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Fracked: Govt claims a massive 'green' gas expansion in Queensland

Business

The State Government has started to paint a proposed expansion of the state’s gas production as green but also revealed it would come with social risk.

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A concept report into a planned Bowen Basin gas pipeline released this week revealed the project could unlock about 2775 petajoules of gas, enough to meet Australia’s demand for several years.

But it would probably mean the controversial practice of fracking would be used to release the gas and that had social and environmental risks, the report said.

And while an east coast gas shortage was anticipated by as early as 2025, it would take seven years to open the new gas field and southern states would have to build LNG import terminals to overcome their shortfalls.

Under the plan, the Moranbah region would have a peak of about 1000 wells with another 1100 in the Mahalo area and 632 in the Blackwater region.

And the report also indicated that renewables were not at anywhere near the levels previously claimed by the Government. The report claimed it was only at 15 per cent of the state’s total, far less than the 20 per cent previously claimed by the Government and less than the Auditor General estimated in a report last year.

Resources Minister Scott Stewart said the report found opening the Bowen Basin to gas development could bring environmental and economic benefits for Queensland and make “meaningful progress’’ towards the Government’s target of 30 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 and zero net emissions by 2050.

The report claimed that without development of the basin and assuming no coal mine methane capture, by 2030 the annual fugitive emissions from open cut and underground coal mines was estimated at approximately 29mt CO2-equivalent.

Stewart said the report showed that the reduction in fugitive emissions from coal mine methane capture outweighed the potential emissions impact from developing the Bowen Basin as a coal seam gas province.

“This means that the pipeline would bring low emission gas to market, and it could also reduce the emissions impact of coal mines in the area, which is a big win-win for all involved.”

But the report shows it isn’t that easy because coal mine emissions are not easy to capture and miners claim it can’t be done economically unless infrastructure is close by.

And it also said finance was pivoting away from fossil fuels so funding the massive amount of infrastructure would be an issue.

The report also found that hydrogen development would have an impact on gas consumption and Queensland would produce about 1 million tonnes of H2 by 2036 and Victoria would be the nation’s biggest consumer with 1.5 million tonnes.

Shares in Blue Energy, which would benefit from a Bowen Basin gas pipeline, jumped 13 per cent on the report’s release.

 

 

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