Dynamic impact assessment of resource depletion: a case study of natural gas in New Zealand

Vinod Vijay Kumar, Andrew Hoadley, Yogendra Shastri

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16 Citations (Scopus)


The depletion of abiotic resources is a critical issue for the present as well as future generations. Resource depletion is governed by several factors including resource costs and elasticity of demand, which are dynamic. In this paper, a dynamic resource depletion methodology is proposed that is based on the assessment of impacts to the wider community. The methodology is demonstrated for a case study of natural gas scarcity in New Zealand. A system dynamics model predicts the gas price and the natural gas consumption rate over an extended period. The potential environmental impacts are assessed using life cycle assessment (LCA), coupled with the resource substitution methodology. The impacts are further aggregated into a resource depletion indicator based on environmental economics and decision-making perspectives for the environment. For some gas-consuming sectors, consumption is reduced, but for other sectors other fuels are substituted for the natural gas such as black coal and imported liquefied natural gas (LNG). For the New Zealand case study, the substitution delays the exhaustion of the domestic natural gas supply, at the cost of higher environmental impacts. The substitution of gas with black coal caused an increase in the environmental impact indicator in the climate change category by 36%, 63% and 104% for the individualist, hierarchist and egalitarian approaches, respectively. Similarly, the substitution of gas by imported LNG resulted in an increase in the same category by 7%, 17% and 33% for the individualist, hierarchist and egalitarian perspectives, respectively. The difference in indicator results under each perspective shows that the impacts associated with resource depletion changes with time, which is ignored by the traditional LCA. The impacts-related information that is obtained from the new indicator would be useful in decision-making during situations in which there maybe resource and energy scarcity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-178
Number of pages14
JournalSustainable Production and Consumption
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Energy modelling
  • LCA
  • LNG
  • Natural gas
  • Resource depletion
  • System dynamics

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