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Journalism

Nov 21, 2014

How the oil and gas lobby throws mud on peer-reviewed research

Crikey's business editor pulls apart a pro-CSG press release that is, to put it politely, a little bit bullshit.

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On Tuesday, Southern Cross University announced the publication of the first peer-reviewed study into fugitive greenhouse gas emissions from coal seam gas fields in Australia.

Two years ago the university put out its preliminary findings in the study, which looked at two CSG fields, one in Casino, New South Wales, and the other in Tara, Queensland. The study was slammed by industry and government because it identified significant coal-seam gas leakage in both fields. Martin Ferguson, then the minister for energy and resources, accused the two scientists behind the study of being motivated by “short-lived media opportunities”. The industry complained to the university about it. 

Now the trail-blazing study has been peer reviewed. The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association — a.k.a. “the voice of Austalia’s oil and gas industry” — put out this press release. Crikey’s business editor Paddy Manning pulls it apart. (You can see a larger version of the image here.)

 

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13 comments

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13 thoughts on “How the oil and gas lobby throws mud on peer-reviewed research

  1. Roger Clifton

    US gasfield leakages are visible from space.
    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/09oct_methanehotspot/
    The same satellite would be able to see our own leaky fields.

  2. paddy

    LOL Lovely work there Paddy.
    One minor nit though.
    It’s actually cow burps, rather than farts, that produce all that methane. (But I understand the the preference for fart jokes over a boring old burp.)

  3. Olan Getrat

    I seem to recall US data indicating that by the 20 or 30 year mark about half of gas wells are faulty e.g. corroded casings.

    What they will be like in 100 years is unknown, but it is likely to a major problem, not for gas so much as for groundwater. The degrading gas wells often link a number of aquifers of varying qualities thereby polluting the better aquifers used for irrigation and stock and domestic.

    But the gas companies will be long gone leaving at best a shell company holding the liabilities

    Such is the capitalist way.

  4. MJPC

    Paddy and Olan; and this is the nub of the issue I believe. When a well goes rogue (or many) who is going to be liable for the clean-up (even if it can be remediated; which appeasr unlikely)?
    If the company goes bankrupt the poor old taxpayer will be paying the cost of fixing the disaster.

  5. Norman Hanscombe

    Southern Cross is hardly one of Australia’s quality tertiary institutions, even if it’s called a university?

  6. Kevin_T

    Hi Norman Hanscombe,
    I am afraid that I don’t understand your question.

    Is there a suggestion that they are peer reviewed to a lower standard than other tertiary research?

    Regards, Kevin

  7. AR

    Nice way of dealing with such tripe – it is giving undue relevance to construct an article when just hi-liter marks are sufficient to show the feckless & feeble excuse for reason.

  8. max steinman

    Kevin_T, Norman is a climate change denialist, he has no idea what peer review even is.

  9. GF50

    Thanks Paddy, I often wonder if there is still a false advertising charge or penalty?

  10. James O'Neill

    There is actually an important point being made here. An inordinate amount of media space is given over to the special interests to promote their viewpoints. This is especially true of the extractive industries that have the Liberals and Labour well and truly in their pocket. Serious peer reviewed research is subject to the sort of disinformation taken apart in this excellent analysis.

    The SMH did a similar job yesterday on Julie Bishop’s defence of the government’s Great Barrier Reef claims which it described as “disingenuous and misleading”. If only a similarly rigorous analysis was applied to a range of other government and/or pronouncements.

  11. Olan Getrat

    “If only a similarly rigorous analysis was applied to a range of other government and/or pronouncements.”

    Next you will be asking for evidence-based policies.

  12. Bohemian

    I want to know why this caper seems to have started around the world about the same time and in each country it is allowed to get a foothold, it is destroying the environment and poisoning the water table and the lamestream media is silent as a dutiful servant is to their masters..Of course if you are in the industry you have to disagree or get out of it and if you are paid by the industry you are paid to find reasons that it is not destroying the environment and poisoning the water table. the fact is that there are too many unknowns in all of this and what is at stake cannot be repaired overnight and in some cases not at all.

    But you need to remember one thing..the people funding the new energy side, the clean energy side and the dirty energy side are all the same people.They own all the horses in the race folks so don’t get too upset. They win every time. It’s really a judgment call on their part as to when they let the new stuff get to the front.

  13. Roger Clifton

    @ Bohemian — On the contrary, it’s a judgment call on the part of you and your anti-kind as to when you let go of your ignorant fears of nuclear and let the only heavy duty non-carbon energy supply be legalised.

    The enemy is fossil carbon. What it will do to the environment is far worse than drilling, mining and farming are currently doing to the landscape.

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