Methane concentrations in the Beetaloo Sub-basin in the Northern Territory are now being monitored by CSIRO.
The monitoring comes as part of the Northern Territory Government’s promise to accept the recommendations put forward in the independent Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory.
CSIRO Research Director Onshore Gas and GISERA Director, Dr Damian Barrett, said CSIRO was looking forward to offering support in this area.
“CSIRO’s GISERA has demonstrated its ability to deliver independent, trusted and transparent advice on gas development issues and we look forward to expanding our support into the Top End,” Dr Barrett said.
The monitoring will measure the amount of naturally occurring methane already present in the area and identify sources where elevated methane levels are found. These baseline figures will help determine the level of any future potential fugitive emissions from the onshore gas industry.
Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industry and Resources, Ken Vowles, said the monitoring would take place in both the wet and dry seasons.
“The independent scientific report into hydraulic fracturing found that risks could be mitigated if all the recommendations of their report were implemented.
“As recommended in the independent report, the methane monitoring will take place over six months and, by starting now, it will cover both the dry season and the wet season.
“Monitoring will provide the government and the community with robust, transparent and representative baseline measurements of background methane emissions.
“This will give a true representation of existing methane readings. The results from the survey will be made available to the public,” Mr Vowles said.
To measure methane levels over the next six months, CSIRO researchers will use mobile survey methods and technology on previously granted exploration permits in the Beetaloo Sub-basin area.
The methane monitoring project is carried out through CSIRO’s Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA) to ensure independent scientific information that is of the highest calibre.