Showing posts with label Coal Seam Gas Mining. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coal Seam Gas Mining. Show all posts

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

NSW Berejiklian Government needs to face water sustainability issues on the Liverpool Plains

Santos Ltd plans to drill up to 850 coal seam gas production wells on 425 well pads in its Narrabri Gas Project located on approx. 95,000 hectares in the Pilliga State Forest and on private agricultural land south-west of Narrabri, NSW.

Project infrastructure will include a central gas processing facility for the compression, dehydration and treatment of the gas to commercial quality, along with infrastructure supporting treatment, beneficial reuse, power generation, water and gas distribution and operational management facilities.

Upon request the Independent Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development has given advice to the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy and New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment concerning this project.

Here are some of the issues it raises in its 8 August 2017 advice:

Key potential impacts
The key potential impacts of the project include:
* long-term release of salt to the environment and the ongoing management of brine and salt waste. There is uncertainty in the quantities of salt that will be produced. There is also limited information in relation to the location and process for storage, and the containment and monitoring measures at the point of disposal.
* declines in groundwater level in landholder bores as a result of depressurisation and drawdown in the medium- to long-term (greater than 10 years).
* reductions in water availability to springs and other GDEs as a result of groundwater depressurisation and drawdown. These reductions may also impact surface water and groundwater connectivity, particularly along Bohena Creek.
* changes in surface water flow as a result of proposed discharges into Bohena Creek and uncertainties in the management of water during project operations in the short term (less than 10 years).
* changes to surface water and groundwater quality as a result of inappropriately stored or unintentional release of chemicals or untreated co-produced water.
The NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government needs to face the issues squarely, instead of pretending there is little to no risk to springs, aquifers and other ground and surface water under this mining application.

Monday, 29 May 2017

The Ladies Who Bake (and organize, lobby, raise funds & volunteer) come out against coal seam gas exploration, mining and production

The Country Women’s Association (CWA) of New South Wales came together for its annual conference on 22-25th May 2017 for the 95th time and debated policy.

Photograph: The Land, 25 May 2017

At this conference the CWA passed the following motion:

Maules Creek Branch (Namoi Group):

Preamble: The results of hosting unconventional gas on farms are properties devalued, mortgages refused, insurance covers rejected, destroys families, divides communities, drains aquifers and turns land into dead zones, sick children, suicide and mental breakdowns.

“That the policy of CWA of NSW shall be to support a ban on unconventional gas exploration, extraction and production”.

With the largest women’s organisation in Australia now having this policy endorsed by one of its founding chapters, NSW Nationals leader and MP for Monaro John Barilaro’s statement that he saw no reason why the coal seam gas industry should not be supported in areas of the state where it would not affect prime agricultural land is not looking as robust a proposition as he perhaps thought two weeks ago.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Australia 2017: No, means no in the bush when it comes to the gas industry

Go to to view Santos Ltd/Santos NSW (Eastern) Pty Ltd’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for it Narrabri Gas Project – a proposed 850 well gasfield across the Pilliga.

Go to North West Alliance at for assistance with a submission.

“Santos Narrabri Gas Project is merely a Trojan Horse to get hold of the whole of NSW”, Protect the West, 6 April 2017

Submission deadline is 22 May 2017.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Santos in the Pilliga could mean light and fugitive emissions pollution for Siding Spring Observatory

The Santos Narrabri Gas Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) covering the Pilliga region is on public exhibition until 22 May 2017 and submissions can be made online by concerned individuals until then.



Santos plan to build an 850 coal seam gasfield near Siding Spring Observatory has been submitted to the NSW Govt. They plan to triple the amount of pilot flares and double the amount of huge flares, adding damaging light pollution to our region in defiance of the recent declaration of this area being Australia’s only Dark Sky Park recognised internationally.


Copy and paste this provided submission below to this link or write your own with the information provided.

This submission has been written to draw attention to the unacceptable impacts of Santos current plan with light pollution from their upcoming 850 gaswells and flares near Siding Spring Observatory. It is a simple solution, as recommended by the NSW EPA to enclose all flares, not just for emissions and cleaner burning, but also to reduce the amount of unnecessary light pollution from giant flames lighting the night sky.

Siding Spring Observatory is Australia’s only unique science research facility using the largest optical telescopes for astrophysics and astronomy. First established in Coonabarabran NSW, on the Warrumbungle Ranges in the 1960’s it was built here because of the dark skies in this region. While there is historic value of this site from telescopes established over 50 years ago, this observatory hosts the largest optical telescopes from national and international universities and research entities. Not only hosting the largest, this site hosts the second, third, fourth, fifth largest telescopes etc in Australia, playing a key role in science research across the Southern Hemisphere. Over 50 telescopes are listed across the site being used by over 30 universities, institutions and private businesses using cutting edge technology, with some of the most advanced telescopes being used is astrophysical research. Future plans include another 50 telescopes to be built on site within the next decade. All this is reliant on keeping the dark sky dark! If this area was to lose the dark sky, this observatory would not be replicated again in Australia, but moved elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere.

From 2013 onwards light emissions from the Santos gasfield exploration have increased to the point that, just the Bibblewindi large flare and unmanned facility alone, creates more light pollution than the entire town of nearby Coonabarabran with over 3500 people residing there. Santos have listed plans to triple the amount of pilot flares and double the amount of large flares including constructing 50 metre high flare stacks, with an average 30 metre high flame above it. Nowhere do they list the EPAs recommended practice to enclose flares, as has been done in NSW areas such as Gloucester. Enclosing flares is the only acceptable mitigation to protect the scientific community from the unnecessary light pollution they plan to emit. Siding Spring Observatory already has to deal with light pollution from existing mining and regional towns. Even Sydney itself, from over 400kms away can affect research from its light glow.

Santos are a lot closer than this. Every bit of extra light pollution is making it more difficult to continue the leading scientific research, and while each pollute in different levels, most consider they aren’t doing any damage. But it’s the combination with the existing light sources, adding a cumulative effect which is becoming worse as more pollution is created.

In summary, this is a simple fix in this case, as while Santos building infrastructure is willing to comply with shielded lights for buildings, they need to go a step further and enclose all current and future flares as the NSW EPA recommend. It is the only acceptable solution.


your name

Where to submit
(Click link then scroll to bottom)

Please copy and paste or add your own information. Privacy is an option if you do not want your name made public. Take this opportunity now to help protect Siding Spring Observatory. There will not be another chance.


People For The Plains

Siding Spring Observatory - A Priceless Resource Under Threat

Astronomers at Australia’s world-leading Siding Spring Observatory are becoming increasingly concerned about the potential threat to the observatory from adjacent coal seam gasfields. 

So much so that leading astronomers Robert McNaught and Malcolm Hartley have taken their protests directly to Santos.

Astronomer McNaught commented, “To put at risk the world class status of Siding Spring Observatory is both illogical and galling. It’s also infuriating that community concerns are being trampled upon by both government and industry.” 

The threat of light pollution from gas flares and infrastructure (expected to equal that of a reasonable sized town) and the increase of particulates in the air from flares, increased traffic on unsealed roads and clearing, has prompted the protest against Santos.

Other concerned astronomers and the community of Coonabarabran are united against coal seam gas (CSG) developments in the area.

The iconic observatory has been an important scientific tool and economic boon for the Coonabarabran area and Australia for over 50 years, with 30,000 visitors annually, many of them school children and family groups. About $5 million dollars is injected into the local economy each year.

The Federal Government has highlighted the protection of the observatory as one of the key areas it will be looking at in the Environmental Impact Statement of the Narrabri Gas Project, because of its importance to the regional economy and the national astronomy sector.

The site was chosen due to its high elevation, low humidity, non-turbulent atmosphere, clean air and clear night skies. These attributes bring astronomers from around the globe.

Siding Spring is the largest optical astronomy research centre in Australia, now with 47 Australian and international telescopes, and with more international and local research institutes looking to expand, including Japan and the US. 

More than $100 million worth of research equipment is located at the observatory.

Siding Spring employs many technical and maintenance staff, with around 40 living in Coonabarabran and another 50 (not including astronomers) living in Sydney and Canberra.

The observatory has been integral in the discovery of many comets, asteroids and galaxies and is renowned throughout the world.

Recent discoveries include the oldest known star, the largest comprehensive mapping of the universe in the world, and an intensive study of the closest known super nova.

The Siding Spring Observatory survived destruction during bushfires in 2013 and is now under threat by the proposed Santos coal seam gas developments in the Pilliga Forest and future expansion into other PELs including the Liverpool Plains and Coonabarabran itself.

The threat to Siding Spring Observatory is just one of many issues created by proposed Santos CSG developments that have led to community solidarity against Santos in Coonabarabran and opposition in the surrounding area.

The Guardian, 21 October 2014:

As well as light pollution, astronomers are concerned that material dispersed from mining operations will be corrosive to telescope lenses. Siding Spring has around 50 high-grade telescopes pointing at the heavens.

Peter Small, who provides technical support for Siding Spring, said an existing mining operation at Boggabri already gives off more light than the neighbouring towns of Narrabri and Gunnedah.

“We get light pollution from that – we even get light pollution from Sydney, which is 400km away, so you don’t have to be that close,” he said.

“This will reduce visibility. If there’s light pollution from anywhere, never mind about the gasfields, this site becomes unviable. It would shut down and all those local jobs would be lost.

Astronomers Malcolm Hartley and Robert McNaught

Monday, 3 April 2017

Dear Mr. Hogan, What is your position on your leader's plan to encourage the gas industry by mandating that landowners "hosting" wells be given 10% of royalties?

Knitting Nannas Against Gas
Grafton Loop
c/- PO Box 763
Grafton 2460


24th March 2017

Mr Kevin Hogan MP
Member for Page
63 Molesworth St

Dear Mr Hogan

Barnaby Joyce’s Gas Royalty Plan

The Grafton Loop of the Knitting Nannas was surprised to hear that the National Party Leader, Barnaby Joyce, is promoting a plan which he believes will lead to community acceptance of CSG and unconventional gas mining in areas of our nation where there has been strong resistance to this invasive and polluting industry.

We believe that Mr Joyce has no appreciation of the deleterious impacts of gas-mining which have been overwhelmingly demonstrated in Queensland as well as in other parts of the world. We also believe that his attempt to bribe landowners will not lead to community acceptance of the industry.

Some of the Nannas in our Loop have experience of what a Queensland gasfield is like and how appalling living in or near a gasfield is to local communities. You might care to read Nanna Lynette’s gasfield inspection report on the Nannas’ blog at:

Mr Hogan, you previously supported those who opposed the industry in your electorate. (We are uncertain whether this concern about the industry extended beyond your electorate to other parts of the nation.)

What is your position on your leader’s plan to encourage the gas industry by mandating that landowners “hosting” wells be given 10% of royalties?

Do you believe that this bribe will ensure that neighbouring landowners (as differing from directly impacted landowners) will accept the industry in their areas? Do you believe that the rest of the community will accept the industry?
We look forward to your response.


Leonie Blain
on behalf of the Grafton Nannas

Sunday, 2 April 2017

NSW Berejiklian Government continues to say no to coal seam gas mining in the Northern Rivers region

The Daily Examiner, 22 March 2017:

THE NSW Government has ruled out coal seam gas mining and exploration on the North Coast.

Deputy Premier John Barlilaro put a line through it yesterday during unveiling of the The North Coast Regional Plan at Coffs Harbour yesterday.

"We've heard the community's viewpoint on coal seam gas loud and clear and this plan states that CSG resources on the North Coast will remain in the ground,” Mr Barlilaro said.

The Member for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis, was another member of the government happy to keep CSG in the ground.

"Despite what the deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, might be saying there is no appetite for coal seam gas mining on the North Coast,” Mr Gulaptis said.
Mr Joyce last week floated a national plan to give farmers who allowed gas wells on their land a 10% share of the royalties generated….

Mr Gulaptis said there was also no appetite to allow CSG mining exploration in the government.

"The government has bought up the exploration licences on the North Coast and in reality there's plenty of natural gas around,” he said.

Mr Gulaptis said the claims of a "gas shortage” in Australia were hard to understand.

"We've got plenty of gas in Australia,” he said. "The issues seems to be ensuring there is enough of it directed to domestic supply and not go offshore.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Australian Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources seeks to place farm lands and water security in jeopardy

This man is the Deputy Prime Minister, Leader of the National Party of Australia and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.

Photograph found at The AIM Network

Member for New England Barnaby Joyce is also the same man who is irresponsibly calling for the dismantling of the already inadequate protections afforded rural and regional lands and water resources when coal seam gas miners move into a district.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has started dismantling Australia's sweeping ban on coal seam gas drilling, arguing a new scheme to divert a share of government royalties to farmers will overcome furious opposition in the bush.

Mr Joyce on Friday embraced a South Australian government plan to pay farmers 10 per cent of royalties in exchange for allowing gas wells on their land, saying the scheme should be rolled out nationally, with an exclusion of prime agricultural land.

The Agriculture Minister said lifting moratoriums and giving landholders a fair price in exchange for access would equate to "a substantial turnaround in attitude and that is a very good outcome".

"I can't see people who start making hundreds of thousands or possibly millions of dollars a year having a backlash," Mr Joyce told Fairfax Media.

"I think you'll probably find them onside."

Mr Joyce's comments could cause political problems in regional Australia and will be opposed by some MPs in the Coalition party room, where views about the environmental, social and electoral impacts of CSG remain mixed……

National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simson said moratoriums were "blunt instruments" but still needed "because of the lack of confidence the community, including the farming community, have in the way governments have regulated the gas industry in the past".

"Until we have absolute confidence these concerns have been addressed, then moratoriums will be part of the response," she said.

But Joyce said excluding prime agricultural land and productive aquifers from exploration would address most concerns….

Ms Simson said the National Farmers Federation welcomed the South Australian plan to "adequately compensate" farmers, but said "it's never been just about the money".

"The two things we can't and won't compromise on is the secure access to water and land," she said.

NSW Resources Minister Don Harwin said the state gas plan "makes clear that landholders and communities will share in the benefits of gas development, and the government has already made legislative changes to deliver on this commitment."

Since July 2016 companies have been able to apply to establish a Community Benefits Fund from which individuals and organisations can apply for grants for community initiatives.

NSW landowners are also entitled to compensation under a land access agreement struck with a company wishing to drill on their land.

"Further compensation may be payable to landowners if there is any loss or damage resulting from exploration or production," Mr Harwin said.

But opponents say this is insufficient as landowners still have no right to refuse access.

NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said of Mr Joyce's statement: "Barnaby hasn't got the message that farmers won't be bribed. Rural community know coal seam gas destroys land values".

This is what typical coal seam gas production wells, supporting infrastructure and access roads looks like on rural land.

ABC Four Corners, 3 April 2013

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Whatever happened to Metgasco Limited?

After Metgasco Limited left the NSW Northern Rivers region with its pockets stuffed full of compensation dollars because local communities resisted its efforts to create a coal seam gas industry in the middle of biodiverse, culturally rich and productive rural landscapes, it temporarily sank from sight.

According to Metgasco:

Metgasco appears to be partly or wholly exploring on land over which the Wongkamara peoples hold Native Title.

The company has another project underway in the Gulf of Mexico where it has acquired farm-in rights from Byron Energy Ltd in exchange for an est. A$1.3m investment – thereby deploying  approx. 27% of Metgasco’s current financial resources.

Peter Henderson, the CEO that Metgasco let go in May 2016 with a $300,000 handshake, was last heard of looking for work with Perth-based Tap Oil Limited.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Narrabri Shire Council caught red handed

Clarence Valley readers might remember Narrabri Shire Council as one of those NSW local governments pushing to dam and divert the Clarence River and interested in creating a Yamba mega port.

Now they have apparently been caught red handed attempting to stack an online survey in favour of coal seam gas mining in the Pilliga area:

via @PilligaPush


Narrabri Shire Council will be forced to hire an independent reviewer, after both its general manager and mayor received code of conduct complaints for the same incident.
The complaints arose following an email sent out to all council staff, asking them to vote in a poll about coal seam gas in Narrabri.
Questions have been raised about who directed the email to be sent to staff, which council has so far ignored.
The Leader understands two councillors made a complaint against general manager Stewart Todd, after seeking advice from the NSW Office of Local Government, who informed them they were obligated to make a complaint if they believed the code of conduct had been breached.
Narrabri Ratepayers Association also made a code of conduct complaint against mayor Catherine Redding.
Normally when a code of conduct complaint is made against the general manager, the mayor would handle the complaint, and vice versa.
However, given both complaints relate to the same issue, the matter will be referred to an external independent conduct reviewer. 
Narrabri Shire Council refused to answer The Leader’s questions because of the confidential nature of the matter.
Office of Local Government documents indicate information that identifies the complainants is not to be disclosed, however, that “does not apply to code of conduct complaints made by councillors about other councillors or the general manager”.
The email in question was sent out to all council staff on February 9, implying employees should stack an online survey which asked “Do you want CSG in Narrabri?”

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Northern Rivers Knitting Nannas visit Queensland gas field

The Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition Inc. website published this post on 30 November 2016:

Nanna Lynette's Report

I found that although I’d seen many photos and movies of gasfields and had heard people talk about them, nothing prepared me for visiting a gasfield and walking around the infrastructure and hearing the massive amount of noise. The size of the Kenya gasfield and the amount of infrastructure was mind-blowing.  
The gas from the field is piped to the Kenya processing plant and after processing is piped to Gladstone. The processing plant, which covers an area of a couple of acres, consists of three massive metal structures about five storeys high.  The noise coming from this was horrendous. We were standing about a kilometre away and where we were the noise was deafening.

The next part of the tour was a visit to the State Forest where some of the actual Kenya gaswells are. Initially they were about a kilometre apart but when production slowed they drilled other wells in between the existing ones so that the wells were then 500 metres apart.  Each well sits in a cleared pad of at least a quarter of an acre.  This means you’ve a fractured environment because the ground is bare except for some gravel over it.  And each well makes a horrific noise as well.

The whole area is massively noisy and dusty because of all the clearing.  
The cleared pipeline corridors are about 100 metres wide and have been taken over by weeds like fireweed.  Along the main pipeline there are vents – high point vents and low point vents about 400 metres apart. 

The high point vents vent raw gas 24 hours a day. Of course this smells.  It just goes straight into the atmosphere. The low point vents expel moisture which is collected in troughs and presumably evaporates if it doesn’t overflow….

Read the full post here.

This is a timely reminder of what could still happen here as the Baird Government has not guaranteed the permanent gas-free status of the NSW Northern Rivers region, has reserved the right to once again issue petroleum exploration licenses [PELs] and, As part of a deal that extinguished previous applications for CSG leases, the government agreed to insert a clause in legislation giving priority to previous claimants. This was on behalf of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, which had made four appli­cations for gas exploration leases.

As late as March 2016 the Baird Government has been telling overseas mining interests that "The Clarence-Morton basin has very good petroleum potential……Almost all wells drilled … have yielded gas and/or oil".

Friday, 26 August 2016

Coal Seam Gas: even the Murdoch media can't disguise this betrayal by Turnbull & Baird Governments

Conversation between NSW Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts & Australian Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg at COAG Energy Meeting, August 2016*

The federal and state governments on the east coast of Australia stood quietly by as APPEA and the gas industry structured export and domestic contracts in such a way as to businesses and families pay increasing high gas bills in order to subsidise the industry’s export markets.

Now the Baird Government decides that the best way to deal with this is to let the gas industry expand its exploration activities once again - creating new gas fields across the state.

Gas fields which will still produce gas for sale under the very same commercial arrangements which see Australian domestic gas prices so much higher than the price paid by international buyers.

That is unless the Turnbull, Baird, Palaszczuk and Andrews governments insist that the wholesale domestic gas price is no longer tied to the export price and state domestic gas reserves are established so that supply adequately keeps pace with demand.

The Australian, 22 August 2016:

New frontlines in the battle among environmentalists, pastoralists and gas explorers are set to be drawn, with governments in NSW and Victoria weighing up moves to reopen the door to critical energy projects to avert a looming price crisis.

The Baird government is preparing to stare down fierce envir­onmental opposition to coal-seam gas mining by lifting a moratorium blanketing most of NSW and approving projects on a “case by case” basis.

The move, which will reignite a debate largely extinguished after the buyback of earlier mining ­licences, comes as Victoria is ­expected by the end of the month to decide on the future of its longstanding moratorium on all new gas projects.

NSW Energy Minister Anth­ony Roberts said it was a priority to keep supply stable and reliable as the market transitioned to ­renewable energy.

“Gas is also an important feedstock for a number of manufacturing processes, not just a fuel source, and therefore ensuring continued reliable and affordable supply underpins employment and investment in a number of key sectors and locations,” Mr Roberts told The Australian……

Narrabri farmer Alistair Don­ald­son is adamant the development of coal-seam gas close to his beef and grain property would ­create economic and environmental problems.

“As landholders, we are held to ransom for what is essentially a highly invasive and potentially destructive industry,” Mr ­Don­aldson said.

“They’ll spruik the economic benefits of the mine, but at the end of the day it comes at the ­expense of other industries without even considering the environmental issues, which are monu­mental.”

NSW has significant reserves of coal-seam gas in the Gunnedah Basin, where Santos is already working on a project near ­Narrabri, as well as in the northern ­Clarence-Moreton Basin and near Gloucester, north of ­Newcastle.

Mr Donaldson said gas supply had not been an issue until the ­development of an export industry focused around Gladstone in Queensland.

“They will take up all available gas no matter what, and I can see us having domestic gas issues for the foreseeable future no matter how many fields we open up in this state … that really frustrates me,” he said.

Anti-mining group Lock the Gate is already threatening to campaign against any easing of restrictions, and is calling for a complete ban in the state.

“If the NSW government opens up the countryside again to unconventional gas and fracking, they know very well that it will be met with widespread community protest and resistance,” said Georgina Woods, Lock the Gate’s state co-ordinator.

“Better to make sensible laws that match the public’s expec­t­ations and protect farmland and water than cave in to gas industry pressure and face a popular ­backlash.”

The Baird government paid $25 million to buy back three ­exploration licenses from ­Metgasco late last year after the ­Supreme Court had found that ­licences granted by the previous Labor government had been ­improperly suspended. The move to a case-by-case assessment of gas projects in NSW was recommended by the Australian Competition & Consumer Com­mis­sion and endorsed by last week’s meeting of federal and state ­energy ministers.

NSW allows coal-seam gas projects in a small slice of the state focused on Narrabri, where Santos is hoping to develop a mine.

The development of that project could supply between one-quarter and one-half of the state’s gas needs, according to the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association.
A Santos spokesman said the company was finalising environmental assessments for the Narrabri gas project, which it would submit to the government shortly.

Any change is likely to mean the government will make ­stringent assessments of the social, environmental and economic impact of potential projects and allow those that are deemed appropriate to be put to ­tender.

A more detailed strategy is ­expected to be released by Mr Roberts later this year…..

Australian Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg, media release, 19 August 2016:


The COAG Energy Council has agreed to significant reforms and a major new program of work to ensure the energy system remains affordable and reliable as we transition to a lower emissions future. Council focused on three key areas of reform: · Increasing liquidity and transparency in gas markets

· Empowering consumer choice
· Ensuring stability and connectivity of the National Electricity Market (NEM)

Significant reports on gas market reform from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) provided a strong evidence base and momentum for action. To fast track implementation of the recommendations from these reports Council will form a new Gas Market Reform Group headed by Dr Michael Vertigan.

These are the most significant reforms to the domestic gas market in two decades. Council recognised the growing importance of gas as a transition fuel as we move to incorporate more renewables into the system.

The reforms will improve competition, encourage more supply and put downward pressure on prices. Another key focus of the Council will ensure consumers can confidently take advantage of new technologies such as battery storage through the introduction of appropriate consumer protections.

Council acknowledged the important role played by interconnectors in the NEM and agreed to review regulatory settings to ensure they do not present barriers to appropriate investment in the current market environment.

Officials have also been asked to provide advice on economic and operational impacts of existing and proposed state and territory emissions reduction policies on the energy system.

This advice will inform the Council’s consideration of how to better integrate energy and emissions policy.

The Council has proved its ability to respond to current issues and I look forward to further engagement with my colleagues when we meet again in December to build on the progress made today.


* ROBERTS: “We’ll just back you…..people aren’t going to love us, they’re going to hate us….”
   FRYDENBERG: “Well I won’t say that in front of the T.V….”{laughing}

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Turnbull Government will increase support for gas industry and coal seam gas exploration if re-elected on 2 July 2016

It has come to my attention that a number of people living on the NSW North Coast believe that the threat of coal seam gas mining in the Northern Rivers region has gone away because communities so successfully resisted Metgasco Limited’s commercial plans to create gasfields in our midst.

Unfortunately, although the immediate threat may have abated the longer-term threat remains all the same, as these excerpts from the 6 June 2016 address to an Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) conference by Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia Josh Frydenberg clearly show:

I’d like to acknowledge my fellow speakers, APPEA Chairman, Bruce Lake, APPEA Director and Country Chair for Shell Australia, Andrew Smith, and the Honourable Dr Anthony Lynham MP.

I would also like to acknowledge APPEA more generally, and its CEO in particular, Dr Malcolm Roberts, for their constructive engagement and contribution to good policy that is in the national interest.

It’s great to join you for your annual conference, my first since being appointed Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia.

Since that time I have always sought to:

·         highlight the incredible contribution you make to Australia’s economic performance;
·         be a passionate advocate for the work your members do to support jobs and grow the Australian economy;
·         celebrate the successes of the industry, including first gas at APLNG and Gladstone LNG on the East coast and at Gorgon on the West coast; and
·         champion the extraordinary innovation in the sector, from Shell’s Prelude FLNG facility to the autonomous underwater vehicles operating on the ocean floor at the Pluto project.

These early experiences have highlighted the importance of building on Australia’s strong international reputation as a reliable energy supplier and attractive place to invest, as well as the innovative and resilient nature of the people working in the sector….

Importantly, our LNG export capacity will continue to ramp up through several new projects which have recently commenced production and further projects which are under construction and due to come online over the next few years.

These projects together total around $200 billion in capital investment.

They include three Coal Seam Gas based LNG projects in Queensland (Queensland Curtis LNG, Gladstone LNG and Australia-Pacific LNG) which commenced production over 2015 and early 2016….

The continued sustainable development of the nation’s mineral and energy resources is a priority for the Turnbull Government.

Our policies will:

·         cut red tape, including streamlining environmental approvals processes;
·         drive jobs and growth by cutting taxes;
·         create new market opportunities;
·         de-risk exploration;
·         support innovation; and
·         increase community engagement and understanding.

We stand by our record since being elected.

The carbon tax is gone; so is the mining tax.

In just two years, we have cut more than $4 billion per annum in red tape.
The Coalition remains committed to one-stop-shops for onshore environmental assessments and approvals, having achieved it for offshore petroleum activities in Commonwealth waters…..

At the same time as we create new export opportunities, we are very focused on attracting greater investment by de-risking exploration.

We understand that exploration is a necessity for the industry – and that’s why we are committed to making Australia as competitive as possible.

As announced in the Budget, the Government will provide $100 million to fund the Exploring for the Future programme to be delivered through Geoscience Australia over the next four years.

Exploring for the Future will produce a resources prospectus covering targeted areas of northern Australia and parts of South Australia.

This programme will deliver new pre-competitive geoscience to assist industry in better targeting onshore areas likely to contain the next major oil, gas and mineral deposits…..

Firstly, our Growth Centre Initiatives.

National Energy Resources Australia (NERA) was launched earlier this year, and is one of six industry-led Growth Centres.

The Growth Centres are tasked with driving collaboration, innovation, and international competitiveness in targeted areas of competitive strength and strategic priority in the Australian economy.

The sector focus for NERA is oil, gas, coal and uranium – Australia-wide – and covering the full breadth of industry activities from exploration and development, construction, drilling, production and operations, to decommissioning…..

The Coalition has committed $15.4 million over four years to NERA with an additional $17.2 million for Project Funds to be matched by industry on projects with sector impact…..

APPEA plays an important role in enhancing the transparency around industry activities. At the last COAG Energy Council, I proposed and the Council agreed that APPEA would produce an annual unconventional gas activities report to provide a consistent, national information source on activities across all jurisdictions.

Among other things, this report will include, where available, the number of wells drilled, the number of land access agreements in force, the extent and type of community engagement, and the contribution unconventional gas activities make to government revenues.

But we must also acknowledge that there are members of the community that have raised concerns about the processes involved in developing gas from unconventional sources.

These concerns must be discussed and addressed if we are to successfully develop the new gas supplies necessary to support Australian homes, businesses and the broader economy.

The Coalition has been consistent in its support for the responsible development of unconventional gas strongly underpinned by the best available science……

To further our commitment to better inform the community of the scientific evidence in this area, today I announce that the Turnbull Government will make $4 million available for the CSIRO to undertake further research and to engage with the community using the Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance, or GISERA model….

State-specific research programs will be established in partnership with State Governments and industry that wish to work with the Turnbull Government to address community questions.

In particular, GISERA will address community concerns by:
conducting new research in key areas such as surface and groundwater, agricultural land management, biodiversity and socioeconomic impacts and opportunities;

·         establishing a Regional Advisory Committee;
·         implementing a communications program using trusted science-based information;
·         generating advice for governments and industry;
·         improving community understanding of the benefits and impacts of onshore gas development; and
·         strengthening the linkages to key stakeholder groups in gas development regions.

We know that there is no substitute for community engagement and robust science if we are to bring more gas to the market.

I look forward to working with my State and Territory counterparts, and the companies operating in each state, to expand GISERA wherever there are communities that would benefit from scientific research into unconventional gas activities…..

It is clear that your industry is absolutely critical to the continued strength of the Australian economy.

As we now continue the transition to the production phase of the current resources boom, and look to take advantage of future opportunities, we must not compromise all the hard work and investment that has got us to this point.

Sadly, under pressure from the Greens, the Labor party has managed to destroy the vital bipartisanship which existed for over a decade under Ian MacFarlane, Gary Gray and Martin Ferguson in this area of national economic importance.

Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg has acknowledged as recently as last month that the gas market needs to be reformed but, on the back of the ACCC report, has suggested the answer lies in pipeline regulation and moving away from blanket moratoriums on "certain" gas developments – meaning bans on CSG developments – which should instead be managed case by case. 

The big environmental issue of the last NSW election was coal seam gas. And while the gas industry and its lobbyists keep waiting for the controversy to go away, gas looks set to play a major role in the federal election too.

To recap, the NSW government's support of CSG hit the Nationals hard at the state election. They lost one formerly safe seat and lost another. The Libs took notice – CSG info sessions were then held in Northern Sydney Liberal branches.

The government killed off some gas projects, hoping to put gas on the – ahem – back burner, but recent events continue to turn up the heat in NSW and beyond…..

It's a point worth thinking about. No matter how much gas we produce, our prices are now linked to the Asian market.

The gas industry knew this, of course. In fact, companies like Santos boasted to investors that opening up gas exports would mean they could charge Australian gas users global prices.

The industry said nothing, however, to governments. The Economic Impact Assessments submitted to state planning agencies barely mentioned the impact on Australian gas prices.

Australian manufacturers have been hard hit. They now compete with foreign buyers of gas and can pay double or triple previous contract prices. The ACCC found that for a period no gas suppliers would make gas available to Australian manufacturers. 

Deloitte Access Economics found that the increase in gas prices as a result of CSG exports could cost manufacturers $118 billion by 2021, most of which will go to the gas companies in a $81 billion windfall.

The salt in the wound for manufacturers is their lobbyists let this happen. After insisting CSG was an "exciting opportunity", last year Innes Willox, head of the Australian Industry Group admitted that they had "sleepwalked into gas exports".

With so much interest in gas issues and voters clearly ready to punish politicians who get gas wrong, there is plenty at stake in the coming election.

The Greens position is simple – they oppose all CSG and most other gas developments.

The Coalition is in a difficult spot. Pro-industry Liberals are unlikely to sign up for anything the gas lobby doesn't want, but it isn't their voters that are likely to care.

The Nationals are still smarting from their electoral losses in NSW. They're the ones that will get burned if Greens and Labor can make local angst on gas count in federal electorates.

Labor senses this, pledging to extend the "water trigger", which makes more gas projects likely to need federal environmental approval. The gas industry responded with immediate condemnation.