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Whole of life cycle greenhouse gas assessment of the exploitation of the Surat Basin gas reserve: global benefits and risks

This project assesses the whole of life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of the exploitation of the Surat Basin natural gas reserve including extraction, transportation and usage. The analysis of GHG emissions will include domestic and offshore usage of the gas including for electricity generation in Asia. The project employs a novel hybrid approach of environmentally extended input-output (EEIO) analysis and life cycle analysis (LCA) to measure direct and indirect (embodied) emissions related to the gas reserve. It then compares the emissions of gas use for electricity generation to emissions of other forms of generation to report on the benefits and risks including emissions, climate and health impacts. The project uses I-O tables with a high geographical and sector resolution that are now available through the IE Lab. I-O analysis will establish hot spots of GHG emissions which will be further analysed using LCA. Results from both analytical tools are integrated in one hybrid analytical framework which utilises the strengths and corrects for the weaknesses of each approach. The analysis of GHG emissions follows international accounting standards that have been applied for nations, cities, businesses and products. Whole of life cycle emission accounting for a whole natural resource reserve is a novel application, however, which puts GISERA partners in a unique leadership position in coherent and comprehensive reporting for the complete greenhouse gas emissions, climate and health impacts of utilising a gas reserve in Australia and offshore. The knowledge base established through this research is relevant for business decisions and policy formulation in the context of energy security and global efforts for moving toward a low carbon energy system. It will assist GISERA to establish the merit of natural gas as a transition fuel especially in the context of energy needs in developing and emerging economies and the associated benefits and risks.

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