Coal seam gas is very similar to shale gas – despite industry claims

Published: September 21, 2011

The president of the Lock the Gate Alliance, Drew Hutton, today apologised for accidentally using the wrong terminology in the Alliance's submissions to the NSW upper house inquiry and the federal Senate inquiry into coal seam gas but re-affirmed his belief that the coal seam gas industry was deliberately misleading the public by claiming shale gas has nothing to do with coal seam gas.

"The Lock the Gate submission used 'coal seam gas' instead of the wider term 'unconventional gas' but there is not a world of difference between the two types, as the industry claims," Mr Hutton said.

"Both types use fracking, they both have extensive pipeline networks and well heads that can leak and they both involve extensive land clearing that releases greenhouse gas emissions."

"Shale gas undoubtedly uses more pressure when injecting fracking fluids underground but coal seam gas can often use more energy than shale gas because it uses reverse osmosis to clean the extracted water and so much on liquefying the gas for export. This does not happen with shale gas extraction in the US becuase there is much less water extracted and most of their gas is for dometic consumption..

"A 2010 study by the US EPA, in fact, stated that previous studies of unconventional gas – shale, coal seam and tight sands – had substantially under-estimated the carbon footprint of these gases.

Mr Hutton said the real problem was that there had been nowhere near enough research done on the carbon footprint of coal seam gas before governments gave approvals to the industry and the companies started talking up the 'clean and green' characteritics of the product.

He said he looked forward to a rigorous science-based debate on the relative merits of coal CSG/LNG in the months ahead.


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