About a year ago, the Austrian Federal Government organized a cool photo shoot for selected media in hot Abu Dhabi. Also present: Climate and Energy Minister Leonor Gavesler (Greens). Austria should receive a shipload of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Abu Dhabi for the 2023/24 heating season – OMV has agreed this with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
“The volume of gas means supplying 65,000 homes for a year,” said Leonore Gewessler in Abu Dhabi. However, the energy amount of one terawatt hour is equivalent to only slightly more than one percent of Austria’s total demand for natural gas. Austria consumes 85 terawatt hours annually (year 2022). There’s a small but not entirely insignificant problem with this deal: Austria doesn’t have a deep-sea port. The liquefied gas must therefore be reconverted in Genoa or Rotterdam so that it can reach Austria via pipelines.
A new study is now being conducted on Gewesler’s ambitious project, which would send a giant tanker 7,422 kilometers across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal and across the Mediterranean Sea to Italy for 14 days, potentially Green will be like a grenade in the climate ministry. Take: Generating energy from imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) is far more harmful to the climate than burning conventional coal, according to a new US study.
“In the worst-case scenario, the absolute greenhouse gas emissions of LNG are 274 percent higher than those of coal,” said a yet-to-be-published analysis by Robert W. Howarth, a methane researcher at Cornell University, reports Die Welt. You can find the full study here.
Robert W. Howarth identified methane leakage in the supply chain as the cause of large-scale environmental pollution. This involves various stages from fracking to cleaning, liquefaction and ultimately transportation into the world’s oceans.
Methane is a particularly aggressive greenhouse gas. Even when using the most modern ships and shortest routes, emissions are “at least 24 percent higher” than using hard coal. At least when you look at the entire path from fracking holes to combustion to generate electricity or heat.
The American magazine “The New Yorker” also sees the scientist’s data as evidence (“a smoking gun”) of President Joe Biden’s misguided climate policy. In the United States, LNG export capacities are being expanded significantly, also due to high demand from Germany, which is contrary to the US government’s climate protection goals.
The gas from the ordered LNG tanker has apparently not yet arrived in Austria – otherwise a photo opportunity with the non-media-shy climate minister at the pipeline pipe would have already been announced.