6. Engineering energy: unconventional gas production

Energy needs will require us to keep turning to opportunities for alternative sources such as shale oil gas and coal seam gas. As technology and geological knowledge continue to advance, and the consequent economics of extracting unconventional natural gas become more feasible, Australia could be in a position to produce unconventional gas. This demands a comprehensive look at the scientific, social, cultural, technological, environmental and economic issues surrounding the reality of alternative energy sources such as unconventional gas.

Final Report

Engineering Energy: Unconventional Gas Production, a study of shale gas in Australia, launched by Prof Ian Chubb AC FTSE at Parliament House on 5 June 2013, is now available:

Expert Working Group

Professor Peter Cook CBE, FTSE (Chair)
Dr Vaughan Beck FTSE (Deputy Chair)
Professor David Brereton
Professor Robert Clark AO, FAA, FRSN
Dr Brian Fisher AO, PSM, FASSA
Professor Sandra Kentish
Mr John Toomey FTSE
Dr John Williams FTSE

Project Manager

Dr Lauren Palmer Research & Policy Officer Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering

Project services provided by ATSE on behalf of ACOLA.

Links and Publications

Recommendations were developed by the Office of the Chief Scientist in consultation with relevant government departments and the expert working groups responsible for the reports. The recommendations can be found at Recommendations from the findings of the ACOLA report, Engineering Energy: Unconventional Gas Production.

The Conversation: Report questions economic benefits of shale gas extraction

The Guardian Australia: Australia has huge deposits of shale gas – but it won’t come cheap


Unconventional gas – energy saviour or environmental problem? Dr Vaughan Beck FTSE – Deputy-Chair, ACOLA Expert Working Group on Engineering Energy presented the findings of the Engineering Energy: Unconventional Gas Production report on 21 August 2013 at the latest the Grattan Institute event in Brisbane.  Dr Beck’s presentation is available for download:

 (1.8MB) Unconventional Gas Production Opportunities and Challenges – Shale Gas

From offshore to onshore – the future of WA’s gas market? Professor Robert Clark AO, FAA, FRSN, ACOLA Expert Working Group on Engineering Energy presented the findings of the Engineering Energy: Unconventional Gas Productionreport on Tuesday 3 October 2013 at the latest the Grattan Institute event in Perth. Professor Clark’s presentation is available for download:

 (1.4MB) Shale Gas: Opportunities and Challenges