Oil shale from A to Z

Australia’s oil shale deposits are vast, and offer a promising and realistic contribution to our country’s current oil shortage, especially for transport fuels.

Barrels of oil contain 158.9 litres.

Creating new fuels can address Australia’s declining oil self-sufficiency and provide greater fuel security for our country.

Demand for transport fuels, and especially heavy transport such as trains and planes, is forecast to continue to grow for years to come.

Energy density is an important element in fuels for heavy transport, which needs the higher levels of energy in carbon-based fuels to transport goods and people across long distances.

Fuel security is declining in Australia as we rely more and more on imported oil products and fuels to power our transport networks.

Greenhouse emissions reduction is a major research challenge QER is conducting through its operation of the Paraho IITM technology demonstration plant. 

Heavy transport will require greater volumes of high quality fuels, such as the ultra-low sulphur diesel and jet fuels which QER is producing from oil shale.

International Energy Agency forecasts predict world demand for oil to increase from 87 million barrels per day in 2010, to 99 million barrels per day by 2035.

Just over a decade ago Australia was 100% self-sufficient in oil, but that has now dropped to around 50% and is forecast to fall further to just 18% by 2020.

Kerogen is a mixture of organic chemical compounds embedded within layers of oil shale that can be released through a process known as pyrolysis, which involves heating the shale to temperatures reaching 500oC.

Local community engagement is at the forefront of QER’s activities, ensuring two-way communication where we openly provide information and take as much care to listen.   

Mining the Stuart oil shale deposit at QER’s New Fuels Development Centre is carried out by using a traditional open-cut method.

New Fuels Development Centre – QER’s facility near Gladstone in Queensland where we are demonstrating the Paraho IITM technology for processing oil shale.

Oil shale deposits consists of organic-rich rock, formed over millions of years from deposits of silt, algae and other plants and vegetation, and forms of animal life.

Peak oil is the point in time when world production of oil is outstripped by demand.

QER is an integrated resource company demonstrating a world-leading technology for developing Australia’s vast oil shale resources.

Retorting is the name given to the process of heating solid oil shale rock to produce a synthetic crude oil which can be upgraded to create transport fuels.  

Sustainable development is based on a recognition that the use of our resources must meet the needs of current generations without compromising or limiting opportunities for futre generations.

Technology demonstration plant – the centerpiece of QER’s New Fuels Development Centre, highlighting the superior operability of the Paraho IITM technology

Ultra-low sulphur diesel and aviation fuels produced at QER’s New Fuels Development Centre are undergoing thorough engine testing regimes to highlight their suitability as a ‘drop-in’ replacement for conventional fuels.

Visitors are welcome at QER’s New Fuels Development Centre, with touch-screen technology and interesting exhibits on display at our on-site Visitor Centre.

Waste water produced at QER’s technology demonstration plant undergoes stringent treatment processes to remove ammonia and hydrogen sulphide.

X-Ray machines, i-pods, clothing and medicines are just some of the many thousands of items which have oil as a basic ingredient.

Yields from oil shales vary according to the grade of the deposit, but in some instances can be as high as 220 litres per ton of rock.

Zealous attention to detail and a commitment to quality form the basis for QER’s development of an oil shale industry in Queensland.