CSG report questioned

THINK TANK the Australia Institute has stood by claims fugitive emissions of methane from coal-seam gas operations have been underestimated following criticism of the claim by a petroleum industry group.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) wrote to the institute asking it to correct and retract a document written by senior economist Matt Grudnoff released this month.

The report potentially damaged claims coal-seam gas is a more environmentally friendly "bridging" fuel in the transition to full renewable energy.

The paper stated fugitive emissions - that is, gas which escaped unburnt into the atmosphere during extraction, processing and transportation - was significantly higher than emissions in the production of conventional gas.

Currently fugitive emissions from coal-seam gas operations are assumed at 1.2% of all gas extracted based on a formula.

However, the institute concluded actual emissions would be higher.

But APPEA hit out at the institute claiming the report was based on discredited US research, used shale-gas research which did not relate to the Australian coal-seam gas context, and contained methodological errors.

"The approach taken in the report appears to be driven by an overwhelming desire to deny the important and long-term role (unconventional gas) will play in the region's cleaner energy future," aspokesman for APPEA said.

However, Mr Grudnoff, said he distinguished coal- seam from shale gas operations and did not rely on the US research.

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