(Thanks to Dale Stiller for his earlier brief post and grazier Will Wilson who supplied the graphic photos. This was published in today's Queensland Telegraph).
By John Mikkelsen
MOTHER Nature’s awesome power was demonstrated during the Australia Day weekend floods, when these huge steel gas pipes near Mt Larcom were washed away and bent like drink straws.
One pipe came to rest across Mt Alma Road near Larcom Creek. It was moved off the road by Will Wilson of Calliope Station, using his grader.
Mr Wilson said several hundred metres of the QGC gas pipeline sections were picked up by the flood waters and floated a similar distance from where they had been resting on mounds of dirt on the neighbouring Wycheproof cattle property owned by Tom Chapman.
“The pipes were kinked in two places and shot across the road near Larcom Creek. There were three or four places where the pipes floated off and the floods also washed topsoil from the pipeline works onto our land.
“We had 810mm of rain, making those three days not only the wettest rain event since 1905 when our Calliope Station records started, but also the wettest January and February on record, without any other days included,” Mr Wilson said.
The pipes are 42 inch diameter and about .75 of an inch thick and are part of the pipeline construction stretching more than 500km from the Surat Basin gasfields to the QCLNG plant under construction on Curtis Island. QGC was asked for a comment on the flood damage and how construction on the pipeline and LNG plant may have been affected, but nothing was received before the Telegraph’s deadline.
Australian manufacturers were unable to supply steel pipe to the size and specification required and the QGC pipeline is using imported Chinese steel which met government requirements.
Following the floods, rival LNG company Santos said its GLNG site on Curtis Island and its pipeline route had escaped the floods without major incidents, but its pipeline construction is understood to be not as advanced as the QGC project.
It said foundations had now been laid on Curtis Island for the LNG plant and two LNG tanks.
The Queensland Gas Company (QCLNG), Santos/Petronas (GLNG), Royal Dutch/Shell (Arrow LNG) and Origin/ConocoPhillips (APLNG) are all planning to build LNG plants on Curtis Island with a workforce of more than 3000 required for the construction of each plant.
CONTROVERSY OVER RUSHED APPROVALS
Meanwhile controversy surrounds the earlier project approvals under the Bligh Labor Government, with Premier Campbell Newman this week backing calls for the Crime and Misconduct Commission to probe the former government's rushed approval of two of the State's biggest CSG projects.
Following a Courier Mail report based on FOI statements from senior public servants, Mr Newman told media he shared concerns by environmentalist Drew Hutton about the approvals process.
He said if Mr Hutton (president of the anti-CSG group, Lock the Gate Alliance) had not referred the matter to the CMC, he would have.
"I believe that the companies concerned are companies that will do this right," Mr Newman said.
"I have no concerns at this time about anything they are doing but in terms of the (approval) process and what may or may not have happened, well Drew Hutton is right to raise those concerns.
"I share those concerns and I think the CMC should be looking at it."
Earlier, The Courier-Mail reported that two of Queensland's largest CSG projects were approved by public servants panicked by a Bligh government order to sign off on them quickly.
Public servants at the two departments tasked with giving the official go-ahead to Queensland's burgeoning coal seam gas industry were allegedly pressured by Bligh government demands that two of the gigantic projects be approved within weeks of each other.
Documents obtained by the newspaper investigation reportedly revealed that as the $18 billion Santos GLNG project was nearing its approval in May 2010, public servants were hit with the demands from the government to also undertake the $16 billion QGC project - and then the Origin-led APLNG proposal, approved in November of the same year.