Simpson said the contract showed that the business was moving towards operating infrastructure being built for the Queensland Curtis LNG Project, which is on schedule for first production of liquefied natural gas in 2014.

“This is QGC’s biggest operational contract to date and local communities are poised to benefit for decades to come,” Mr Simpson said.

“As with all of our major contractors, Veolia is committed under this 20-year contract to using local suppliers of goods and services.

“Communities will also benefit from our commitment to provide treated water for beneficial use. Almost 97% of our water is to be made available in this way.”

The two main water treatment plants to be maintained and operated are under construction at sites known as Kenya and Woleebee Creek, about 35km from Chinchilla and Wandoan respectively.

These facilities will have a combined capacity to treat about 200 megalitres a day – or about 80 Olympic-sized swimming pools – during peak production.

A smaller, 6-megalitre treatment plant is already operating at QGC’s Windibri site near Chinchilla, providing water to Cameby Downs coal mine and Condamine Power Station.

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