Group Coal Seam Gas v0

Topics: Natural gas, Methane, Coal Pages: 9 (8248 words) Published: April 26, 2015
Coal Seam Gas
Peter Tzannes, Zhao Zhang, Midhun Mathew, Nazanin Fard, Sejuti Paul

Abstract— This document

Keywords— CSG, fugitive emissions, fracturing, CSIRO

I. Introduction
The emerging Coal Seam Gas (CSG) industry in Australia is seen to provide unparalleled opportunities for Australia’s economic and regional development, through the delivery of numerous employment opportunities. Currently NSW produces 5% of its own gas; the remaining 95% is imported [11]. The main critical advantage of CSG is the reduction in pollutants in comparison to traditional mining, that is, fewer greenhouse gas emissions. However, the Coal Seam Gas industry is also strongly opposed by many, who cite possible risks to the environment including land and water resources along with the direct impacts to public health as grounds for prohibiting coal seam gas extraction. Much criticism has been presented in the media to condemn CSG extraction, with those that are opposed to the notion of gas extraction in and around residential areas along with other locations including vineyards, stables, farmland and in the vicinity of water catchments. The question remains, at a very broad level, is CSG dangerous? And if so, in what context. This report explores this question through a series of literature reviews of Australian and international publications. A number of academic sources were reviewed and experimental investigations analysed. Report scope is focused on Australia with investigations undertaken by the CSIRO Australia, Federal Department of the Environment, US Environmental Protection Agency, and Centre for Regional Law & Justice, The Australian Institute and other academic literature. The report is expanded to include an investigation of the examination & extraction of CSG, the technologies used in the processes, government and political issues, along with CSG emissions and its effects on human health and safety. Different aspects of the coal industry have been explored in order to gain a deeper understanding of the coal seam gas industry as a modern day energy source as well as air pollutant. The findings of these studies are presented based on our research and determination is made based on the safety and environmental impacts of CSG on its surroundings. A What is Coal Seam Gas?

Coal seam gas (CSG) is gaining momentum as an important resource of gas for residential and industrial use (pipeline gas) in Australia or exported (liquefied natural gas). At present, the production of CSG accounts for all of Australia’s unconventional gas usage. To understand why CSG can be dangerous, it is necessary to understand what its compositions are and the techniques used to extract it. CSG is a naturally occurring gas found in coal seam deposits at depths of 300m to 1000m beneath the earth’s surface. These gases have been formed by the remains of compressed plant matter over millions of years. Coal seam gas is made up of a number of gases but is composed mostly of methane gas, around 95-97% pure methane [3]. The gas does not rise to the surface as the “coal seams are generally filled with water and it is the pressure of the water that keeps the gas as a thin film on the surface of the coal (the technical term for this is 'adsorption') [12]. Sometimes this gas is also referred to as Coal Bed Methane (CBM) [3]. Natural gas can be classified in two distinct categories, either conventional or unconventional gas. The conventional gas types can easily rise to the surface through gas wells; these gas wells do not require a pump to pump the gas to the surface. The geology of the coal seam gas reservoirs from which they are produced classifies it as an unconventional gas type. Unconventional gases demand usage of innovative technologies as they are composed of complex geological systems which make them difficult to extract. The extraction of CSG requires a different process than that of conventional gas in two significant ways. The initial difference...

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[13] Lock the Gate Alliance, (2015). About Coal Seam Gas. [online] Available at: http://www.lockthegate.org.au/about_coal_seam_gas [Accessed 18 Jan. 2015].
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