QGC HAS started operating a network of upstream natural gas processing facilities which the company said was an important milestone to achieving a first gas production target from its Curtis Island plant in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The seven facilities west of Dalby comprise six field compression stations feeding gas drawn from hundreds of wells into the larger Ruby Jo Central processing plant.

The central processing plant will send gas through a 540 kilometre underground pipeline network to the QCLNG export facility on Curtis Island off Gladstone, where it will be chilled to a liquid for delivery to markets around the world in specially designed ships.

QGC managing director Mitch Ingram said the Ruby Jo central processing plant would help fill the first of two QCLNG production facilities on Curtis Island.

“This milestone was achieved to schedule and keeps us firmly on track to be the world’s first bespoke project to produce LNG sourced from coal seams, with first LNG production due in the final quarter of this year,” Mr Ingram said.

“The central processing plant and field compression stations represent a remarkable achievement over more than two-and-a-half years by 1,500 engineers, civil works contractors, mechanics, welders, electricians and other trades.”

Importantly, Mr Ingram said the company delivered the seven upstream facilities safely while providing opportunities for local businesses and workers.

The facilities are the first to start operating under a contract QGC awarded to Thiess last September for the construction of 17 field compression stations and four central processing plants at three hubs in the Surat basin; near Dalby, Chinchilla and Wandoan.