The Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency is initiating a review into how to measure greenhouse gas emissions from coal seam gas drilling, according to reports in the Sydney Morning Herald.
It has commissioned a consultancy to see how other people around the world estimate greenhouse gas emissions from coal seam gas.
The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency said the measurement process had recently been updated, but the external review and a public consultation period would further refine the results.
It has been using an estimate of 1.2 per cent of gas ultimately leaks to the atmosphere, rather than being combusted as a fuel.
But it noticed that the US Environmental Protection Agency has recentl estimated that leakage from shale gas fields is double that.
If the Australian government worked on this basis, it would collect twice as much money from gas companies in carbon tax as it does now, $3bn, rather than $1.5bn.
The government is also asking for public subsmissions on the best ways to measure these ‘fugitive emissions’, with submissions by Sept 14.