New South Wales sets up coal seam gas exclusion zones

The government of New South Wales plans to establish 2-km exclusion zones around towns in the state with populations above 1,000 or more people to keep coal seam gas exploration and production activity away from residential areas.

The exclusion zone will cover future expansion of residential areas in Sydney’s northwest and southwest as well as away from sensitive industries such as wineries and horse studs.

In addition, Mary O’Kane, state chief scientist, has been asked to undertake a review of CSG activities and hand down her initial report by July.

Under the new rules the CSG industry will be regulated by the Environment Protection Agency, which will be given the power to revoke licences if companies concerned do not follow the environmental conditions imposed.

The government’s move has come amid increasing concern about CSG drilling since it withdrew its embargo on hydraulic fracturing in June 2012.

Recently, AGL Energy’s proposal to drill in the Campbelltown region in Sydney’s western region drew criticism from both state and federal politicians and forced AGL to suspend its plans for an extension of the existing Camden CSG project, which has been supplying gas to Sydney market for a decade.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke had criticised the New South Wales government for not joining a national plan for CSG, which involves the Australian states taking advice on CSG projects from the recently established Independent Experts Science Committee on Coal Seam Gas & Mining. The committee was established following demands for an inquiry by Independent Federal MP Tony Windsor.

AGL Energy reacted to news of the exclusion zone by saying the ban would only exacerbate the looming gas supply crisis in New South Wales. The company pointed out that existing gas supply contracts are due to end in 2014-17.

“The absence of multiple new sources of supply in [New South Wales] will add to the substantial upward pressure on gas and electricity prices in the state,” it said.

AGL and fellow CSG company Metgasco have requested immediate meetings with the New South Wales government to ascertain the precise impact to its operations. Another major player, Santos, is also seeking clarification for its operations northwest of Sydney in the Gunnedah basin.

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association objected to the lack of consultation before the New South Wales government move. APPEA claims the government keeps shifting the goal posts through a red-tape laden decision-making process that ignores science and the excellent environmental record of an industry that has been operating in Australia for more than 4 decades.

It added that the industry has operated safely in western Sydney for a decade and the latest decision is arbitrary. It sends a clear signal that New South Wales is closed for business.

On the other hand, activist group Lock the Gate Alliance says the government’s new measures do not go anywhere near calming public concern about the CSG issues.

The alliance charges the government with an appalling level of irresponsibility in the granting of mining approvals in NSW which has allowed what it calls “a tsunami of destruction” to threaten many areas of the state.

Anti-CSG farmers in northwest New South Wales added their voice to the affair asking why communities of under 1,000 people should not be treated the same way as communities of more than 1,000 people. The group said that if CSG is unsafe in Campbelltown, then it is unsafe everywhere. If CSG is a risk to wine-growing and horse breeding areas, then it is a risk to food and fibre producing areas in the state’s northwest.

Related Articles

Apache’s 2015 capital budget less than half of last year’s $8.5 billion

02/12/2015 Apache Corp., Houston, plans a capital budget of $3.6-4 billion in 2015, with $2.1-2.3 billion directed toward onshore North America and $1.5-1.7 b...

Alaska LNG project partners file resource reports with FERC

02/12/2015 A series of draft environmental and socioeconomic reports for the Alaska LNG project have been submitted to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commis...

Total reduces budget by 10% to $23-24 billion

02/12/2015 Total SA plans to lower its organic investments to $23-24 billion in 2015 from $26.4 billion in 2014 by reducing spending in brownfield development...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude prices drop back below $50/bbl

02/12/2015 The New York Mercantile Exchange March crude oil contract dropped $1.18 on Feb. 11, closing at $48.84/bbl. The April contract dropped $1.15 to $50....

US House vote sends Keystone XL approval bill to Obama’s desk

02/12/2015 The US House of Representatives voted by 270 to 152 to pass S. 1, which would deem the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline approved more than 6...

Groups object to White River National Forest draft leasing decision

02/12/2015 The Western Energy Alliance, West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association, and Public Lands Advocacy jointly filed a formal objection to the US Fo...

Five fatalities, four missing now confirmed following FPSO explosion offshore Brazil

02/12/2015 BW Offshore now reports five fatalities—all employees of BW Offshore—and four crew members missing following the Feb. 11 explosion of the Cidade de...

TransCanada challenges EPA’s comments on Keystone XL SEIS

02/11/2015 TransCanada Corp. responded to the Feb. 2 comment letter from the US Environmental Protection Agency on the US Department of State’s final suppleme...

PNR cuts capital spending nearly in half

02/11/2015 Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PNR), Dallas, plans to spend $1.85 billion in 2015 following a fourth quarter in which the company reported a net in...
White Papers

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...

Accurate Thermo-Fluid Simulation in Real Time Environments

The crux of any task undertaken in System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis is striking a balance between ti...
Available Webcasts


Prevention, Detection and Mitigation of pipeline leaks in the modern world

When Thu, Apr 30, 2015

Preventing, detecting and mitigating leaks or commodity releases from pipelines are a top priority for all pipeline companies. This presentation will look at various aspects related to preventing, detecting and mitigating pipeline commodity releases from a generic and conceptual point of view, while at the same time look at the variety of offerings available from Schneider Electric to meet some of the requirements associated with pipeline integrity management. 

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

register:WEBCAST


The Future of US Refining

Fri, Feb 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Feb. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on the future of US refining as various forces this year conspire to pull the industry in different directions. Lower oil prices generally reduce feedstock costs, but they have also lowered refiners’ returns, as 2015 begins with refined products priced at lows not seen in years. If lower per-barrel crude prices dampen production of lighter crudes among shale plays, what will happen to refiners’ plans to export more barrels of lighter crudes? And as always, refiners will be affected by government regulations, particularly those that suppress demand, increase costs, or limit access to markets or supply.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected