The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association has called for greater scientific rigour from academics who purport to have the latest techniques for assessing the gas industry’s environmental impact.

APPEA Chief Operating Officer Eastern Region Rick Wilkinson said today the gas industry welcomed robust, peer-reviewed scientific research but cautioned against the endorsement of incomplete or premature research that lacked proper scientific scrutiny.

“Incomplete research from Southern Cross University academics this week lacks the basics of scientific rigour,” Mr Wilkinson said.

“What is presented as research is in reality a funding submission.

“The claim that large-scale fugitive gas emissions are a result of coal seam gas production, before they even do their research, seems to indicate a bias against coal seam gas.

“This does them no credit and it diminishes the good work by many other scientists in an age where scientific endeavour has been wearied by community scepticism.

“The research is notable through omission rather than content and seems squarely aimed at natural gas production rather than all sources of actual and potential greenhouse gas emissions.

“Irrespective of any difference in readings, the fact people assume that difference is because of the presence of a gas industry suggests a flawed methodology.”

Production of natural gas from coal seams represents just 0.3% of all emissions as recorded by the National Greenhouse Inventory.

According to the Australian Government, livestock emissions alone make up about 12% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions or 70% of our agriculture emissions. (1)
Mr Wilkinson said a similar study in the United States using a drive-by measurement technology in 2008 was criticised by a respected Cornell University scientist for its lack of rigour. (2) “Gas emissions have been recorded as naturally occurring in Queensland as far back as 1895.”

(1) http://www.daff.gov.au/climatechange/australias-farming-future/livestock-emissions

(2) Cathles III, L. M., (2012), Comments on Petron et al.’s (2012) inference of methane emissions from the Denver-Julesburg Basin from air measurements at the Bolder Atmospheric Observatory Tower, Technical report, Cornell University, http://www.geo.cornell.edu/eas/PeoplePlaces/Faculty/cathles/Gas%20Blog%20PDFs/