Mar 20, 2012

Behind the Seams: the science behind CSG’s clean credentials

Much more adequate data and detailed modelling must be carried out before a science-based public policy position can be reached on the issue of CSG and its clean energy status, writes FAQ Research's Rebecca McNicholl.

The development of the coal seam gas to liquefied natural gas industry is currently a contentious issue in Queensland. Election promises of moratoriums and regional bans for the industry reflect the degree of public concern over the apparent lack of scientific understanding of the industry’s environmental impacts. In a bid to restore public confidence, government and industry have funded the establishment of several independent research bodies to undertake further scientific research into the industry’s environmental impacts.

The industry position on science and evidence-based public policy

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6 thoughts on “Behind the Seams: the science behind CSG’s clean credentials

  1. Douglas Evan

    What an excellent, careful, balanced review of the status of this new but definitely not clean fossil fuel. We should, but almost certainly won’t, proceed with extreme caution.

  2. Makem Alfred

    Rebecca Mitchell is on the right track here but the actual local situation is more complicated than she imagines. Every gasfield has its own gas composition with its own uniqe impurities that is either separated off at the wellhead or at the primary separation plant. I know of a large regional gasfield in Australia with between 15 and 20% CO2 composition that is flared to atmosphere, and therefore I think is accounted for in ‘fugitive emissions’ before the carbon footprint for that gas stream is determined. This CO2 gets dealt with off-balance sheet. In other words the gas is nominally ‘clean’, but only because it has been ‘cleaned’. This has been standard ‘clean’ gas deception for years. Officially all streams should be analysed at source or as near to source as possible but this is conveniently ignored if the data can be massaged to advantage. There is a huge fiddle-factor going on in this business and its time it was sorted out. One organisation recently employed another section of Worley Parsons to carry a similar investigation but Worley Parsons top brass had it pulled when it contradicted their APPEA stuff. Rebecca Mitchell should contact me. Alf Makem

  3. Douglas Evan

    Oh I forgot to say I really hope John Quiggin is paying attention. His previous effort was far below his usual thoughtful standard.

  4. Omar Khayyam

    Thank you Rebecca, a well written article clearly placing this ‘new’ fuel in its proper perspective.

  5. Rebecca McNicholl

    The units for the well workover factor (paragraph 15) as they appear in this article are incorrect. My apologies. The correct units are‘CH4 – metric tons/year-workover’. The correct units were used when performing calculations.

  6. Rebecca McNicholl

    Hi Doulgas, Alfred and Omar. Thank you for your feedback. Much appreciated.

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