Fierce opposition to gas mining may hit Australia
A WORLD energy revolution is afoot, as the United States prepares to briefly overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer, but Australia's own resources upheaval could be jeopardised by fierce opposition to mining underground gas.
By using new technology to mine underground shale oil and gas, the International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook published a forecast for the United States to supply itself enough oil and energy that it no longer needs Middle Eastern suppliers.
But for Australia, the IEA used the report to repeat its view that public opposition to "unconventional gas" - which includes coal seam and shale gas - could endanger this country's own aspirations for a "gas revolution".
Protests in Queensland and New South Wales from anti-CSG groups continue as energy companies explore, develop gas wells and plan refineries.
According to the IEA report, there were "concerns about the environmental impact of producing unconventional gas that, if not properly addressed, could halt the unconventional gas revolution in its tracks".
It recommended strict legislation for companies to prove their environmental credentials.
The peak body for gas and oil companies - the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association - agreed with the IEA, that industry ensured a strong environmental approach.
"It would be poor business practice to behave in any other fashion," a spokesman said.
"Today's modern gas production industry, which operates under a strict regulatory environment is already setting higher benchmarks and standards for itself and other industries."
In Queensland alone, three giant CSG projects worth a combined total of $50 billion are being developed.
Each will be designed to convert the CSG into liquefied natural gas for export from near Gladstone.
Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Tony Mohr said public opposition stemmed from concerns that scientific research was yet to give CSG the all-clear.
Mr Mohr said as renewable energy technology fell in price, it proved CSG to be an unnecessary endeavour.
"We don't need to run the risks created by CSG," he said.
"We can afford to leave that gas in the ground and leave our groundwater supplies and valuable lands as they are - intact."