04 Jul 2016

Dear Editors,

Peter Hannam’s 3 July article (‘Coming apart at the seams’ Sunday Age, Leaks weaken ‘clean energy’ viability of gas Sun-Herald ) is notable for omissions about existing fugitive emissions research in Australia.

It’s an undeniable fact that natural gas, including coal seam gas (CSG), is a cleaner form of energy suitable for electricity generation, industry and households.

Increasing its use can deliver immediate and substantial carbon savings, as already seen in the US, which has materially decreased its greenhouse gas emissions in recent years.

Emissions from all stages of natural gas production are monitored, measured and reported.

Total crude oil and natural gas fugitive emissions, which includes the entire industry and so is much broader than just CSG, represents just 2.7% of total Australian emissions.

Nonetheless, industry supports ongoing CSIRO fugitive emissions and methane seepage research into naturally occurring and production equipment seeps. Satellite imagery and direct measurements are already a part of the Australian research scene. It was a pity Mr Hannam did not make mention of this.

The CSIRO 2014 examination of CSG wells found the median emission rate per well was about the same as the daily methane emissions from four cows.

Constant monitoring of wells and infrastructure is a daily part of gas production operations.

After all, industry is in the business of capturing natural gas, not letting it go.

Yours sincerely,

Rick Wilkinson
Chief Technical Officer