CSG methane pollution “significant” at QLD workover site: CSIRO report reveals

Published: June 01, 2017

The Lock the Gate Alliance has welcomed a new CSIRO report that has produced findings highlighting far more research is required to measure the methane emissions from the unconventional gas extraction process.

Naomi Hogan from the Lock the Gate Alliance said, "This CSIRO study reveals that the single CSG workover they measured caused, "more than 21 tonnes of methane" a "substantial release of gas" to be "vented into the atmosphere".

“Just 24 hours at that one workover rig at one well released the equivalent of 525 tonnes of CO2. This is a fairly alarming rate of methane venting, considering it may not be properly accounted for by the Government currently.

“There are thousands of CSG workovers occurring in QLD, it’s an ongoing procedure that can range from replacing well tubing or pumps, or resetting a well due to changing flow conditions.

“The bottom line is there could be tens of thousands of tonnes of raw menthane being vented into the atmosphere from unconventional gasfields in Australia that have not been properly accounted for.

“This "substantial release" of gas at the one workover site reveals there is a large body of research yet to complete on measuring the true methane emissions from unconventional gasfields in Australia.

"This study did not examine the emissions from drilling, hydraulic fracturing and the liquid flowback period, yet the report admits these practises: "have been identified as one of the main emission routes from unconventional gas production in the United States".

"Top down satellite measurements of unconventional gasfields in the United States show methane emissions to be 5%-17% of total gas production - a dangerously high methane figure that should be investigated fully in Australia.

“Farmers’ on-ground experience in QLD also shows that the high point vents across coal seam gas projects are a huge source of unregulated emissions that warrant further investigation by the CSIRO.

"This study confirms that far greater work is required to measure methane emissions from unconventional gas sites in Australia, and highlights the importance of baseline studies before a decision is made on projects like the proposed Narrabri gasfield in north-west NSW,” she said.

The CSIRO report is available here: http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/862e56d7-664a-4479-a30b-a2d58470d953/files/csiro-csg-well-completions-report.pdf

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