CLIMATE SPECTATOR reports:A new report commissioned by the peak body of the oil and gas industry suggests that claims coal seam gas exports are up to 70 per cent cleaner than coal exports over their life cycle may not actually be valid. The report by Worley Parsons finds that this is true when compared to coal technologies that are no longer deployed, but it also finds that the life-cycle emissions of CSG may be higher than those of black coal used in the most modern coal plants currently being built in China.
Accounting for the life-cycle emissions of CSG has become a highly contentious point in the debate about the industry, and resistance to it, in particular, from the farming community. The Worley Parsons report, commissioned by the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, analyses a range of scenarios comparing CSG used in baseload and peaking plants, with a range of coal-fired technologies used in China.
While in the best case scenario, CSG does match the claims of the industry that it can be up to 70 per cent cleaner than coal, particularly when replacing the dirtier subcritical coal technology that the Chinese no longer build, the report notes that gas-fired power is likely to add to capacity in China, rather than compete against coal. “An existing coal-fired plant will not be taken off line and replaced by a gas fired plant," it says. "And, in general, large supercritical and ultra-supercritical plants of up to 1000MW are being built to replace redundant small, inefficient coal plants.”