| Pilliga |
| Wollongong |
As of December 12, 2013, AGL are waiting
NSW State Government approval to recommence stimulation fracking of these same
AGL's Gloucester coal seam gas wells have already
accidentally erupted methane 300m away from the wells
A coal seam gas well currently owned by AGL at Gloucester was shut down in
2004 when several boreholes up to 300 meters away unexpectedly blew off methane
These are the same wells which consumer gas company AGL and federal Resources
Minister McFarlane now want to start fracking before Christmas.
These gas wells are located
less than 300 metres away from family homes.
However, AGL insists that family homes within 300m of gas wells is not close: "Claims that wells
will be close to houses is
The closest any
well will be to a residence
is around 300 metres."
300m is less than the length
of 25 school buses or 15
mining trucks and a man ran
that distance in
less than 31 seconds in
The NSW Government is currently considering whether AGL should
continue fracking operations of these wells, with their announcement expected
soon. The community at Gloucester has vowed to stop AGL.
An expert in Workplace Health & Safety said that in assessing
the risk of a potentially dangerous industrial operation such as a gas well so
close to where people live and work,
there are two main considerations: the 'likelihood' of an accident, and the
'consequence' of that accident.
Looking at the AGL Gloucester gas wells, the likelihood is
assessed as 'high' as a blow out has happened previously in the same wells. The consequence of as
similar accident happening again is 'extreme' as multiple deaths of innocent
With families and farmers living and working within 300m of gas
wells, the chances of accidental explosion from hot water systems or any flame
is of major concern to residents.
COAL BED METHANE HAZARDS IN NEW SOUTH WALES
BY C. M. ATKINSON January 2005.
In September 2004, within a fortnight of the beginning of gas
testing, a coal bed methane well north of Newcastle, NSW, was shut down as
several boreholes up to 300m away began to blow off methane gas.
This was the
first reported case of a serious migration of methane gas from coal bed methane
operations in New South Wales.
Molopo Australia Limited has a 25% interest with the operating
company AJ Lucas Coal technologies Pty. Ltd, in the Stratford gas prospect near
Gloucester, approximately 100 kilometres north of Newcastle.
Drill hole LMG-03
was one of two test production drill holes completed by the partners and four
coal zones with an aggregate thickness of 16 metres (some announcements quote 23
metres) of coal had been fracture stimulated with sand and water. A 6-12 months
testing period began in late August 2004.
However, Molopo announced on 7th September that all tests had
been halted after methane had erupted from a number of old boreholes in the
At the time a strong gas flow of 280,000 cubic feet/day had been recorded
even though the water level was still about 300 metres above the coal seams.
and a half months later Molopo Australia Limited announced that test pumping of
LMG-03 had resumed.
Three boreholes from an earlier coal exploration had started
producing methane, and these along with eight other boreholes had now been
sealed with concrete, the company explained.
The project manager explained in
November that this accidental methane eruption had shown how good the lateral
connections were in the reservoir.
In this case there were apparently no serious injuries and the
methane gas migrated into nearby boreholes rather than houses, essential water
supplies or livestock areas.
This example shows that even with only a partial
withdrawal of the hydrostatic pressure, methane will migrate quickly and in
If the drill site conditions laid down by the State
Government are similar at Stratford to those elsewhere, the most visible safety
precautions would have been a wire fence and a locked gate.
PDF file from
ASX website from September 7th 2004
Shares in Molopo Australia Limited (MPO)
dropped 8% on 7 September 2004 after the company
advised that work on its Coal bed methane project at New South Wales’ Gloucester
Basin had been suspended because
gas started venting from a number of old
boreholes in the area.