Woodside commercially-in-confidence reports put the lie to “clean gas” myth
Media Release – Monday, April 11th, 2011
The Australian Greens say Woodside-commissioned confidential reports into the carbon footprint of Australian gas have revealed industry claims that gas is a clean fuel are greatly overstated.
Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam said the gas industry had significantly exaggerated the benefit of LNG production as a substitute for coal-fired power generation.
“Woodside, Inpex, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association and others in the gas industry have made a great play of claiming that for every tonne of greenhouse gases emitted in Australia in LNG production, four to nine million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions are avoided globally, thanks to avoiding the need to build coal-fired stations,” said Senator Ludlam. “This oft-repeated mantra was always suspect, and now has been exposed as totally disingenuous by the release of the Woodside commercially-in-confidence reports on which it is often referenced.”
“The reports, by CSIRO in 1996 and WorleyParsons in 2008, show that at best gas’s overall cycle greenhouse gas footprint is around 45 per cent cleaner than coal – not nine times.
“The industry’s claim of a one to four or nine emission ratio compares only the emissions in LNG production versus the total life cycle emissions of coal, including extraction, processing, shipping and combustion in the destination country. It ignores the emissions caused in extracting and shipping the gas and then burning it as a fuel.
“I am appalled that the Australian gas industry would present the data in such a misleading way. Other independent studies, including a 2007 study by Carnegie Mellon University, show that gas is overall only about seven per cent cleaner than coal.
“Quite apart from the real facts shown up in the Woodside reports, most of the proposed new gas fields in Australia are going to involve higher emissions per unit of energy produced than in the past, because the industry is now looking at deeper and harder-to-extract fields, many of which, such as Browse, have particularly high amounts of reservoir CO2 which the proponents appear to intend to simply vent straight to the atmosphere.
“This revelation has made it clear once again that gas is not the answer. Renewable energies are the answer. Australia is abundantly blessed with renewable energy sources but lags embarrassingly behind the rest of the world in development – this must change,” said Senator Ludlam.
Media Contact: Giovanni Torre