A new study has found coal seam gas (CSG) fields on southern Queensland's Darling Downs are leaking at a greater rate than first thought.
A team of Lismore-based scientists at the Southern Cross University tested for the naturally occurring radioactive radon gas near wells near Tara on the Darling Downs.
The study found atmospheric levels are three times higher than the surrounding area.
Researcher Douglas Tait says the study is the first of its kind in Australia and more work needs to be done.
"What we really need to do is look at baseline data so that that pattern of radon emissions, a similar pattern could be seen if radon emissions if coincidently if there was a series of natural seeps in the area," he said.
"What we need to do is look at more gas fields, more monitoring stations and extend that duration of what we monitor.
"Basically what it suggests is that there is alternative pathways for emissions from the coal seam gas industry, so rather than emissions just coming from infrastructure, what this suggests is emissions might be diffusing through the soil over a much larger scale."
Associate Professor Isaac Santos says more research needs to be done, but the findings indicate emissions are concentrated around CSG wells.
"There is a significant relationship between the radon concentrations and the number of nearby coal seam gas wells and that brings us to a chicken or egg question, who came first?" he said.
"We have high radon near the wells because of the wells or we have lots of wells in a location that's gassy naturally."
However, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) says it wants more information about the research.
APPEA spokesman Rick WIlkinson says the research needs to be reviewed by other scientists.
"They set off to discuss research and methane and CO2, which they held a press release about as an important issue," he said.
"The fact that they have now moved onto talk about a completely new and different gas rate ... suggests they were disappointed with the previous results and they're looking for something else."