Burning Coal Gas Locally

21 April, 2007



















What Does Coal Gas Flaring Operation Looks Like

Some interesting pictures showing a coal gas flaring operation came our way. They come from one of the local mines where they extract the coal gas from deep coal measures before mining the coal. Apparently this coal is very gassy and free methane would represent a serious danger to the mining operations. So they just extract it first and burn it.

Overall view of the gas flaring station. Note the size of the burners comparing
to the size of the backhoe. Gas well head installation is on the far left in the distance.

An overall view. Note how close to each other are the gas well heads located.

Note the size of the gas pipes.

A close up of the gas well pumping station. This is some serious engineering.
The pumps are powered by electricity or by diesel engines running 24 hours a day.

Another view of the gas well.

So they are collecting the coal gas at a great expanse and then just burn it thus converting the methane into carbon dioxide. Most of the open cut coal mines let the gas just escape into the air. Since CO2 far less damaging to the Earth atmosphere flaring the coal gas is better then letting it just escape. Even better would be to collect the gas and use it energy value by converting it to electricity or useful heat. From this point the Lidell gas line would be a positive thing. Of course, this reasoning ignores the larger social issue of completely irresponsible use of the fossil fuels by industrialized western societies. We can now see that this is starting to cause the climate change which will have enormous negative consequences for the whole planet. Unfortunately, this is well beyond the scope of our little action group - the humanity as a whole will have to deal with it or perish.

When looking at the pictures above one is left in no doubt that coal gas extraction is a serious industrial activity. Yet Sydney Gas website presents their industry as a very "sunny", "green" harmless and almost "organic" affair (see http://www.sydneygas.com.au/content.php/7.html). They even provide artist's impressions of their equipment in pastel colours! The news from places like USA where coal gas mining is well established are less encouraging. We might easily finish with something like this - road, wells, ponds and pipes everywhere and not just around the coal mines.