Life-cycle emissions study outlines CSG greenhouse benefit

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) has released an independent study outlining the greenhouse gas benefits associated with Australia expanding its coal seam gas (CSG) industry.

Produced by the global engineering consultancy WorleyParsons, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Study of Australian CSG to LNG provides a life-cycle comparison of the greenhouse gas emissions of Australian liquefied natural gas (LNG) derived from CSG and imported black coal, from extraction and processing in Australia to combustion in China for power generation.

The independent, peer-reviewed analysis states that coal combusted in a subcritical, supercritical or ultra-supercritical pulverised coal plant produces (respectively) 87 per cent, 51 per cent and 43 per cent more life-cycle GHG emissions per MWh than CSG-LNG combusted in a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant.

For every tonne of CO2 emissions associated with the CSG-LNG production and use, up to 4.3 tonnes of emissions are avoided when the gas is used instead of imported coal by Chinese power generators. A CSG-LNG project exporting 10 million tonnes of LNG per annum to China could avoid more than 37 million tonnes of global CO2 emissions each year.

APPEA’s chief operating officer – eastern Australia, Rick Wilkinson said the report supports the work of the CSIRO, Sydney University, the International Energy Agency, and the Australian Energy Market Operator in finding gas to be a significantly cleaner energy source than coal.

“With around 80 per cent of Chinese electricity coming from coal, the release of this first full life-cycle analysis of CSG and its greenhouse gas emissions footprint clearly shows that using Australian gas to substitute for just some of that offers a significant and practical response to rising global emissions,” Mr Wilkinson said.