Industry: Four cows produce same methane as CSG wells

THE national mouthpiece of Australia's coal seam gas industry is celebrating after research from the CSIRO found CSG wells emit methane at a rate it believes equals that of four cows.

The CSIRO monitored emissions from 43 wells across Queensland and New South Wales for the Federal Department of Environment.

It found that of those 43, only three released no emissions -- two of those were plugged and another had been disconnected.

The other 40 all released some methane but "generally the emission rates were very low", particularly compared to the amount of gas being extracted from each well.

Of those, 19 produced less than half a gram per minute of methane, while almost all produced less than three grams a minute. On average, about 0.6g per minute was produced per minute.

According to the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, that's on par with what's released by four farting cows.

APPEA Chief Executive David Byers said it was an "important and technically rigorous study by the CSIRO".

"While the study notes there are a number of other areas requiring further investigation, it is significant that these initial findings based on actual measurements show fugitive emissions are a small fraction (less than 0.02%) of CSG production," he said.

Mr Byers said there were "substantial environmental benefits" from producing more gas, including CSG as it was cleaner than other forms of energy.

He called on the Federal Government to recognise the benefits of CSG and natural gas to boost Australia's competitiveness.

In the report, the CSIRO researchers warn that this study looked at very few wells, so it does not represent a broad image of the booming industry.

It also reported that there were "many other potential emission points" as part of producing gas that were not included in the study, including water treatment, pipelines and LNP processing plants.