The chief operating officer for Apex Energy NL, Chris Rogers, contacted Stop CSG Illawarra on April 5.
He accused the group, which is campaigning against coal seam gas (CSG) projects in the region, of publishing two inaccuracies on its website: that drilling had already commenced and that CSG’s contribution to global warming is equally as bad, if not worse, than coal.
Jess Moore, spokesperson for Stop CSG Illawarra, responded to Rogers on April 22. She said the community has a right to know the full facts of CSG mining and that a Royal Commission into all impacts of CSG mining is needed.
Moore said: “The first point you make is contradictory. You say ‘drilling has not commenced at all’ and ‘drilling took place in early 2004’. As the Darkes Forest-1 well has been drilled, we stand by the comment that ‘drilling has already commenced’ …
“You ask us to ‘research [our] facts on natural gas, CSG and coal as well as their respective greenhouse gas effects’. We have and will continue to do so. Our findings reflect the global warming impact of CSG mining is as bad, if not worse than coal.
“While less carbon dioxide is emitted from burning gas than burning coal to generate the same amount of energy, a comparison simply on this basis is misleading.
“Additional greenhouse gas emissions are generated during the development, processing, and transport of gas, equal to about one third of those released during combustion.
“Further, the methane that leaks without being burnt warms the atmosphere at — according to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (2009) — 105 times the rate of CO2 over a 20-year period.
“The inventory of US Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks put figures for methane leakage at a conservative 1.5% of the gas consumed. Howarth (2010) puts it at 3.6% to 7.9% for shale gas. Either figure means that CSG mining has a greater warming impact than coal over 20 years.”
Illawarra CSG asked Rogers for a “guarantee that hydraulic fracturing will not be used as a method of extraction by Apex or any associated entities in the Illawarra”.
Apex's website currently says “we have no intention to complete any wells via the fraccing completion method” because “we do not believe that fraccing will produce sustained commercial gas flow results in the current areas of influence”.
Stop CSG Illawarra argues this “intention” contradicts other Apex actions and statements, whereby Apex sought and gained approval for a borehole to be fracked in the Illawarra.
Rogers responded to Stop CSG Illawarra’s clarifications and questions. The entire body of his email read:
“[Darkes Forest-1] was drilled on 2004. This is the only Apex energy drilled hole anywhere in the universe to date regardless of your inaccurate information. As for your other comments, nothing I can ever say or do would convince you otherwise so let's just leave it at that.”
Moore told Green Left Weekly that Stop CSG Illawarra will continue to campaign for a Royal Commission into all impacts of CSG mining, a moratorium on CSG mining until the outcome of the Royal Commission, and a ban on fracking.
[For more details visit http://stop-csg-illawarra.org/ ]