A field trip to the NSW and Queensland gasfields was undertaken earlier this year. Of the eight active wells checked in the Pilliga, New South Wales by Clean Air Taskforce Thermographer Théophile Humann-Guilleminot four were found to be releasing gas and two of these were identified by the NSW EPA in 2019 as needing repair. Santos is now only required to check for leaks once every 12 months. This frequency is insufficient. NWPA previously reported on this issue here.
See the latest stories on the thermography investigation here: https://theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/aug/08/climate-heating-gas-released-from-dozens-of-australian-fossil-fuel-sites-environmental-group-claims and https://reneweconomy.com.au/methane-pollution-pouring-out-of-australian-gas-infrastructure-study-finds/
Humann-Guilleminot says he was shocked by emissions from Origin’s Talinga and Condamine gas field operations in particular, where methane was “pouring out” of equipment, sometimes from several different points. “I have personally undertaken methane fieldwork in eight countries and filmed at more than 250 fossil fuel sites. Doing this work in Australia was on another level,” he says.
50% of active wells checked in the Pilliga were leaking, 25% with more than one leak. This is a poor outcome. Santos claim that there are NO leaks. We are commenting here to Penny Sharpe – the NSW Environment Minister that transparency regarding the company & EPA reporting is needed. This issue is public interest. We should not have to GIPA.
From the above linked article in the Guardian: “A Santos spokesperson said the company responded to the claims of leaking & venting by running tests using thermal imagery & gas detection equipment” and “[Santos] said it was required to have independent inspections every 6 months at each of its gas infrastructure sites in NSW, most recently in May, and no leaks were detected.”
This is incorrect. EPL 20350 was recently varied to stretch monitoring to 12 Months.
Santos went on to comment: “There is no evidence that the ACF’s work is based on sound science, it has provided scant detail on its methodology and its results have not been replicated by regulators or qualified independent experts,” the spokesperson said.
There is no evidence that any monitoring that Santos and the EPA do is completed by trained and certified thermographers and based on sound scientific principles. The thermographer employed by the Clean Air Task Force is far superior in experience and training.
Leaking well 1: Bibblewindi 12 was part of the Flushby Rig Workover Program in October 22 which we comprehensively monitored
Leaking well 2: Bibblewindi 17 – Separator on – imperfect engineering solution allows for leaks (L2 controller). Visited as part of GasWatch in April 2023.
Leaking well 3: Bibblewindi 21H Ageing noisy well imaged by NSW EPA OGI leaking in June 2019 visited as part of GasWatch in April 2023
Leaking well 4: Bibblewindi 25, two leaks were recorded at this site.
Two of the leaking wells above can be seen in this video with the thermography process explained well by Adam Morton