ENG3003 Engineering management

ENG3003 Engineering management

Assignment 2

Engineering practice case study

DescriptionMarks out ofWtg(%)Due date
Case study 2 Engineering practice30030.00XXX 2022

Objectives

This assignment addresses, in part, some of the following objectives for the course as outlined in the course specification:

  • review and analyse the role of engineers as managers;
  • understand the planning process and distinguish the different types of organisational planning;
  • evaluate the various forms of organisational structure, the principles of organisational design, and the role and functions of human resource management;
  • evaluate the major leadership styles and the characteristics and methods of effective leadership;
  • evaluate the characteristics of effective management control, including elements of operations and financial control, with emphasis on quadruple bottom-line reporting;
  • know and apply the fundamentals of contract law to simple contract cases; describe the common types of contracts used in engineering; and describe the typical documents contained within an engineering contract; select and justify procedures which may be used to achieve a resolution between conflicting parties in a contract;
  • distinguish and discuss the social and legal responsibilities relating to product liability and professional negligence;
  • apply the concept of ethics, and select and justify suitable ethical guidelines for specific situations, using as a basis the Engineers Australia, Code of Ethics (or equivalent).

Special Instructions

This assignment is to be electronically submitted via Study desk assignment drop-box.

Please submit as a generated PDF file or Word file. Do not submit zip files or scanned PDF files.

File name for your assignment may follow the following format: – Student surname (in

capitals) first name_ENG3003_ASS 2_S1_2021

This is not critical but helps in sorting student submissions.

CASE STUDY: Coal Seam Gas and Linc Energy

‘Coal seam gas is a volatile and divisive fuel, dubbed by the industry as a greenhouse hero, but perceived by environmentalists as a water villain.’ In Australia, the rapid expansion of coal seam gas (CSG) mining may risk other important natural resources. The resources at risk include clean, fertile agricultural land; safe, long-term water supplies; and a safe and pleasant countryside. Other risks include uncertain environmental damage, growing social disharmony and a break-down in corporate management regulators and systems that are struggling to keep pace with the development of CSG.

The CSG industry is, at present, thriving across the globe, and with less greenhouse gas emissions and risk of climate change CSG has been widely promoted as a ‘cleaner’ alternative to coal. Yet, recent research has cast doubt on this, stating that gas may be an obstacle rather than a bridge to a cleaner energy future. This doubt therefore places many ethical and social responsibilities on CSG mining organisations. Queensland specifically represents one of the largest economic havens for this profitable resource, and many multinational corporations come from all over the world in order to drill within the Surat and Bowen Basins. These small pockets of energy-rich gas, found within coal seam fracture lines hundreds of metres under the earth, come at an enormous expense to the mining companies that harvest them. In addition, the expense also appears to include the environments that accommodate the gas deposits. At present, these mining magnates in pursuit of CSG are facing many environmental issues. Governments such as the Queensland state government heavily regulate mining operations in order to enforce a strict set of standards that protect both heritage and environmental sustainability. However, with some organisations, the motivation for these ethical responsibilities lies within the continuation of profitable operations and evasion of legislative enforcements. Governments clearly have a responsibility to ensure that these projects do deliver real benefits to local regions and beyond, while minimising harm to the regions via social and environmental damage. Achieving this balance is vital in ensuring the long-term success of a CSG project by organisations.

CSG operations currently involve wells dug hundreds of metres into the earth’s surface to reach pockets of gas. In order to achieve this, large drills are used to bore into the earth’s surface and, in order to keep these drills lubricated and cool, large deposits of toxic water are pumped into drilled wells. At present, this toxic water is then mixed with cuttings of the coal seams and pumped to the surface as a contaminated mud waste. This waste product is then removed and pumped into large sump pits, which are then buried under the earth’s surface at a cost paid to the government. Environmental concerns raised about CSG include the disposal of toxic waste in water, soil and air; as well as the excessive use of water required in the production of CSG. The disposal of toxic waste is a vast issue by itself, impacting on environmental ecosystems and causing groundwater contamination.

Other issues include the drawbacks of produced water treatment and the level of salt in the water found in coal seams that comes to the surface. Another important issue is the process of fracking. Fracking occurs when CSG is released with the use of high pressure pumps, sand, water and chemicals. These are injected into bore wells to

fracture rocks and open cracks (cleats) to release natural gas. This process uses significant quantities of water, as extracting CSG relies heavily on reducing groundwater pressure that is absorbed between layers of rock. Due to decreasing levels of water, the salt that was present in the water increases. This is concerning, as the increased levels of salt can flow and resurface into groundwater that will, in turn, affect the drinking water, agriculture and wildlife. This can also impact on stakeholders such as communities, farmers and users of this water.

Contamination of water is a major concern for productive farmlands and communities as they bear the risk of health hazards. Farmlands, in relation to vegetation, livestock and agricultural crops, are also being affected through the contamination of water and soil. In addition to these water management risks, ‘CSG development could also cause significant social impacts by disrupting current land-use practices and the local environment through infrastructure construction and access’.

Communities have therefore raised concerns that many of these projects will have major environmental and social impacts, as large CSG development poses poorly assessed, yet potentially serious, health risks to the community. Consequently, there is the potential for long-term impacts on rural communities and for public health to be affected indirectly or directly through contamination of soil, air or water. Current monitoring, regulation and assessment of CSG impacts on public health, the environment and vulnerable communities may be insufficient in providing confidence of adequate safeguards.

During these uncertain times, the allocation of management teams and expertise will call for the involvement of diverse professions in order to cover a range of responsibilities that are needed to be applied if sustainable decisions are to be made. To Australia, the CSG industry presents important economic benefits. However, at the same time, it risks having long-term, significant impacts on adjacent surface and groundwater systems if not effectively regulated or managed.

A recent case study is Linc Energy and demise of its Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) Project near Chinchilla, Queensland. The following links provide some background information on the case.

Linc whistleblower says future CSG royalties prioritised over toxic contamination risk

Government’s own report finds ‘sufficient uncertainty’ about CSG proposal near contaminated site

‘No-one is providing transparency’: Audit questions compliance in Qld CSG regulation

Linc Energy found guilty of serious environmental harm at controversial UCG plant

The Scenario: You are a graduate environmental engineer employed at the main Injune’s site of Lincone Energies, a comprehensive Natural Gas (CSG/UCG) company. You monitor the surrounding properties (and responds) to any environmental changes and ensures that the company are compliant to the

Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004, and other local environmental regulations.

There has been a steady stream of anecdotal reports from local farmers that there are “toxic” gases emitting from local creeks especially after rainfall. You have received complaints from onsite workers who had treatment for gas burn in the eyes and nose. However, systems data collected do not indicate anything particulars that would be concerning.

You have been asked to investigate and write a report in response but seeking to dismiss and/or explain away the claims, and the data seems to support that “all is good”. This directive came right from the top and it was mentioned that “there is a lot at stake so don’t stuff it up”.

Rusty, your direct supervisor who is a 30yr drilling veteran also share similar concerns about the “leaks”, but is distrustful of government agencies saying, “I reckon we can get to the bottom of this, and sort it out ourselves… nip it in the bud so to speak”. Speaking from experience Rusty lamented, “Those top-cats in Bris-Vegas just looks after themselves, you just watch yourself mate, they will throw you under a bus if it works for them”.

The company’s drilling engineer and senior hydrogeologist are employed on contracts as external consultants, who are only engaged when required. You have met them a few times when they came on site, and you have their business cards on your desk. This scenario places you in a difficult position as an engineer and an employee. What are you going to do?

The Task: Identify and discuss the management (planning, organising, controlling, leading), legal, ethical, liability issues involved in this case. What courses of action would be appropriate for YOU to follow and deploy (starting immediately)? Explain your actions while reflecting on the various issues you identified and discussed.

This case study was adapted from Schermerhorn, John R. 2006, Management, 6th Asia- Pacific Edition, Wiley.

Notes:

  • Marks will be allocated in the following way:

Identification and Discussion of Issues:        Maximum 160 marks

  • Management Issues          40 mark
    • Legal/Contract Issues       40 mark
    • Ethics & Prof Practice     40 mark
    • Product Liability/IP         40 mark

Identification of courses of action:                                                         Maximum 90 marks Written Communication:                                                         Maximum 50 marks

Total                                                               Maximum 300 marks

  • The case should be examined and reported using the guidelines set out in ‘The Case Study’ section of the Introductory Book.
  • The information contained in the Case Study is considered sufficient to adequately answer the question. If, however, you consider that certain

assumptions are required, you may make these assumptions. Any assumptions made will need to be clearly stated. The possible penalty will be that if you make assumptions your mark will be downgraded, and it is likely that the more assumptions you make the greater will be the extent of the downgrading.

  • The answer should be no more than 3000 words. This is merely a guide and there is no penalty associated with this word count. The final section of the main body of the report should clearly identify the courses of action that Peter should follow. This section will be a major section of the report on which technical content will be judged. The conclusions reached and action recommended, however, will need to be supported by the arguments presented in the previous sections of the report. This final section should be between 200 and 250 words in length.
  • Your report should have a formal format with title page, executive summary, contents page and references. The report should be word processed.
  • The exact number of words in the report, and in the final section, should be reported on the Title Page.
  • Written communication will be assessed in this assignment and will contribute to your overall Communications mark in the course ENG3003 Engineering Management.
  • Please note that if plagiarism or cheating is detected in this assignment it will result in no marks for the assignment. Students should ensure they clearly understand the meaning of plagiarism and cheating. In particular, students should understand that while they may collaborate with other students on the conceptual ideas in their assignments, the final written report submitted by each student must be unique, and must not contain the written material of (a) any other student in the course, or (b) any other person without due acknowledgement.
  • All sources of information used in the preparation of the report should be adequately intext cited and referenced using Harvard AGPS Referencing Style, and you are recommended to consult resources and articles outside of the formal study materials. In particular, you will need to have consulted the Code of Ethics of the Institution of Engineers Australia or equivalent to discern and discuss the ethical issues.
  • If you wish to refer to legislation and/or case law, you may only use such material from either Australia, or the country in which you reside while undertaking this course, and you must adequately reference such material.
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