Green group fired up on 'inconvenient' report
A MAJOR energy consultancy has been accused of suppressing a report that might have cast doubt on industry assurances that coal seam gas is a much cleaner fuel than coal.
A MAJOR energy consultancy has been accused of suppressing a report that might have cast doubt on industry assurances that coal seam gas is a much cleaner fuel than coal.Green group Beyond Zero Emissions, which advocates the development of renewable energy, commissioned a report from consultant WorleyParsons in June. The report, completed in September, is believed to raise questions about the leakage of greenhouse gases such as methane from coal seam gas projects.Beyond Zero, which has not received the report, is accusing the company of holding it back to protect its lucrative business with the gas industry."We have a contract for the delivery of this report," Beyond Zero executive director Matthew Wright told The Age."The report has been completed and the fact that its findings are inconvenient for the gas industry and WorleyParsons is not a good enough reason for its suppression. It is of the utmost importance that the proper scientific research into the true emissions impact of coal seam gas sees the light of day."Green groups including Beyond Zero argue the jury is still out on industry claims that gas, taken across its lifetime from extraction to burning, is significantly lower in greenhouse gas emissions than coal.Mr Wright said "fugitive emissions" such as leakage from gas wells meant that the life cycle of gas may turn out to be little cleaner than coal. The report he commissioned was also tasked with investigating little-understood "migratory emissions" in which gas, released by the removal of ground water, moves through aquifers and leaks out of other bores, often kilometres away.The disputed report is believed to highlight the fact that there is no Australian data on fugitive emissions and to recommend the use of technology such as lasers to measure the leaks.Industry group the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association previously commissioned a report by WorleyParsons that the industry claimed backed the carbon credentials of gas.APPEA chief operating officer for eastern Australia, Rick Wilkinson, told the ABC's Radio National: "The answer's consistent ... gas is better than coal when you use it for generation. It's just proving hard for the greens to accept the science."WorleyParsons said it "rejects out of hand the baseless claims allegedly made by Matthew Wright of Beyond Zero Emissions". It acknowledged Beyond Zero had engaged the company to write a report. But it said Beyond Zero and WorleyParsons "subsequently agreed not to proceed with this report".The company also said it had submitted a report on the life cycle GHG emissions for Australian gas via a peer-reviewed scientific journal.WorleyParsons, a $6 billion ASX-listed company, has large deals with the resources sector, including a $580 million contract with gas giant QGC.