Media Releases | 28th Feb, 2022

Viva Energy accused of ‘climate accounting trick’ as Geelong gas terminal emissions significantly underreported

Viva Energy appears to have deliberately downplayed the emissions from its proposed gas import terminal in Corio Bay, Environment Victoria has revealed, as the energy company released its Environment Effects Statement (EES) today.

Viva Energy’s statement estimates total operating emissions associated with the project of 47,906 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent per year in its most efficient ‘open loop’ mode, which means using seawater to heat the LNG after transport to the site.

However, rival energy company AGL’s failed bid for a gas import terminal at Westernport, with similar technology and import volumes, had operating emissions of 449,390 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year in the same mode – more than nine times higher.

“The reason for such a large difference is that Viva has pulled a climate accounting trick and excluded the emissions from transporting the LNG to Victoria,” said Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager Greg Foyster.

“In other words, they’re proposing to import massive amounts of gas in huge LNG tankers but not counting all the fuel that those boats will burn to get here.

“If transport emissions were included, then the annual climate impact of Viva Energy’s gas terminal could be up to 12 times higher.

Environment Victoria has released a briefing paper in response, laying out an argument for why these transport emissions should have been included, and estimating the true climate impact of the gas terminal, based on technical data in an appendix of Viva Energy’s own reports.

“Viva Energy have tried to argue these transport emissions are out of scope, even though a similar project from AGL included them, and the government appointed panel that assessed that project also said they should be included,” said Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager Greg Foyster.

“Viva argues it will only be the operator of the terminal and so has no ability to control where gas is imported from. But at the same time, Viva has signed an MoU with Woodside to be the exclusive import terminal for gas from its fields in Western Australia, which shows Viva does in fact have some degree of control over where the LNG comes from.

“The transport emissions would also satisfy the relevance criteria for Scope 3 emissions in the international Greenhouse Gas Protocol, and should have been included on that basis alone.

“Instead of giving the community a complete and transparent account of greenhouse gas emissions, Viva Energy has buried the figures in the appendix of a 13,000 page document. These figures reveal that adding transport emissions to the project would make the total emissions between 4 and 12 times higher than what was reported, depending on the source of the gas.

“This approach doesn’t bode well for credibility of other sections of the report, and we’ll be scrutinising it very closely.

“Gas is a polluting and expensive fuel, and we believe a smarter solution is for households to use less gas, rather than building a new import terminal,” he said.

Spokesperson for Geelong Renewables Not Gas Sally Fisher said:

“The company has an obligation to be honest and transparent and the community needs to know the full extent of the pollution associated with this project, including transport emissions.

“Many local residents are deeply worried about climate change. Viva’s gas terminal would be a massive source of pollution in the region and make it harder for the City of Greater Geelong to reach their climate target of net zero emissions by 2035.

“This is a major fossil fuel project in Victoria’s backyard with serious environment impacts. We encourage all Victorian residents to also make a submission to the Environment Effects Statement and raise any concerns about local environmental impacts or climate change.”

Download the briefing paper here

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