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Fugitive emissions claim presents new challenges for CSG

According to recent media reports, Queensland’s coal seam gas industry could face a $4 billion carbon tax bill if ‘fugitive’ emissions of methane turn out to be higher than first estimated.

Currently the Federal Government estimates that 0.12 per cent of gas escapes into the atmosphere during production and this figure is used to calculate carbon tax liability for the gas industry.

However, if recent studies from the U.S. and also Australia are correct, the actual figure could be 4 per cent or higher.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that “The US Environmental Protection Agency has doubled its own estimate of fugitive emissions to 2.4 per cent and Australia’s Department of Climate Change is also reviewing its methodology for calculating greenhouse gas emissions from coal seam gas operations, for potential use in the 2013 National Greenhouse Accounts.”

However the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) has called for greater scientific rigour from academics.

APPEA Chief Operating Officer Eastern Region Rick Wilkinson said “The gas industry welcomes robust, peer-reviewed scientific research but cautions against the endorsement of incomplete or premature research that lacks proper scientific scrutiny.”

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