By Andrew Hobbs, Group Editor

THE END of October is nearing as I put finger to keyboard on what some might consider our final edition for 2014 – with our December-January edition scheduled to hit mailboxes just after Christmas.

The New Year will certainly be a momentous one for Queensland, with all three of the Curtis Island projects set to be producing by this time in 2015.

These projects – BG’s Queensland Curtis Liquefied Natural Gas, Santos’s Gladstone LNG and Origin Energy’s Australia Pacific LNG – have more or less defined Australia’s approach to coal seam gas as it is currently produced.

From the legalities and practicalities of CSG extraction to development, and later sharing, of crucial project infrastructure, the process of developing the liquefaction facilities on Curtis Island has been an educational one for all groups involved.

With the projects has come a series of opportunities for Queensland companies and the overseas groups which have come on board – with a series of new jobs created both in the Surat basin, from where much of the gas is extracted, and at Gladstone.

These opportunities are likely to remain, even as the construction phases of these projects wind down and the production phase ramps up.

Journalist Lauren Barrett looks at the challenges that companies have faced in putting these three projects together and what Queensland’s future as an LNG exporter will mean for the state.

With the development of Australian coal seam gas has come environmental protests and elevated concerns about extraction methods and other impacts of the industry.

In October, New South Wales chief scientist Mary O’Kane handed down a report into that state’s coal seam gas industry – saying that gas extraction could occur safely but urging government to strengthen protections for communities.

Journalist Ross Verne looks into the recommendations of the report and what it will mean for the state’s industry, which faces increasing demand for gas alongside substantial opposition to its extraction.

With the next New South Wales state election due in March 2015, it will be interesting to see what role the state’s future energy supply plays in that debate – certainly at this point the state’s politicians are keeping their cards close to their chests.

In the meantime, political watchers would do well to keep an eye on the state of play in Victoria – where an election on 29 November will take place following an extension of that state’s coal seam gas extraction moratorium to July 2015.

Whether or not the moratorium is extended again will be another challenge in what is shaping to be a vital year for the sector.