Gas or coal - which is worse?
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan.26
By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:
It is unreasonable to assume that gas has more negative impact on environment than coal, according to the analysis posted by Wood Mackenzie
“The overall CO2 emissions from coal per MWh of power produced are about twice those associated with gas. In order for gas to be worse than coal, then, the difference between the two would need to be accounted for solely by methane emissions,” says Gavin Law, Head of Gas and Power Consulting at Wood Mackenzie.
For gas to have higher emissions than coal, more than 10 -11 percent of the produced gas would need to be lost along the value chain assuming a 100 year Global Warming Potential (GWP), according to the company’s estimates.
“Since we know that methane losses in shipping and regas are relatively low, it would be reasonable to assume that the majority of these losses would have to originate in the production/processing and pipeline transportation stages,” Gavin Law believes.
He pointed out that these losses of natural gas are associated with leakage into the atmosphere and should not be confused with gas that is consumed as fuel in the LNG plant, LNG tankers, gas compressors, etc. and subsequently emitted as CO2.
“Although the oil and gas companies continue to improve their understanding of methane losses (and subsequently report this to investors), it is important to examine this issue in light of what we know now and what is reasonable to believe. It is perhaps unreasonable to believe that up to 35 billion cubic feet of gas per day is lost to the atmosphere across the globe. It is also unreasonable to assume that in general the level of methane emissions is high enough to make natural gas more emissions intensive than coal (even using a 20 year GWP),” he noted.
On average, natural gas is significantly less emissions intensive than coal and still represents the logical fossil fuel to support the energy transition in the coming decades.
Follow the author on Twitter: @Lyaman_Zeyn