Fugitive emissions and natural gas seeps

Fugitive emissions

Fugitive emissions refer to unintended releases of gas from industry operations.

In the oil and gas industry, this includes methane released from exploration drilling, production testing and well completion, and gas production activities.

The industry reports emissions from all stages of CSG production, supply and use to the Department of Environment and the Clean Energy Regulator under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 and reported publicly in Australia’s National Greenhouse Accounts.

Australia’s total estimated fugitive emissions for 2013 were 38.2 Mt CO2-e – about 7% of net national emissions. Oil and natural gas production, processing and distribution account for 31.4% of fugitive emissions. The remaining 68.6% was produced by the coal industry.

Fugitive emissions from Australian oil and gas operations fell by 13.6% between 1990 and 2013 – despite a 55.6% increase in production over that period – according to the Australian Government’s submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The gas industry supports research being undertaken by the CSIRO to investigate fugitive emissions from Natural CSG production in Australia. For more information see this link.

Natural gas seeps in Queensland

GasFields Commission Queensland has undertaken a historical data search that has identified the existence of natural gas seeps from the Surat, Eromanga, Cooper, Georgina, Bowen and Galilee basins.

These soil gas surveys demonstrate that landscape gas seeps existed naturally before the recent expansion of the onshore gas industry in Queensland.

As early as 1889, people drilling for water are recorded to have encountered naturally occurring gas seeps and accumulations.

One of these was tapped early last century to light the streets of Roma.


Roma gas works


For regional maps of gas seeps, see this webpage.