By Fidelis Rego
A new CSIRO study may give researchers a better idea of whether coal seam gas (CSG) activity is causing methane seeps in Queensland’s Surat Basin.
CSIRO spokesman Dr Damian Barrett says methane naturally escapes into the atmosphere from places like the Surat Basin where there are large coal deposits.
“The outcome of this program of research will be to determine that natural variation of methane and also where those seeps are occurring in the landscape,” he said.
But he says as CSG activity in the basin ramps up, there is uncertainty over what role the industry has on seeps.
“We don’t know how much methane is naturally seeping to the atmosphere and we also don’t know the variation in these sources of methane,” he said.
His team will begin field surveys later this year and will also use a new laser technique to identify where the seeps are.
“Samples the atmosphere at two very precise wavelengths and one of those wavelengths is sensitive to methane,” he said.
Dr Barrett says it will give authorities baseline data to compare over the life of the CSG industry.
“We’ll be able to follow the eventual impacts on methane seeps to the atmosphere from these sources,” he said.
The project is funded through a partnership between the CSIRO and CSG companies.
Topics: research, earth-sciences, oil-and-gas, mining-rural, mining-environmental-issues, mining-industry, toowoomba-4350, kingaroy-4610
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