Moomba to Sydney Gas Pipeline
|This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.|
The Moomba to Sydney Pipeline is an operating natural gas pipeline.
The pipeline runs from the Cooper basin gas fields at Moomba in South Australia to gas distribution systems in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, and Canberra.
- Operator: East Australian Pipeline Limited
- Parent Company: APA Group
- Current Capacity: 489 terajoules per day (452.2 million cubic feet per day)
- Length: 1,293 Miles / 2,081 kilometers
- Status: Operating
- Start Year: 1976
The Moomba to Sydney Pipeline (MSP) is operated by Eastern Australian Pipeline Limited, which is owned by APA Group. In 2008, the completion of the QSN Link pipeline meant that the Moomba to Sydney Pipeline began carrying coal seam gas from the Bowen-Surat basin in Queensland. In 2015, the MSP was reversed so gas would flow from Sydney to Moomba and then north to Gladstone to feed LNG export trains.
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 environmental group 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
- Moomba Sydney Pipeline System, Australian Energy Market Commission, accessed February 2018
- How the big three robbed us of our own gas, Sydney Morning Herald, Mar. 16, 2017
- 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