Santos GLNG's first shipment of LNG leaves Curtis Island bound for Korea after years of construction. Photo Paul Braven / The Observer
Santos GLNG's first shipment of LNG leaves Curtis Island bound for Korea after years of construction. Photo Paul Braven / The Observer Paul Braven

New data out on gas plant's emissions after first year

ONE of the major LNG plants on Curtis Island has emitted thousands of tonnes of potentially toxic pollution in its first year of operation, new data has revealed.

The latest National Pollutant Inventory data for 2014-15 also shows the BG Group-owned Queensland Curtis LNG plant became the third-largest industrial emitter of pollutants in the Gladstone region.

It shows the LNG plant emitted 4800 tonnes of carbon monoxide, 4300 tonnes of nitrous oxides, 620 tonnes of volatile organic compounds, 190 tonnes of formaldehyde and 17 tonnes each of benzene and toluene.

The data represents the first full year of pollution emissions from the LNG plant, which started shipping gas overseas for the first time in July.

National Toxics Network senior advisor Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith, who has reviewed the data, said she was "astounded" by the sheer volume of emissions from the plant in its first year.

"The fact that one (plant) can come on and be the third largest emitter in Gladstone in its first year of operations is astounding," she said.

"In reality, that's not something you're going to see the (health or environmental) impacts of today or tomorrow, but it does raise concerns about what is being emitted."

A spokesman from BG Group subsidiary QGC said the emissions were within the company's environmental approvals and were expected during the first year of operation.

He also said they did not come from the gas flare attached to facility, but "mainly" were emitted by "equipment engines" and were "consistent with those of any other diesel engine".

While some Gladstone residents have raised concerns about the potential effects of emissions from the plant, Dr Lloyd-Smith said there wasn't any concrete evidence it was affecting people's health.

"I've heard anecdotal reports of people having breathing problems, particularly parents concerned about their children, but it would be hard to study and even harder to find a definitive link," she said.

She said most concerning was the 546 tonnes of "particulate matter" being emitted - which she described as 'soot', which the pollutants could attach to and escape in the air.

The QGC spokesman said there were "no adverse environmental or public health impacts from QGC's operations on Curtis Island".

Queensland's Environment Department said in a statement "based on monitoring results, there have been no exceedances of the relevant health-based standards or guidelines, as a result of industrial activities, that would be considered to pose an unacceptable risk to human health".



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