Gloucester Gas Pipeline
|This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.|
The Gloucester Gas Pipeline was a proposed natural gas pipeline.
The pipeline would run from Gloucester, New South Wales, to Hexham, New South Wales.
- Operator: AGL Energy
- Parent Company: AGL Energy
- Current Capacity:
- Proposed Capacity:
- Length: 62 Miles / 100 kilometers
- Status: Cancelled
- Start Year:
AGL Energy's Gloucester Gas Pipeline was proposed to carry coal seam gas (CSG) from the Gloucester Gas Project. In February 2016 AGL announced that the Gloucester Gas Project and Gloucester Gas Pipeline had both been cancelled. AGL attributed the cancellation to market volatility. However Graham Lloyd, columnist for The Australian, wrote that the retreat of CSG in New South Wales "represents the culmination of years of corporate misadventure, government paralysis and regulatory ineptitude."
The Gloucester Gas Project and other CSG projects have been the focus of protests by environmentalists and residents of affected communities in New South Wales. In 2013, Drew Hutton, founder of the Lock The Gate Alliance said, "“There are two areas that are going to be key battlegrounds for us. The Pilliga for environmental concerns and Gloucester for landholder concerns.’’ In Gloucester, protests have focused on the potential that the chemicals used in fracking for CSG have to damage water quality, agriculture, tourism, and human health. Protests have also focused on land rights and the ability of energy companies to explore and drill for coal and gas without property owners' consent.
Coal Seam Gas
Coal seam gas is found in coal seams, where underground water pressure keeps it contained. Pumping water out of the coal seam releases this pressure and allows gas to escape from the coal into a well. Coal seam gas wells produce large volumes of water (averaging 10,000 litres of water per day per well in Queensland). This water can contain salt and other contaminants that exist normally in coal seams in varying concentrations.
According to the Lock The Gate Alliance, the impacts of coal seam gas mining include "encroachment on good farming land, disruption of other land uses and industries, clearing of bushland, air pollution, contamination or depletion of ground or surface water, pollution of waterways, health impacts on workers and nearby residents, and damage to biodiversity."
The practice also raises concerns about global warming because methane is a relatively potent greenhouse gas with a high global warming potential 72 times that of carbon dioxide (averaged over 20 years) or 25 times that of carbon dioxide (averaged over 100 years), according to the IPCC's Third Assessment Report. (Note that the global warming potential of methane was estimated at 21 times that of carbon dioxide, averaged over 100 years, in the IPCC Second Assessment Report, and the 21 figure is currently used for regulatory purposes in the United States.) Methane in the atmosphere is eventually oxidized, producing carbon dioxide and water. This breakdown accounts for the decline in the global warming potential of methane over longer periods of time.
Articles and resources
- AGL abandons Gloucester gas pipeline, The Australian Pipeliner, Feb. 22, 2016
- No, it wasn’t the protests, it was economic reality that stalled CSG, The Australian, Feb. 6, 2016
- Groundswell Gloucester, Groundswell Gloucester, accessed March 2018
- CSG: Can you really lock the gate?, ABC, Oct. 17, 2011
- The coal seam gas debate, Parliament of Australia, accessed February 2018
- Unconventional Gas Facts: About Coal Seam Gas, Lock The Gate Alliance, Aug. 14, 2015
- Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)"Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis: 2.10.2 Direct Global Warming Potentials", IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007, Cambridge University Press, 2007.
- "Methane," U.S. Environmental Protection Agency information page, accessed July 2010