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Coal Seam Gas


Disappointment in haste of CSG project

October 8, 2013 - MidCoast Water has again expressed disappointment at the speed of the progress of the Gloucester coal seam methane gas project – with the announcement that fracturing is to commence ahead of the completion of a water study of the area.

Chairperson Cr David West said the water utility was concerned that AGL had announced they would conduct hydraulic fracture stimulation on the wells already drilled at Waukivory, and that this would occur prior to the completion of a water study to be undertaken by independent experts appointed by Gloucester Shire Council.

“We are extremely disappointed that AGL is now looking to fracture one of the wells to gauge how much gas flows prior to this independent water study being undertaken,” Cr West said.

“We feel any fracturing is premature and should be delayed until after the results of the independent water study are made known.”
Gloucester Shire Council is due to announce the experts appointed to conduct the study next week.

AGL have indicated they will shortly lodge a Review of Environmental Factors application for the next stage of development of the four wells drilled last year and this part of the program will test the amount of gas produced, monitor the amount of water produced and provide information about the geology and hydrogeology of the area. To do so the well will be hydraulically fracture stimulated.

While MidCoast Water accepts that hydraulic fracture stimulation is a well-established practice used to widen the existing cleats (or fractures) in the coal to allow trapped gas to flow more easily of the coal seams, it is the timing of the action that is of concern.

“It may well be that the fracturing of the well will have no impact on the water, however there is also the possibility that it may and it will be difficult to tell if it is carried out before the study is completed.”

MidCoast Water has previously expressed their disappointment at the granting of a conditional approval for the gas project by the Federal Government before a bioregional assessment was undertaken.

Bioregional assessments are a scientific analysis of the ecology, hydrology and
geology of an area for the purpose of assessing the potential risks to water resources in the area as a result of impacts of coal seam gas or large coal mining development.

The approval, granted to AGL by the Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water Population and Communities, is for the construction, operation and decommissioning not more than 110 coal seam gas wells and associated infrastructure including gas and water gathering lines.

The approval also covered a central processing facility, the construction of a transfer line to Hexham and a gas receiving station at Hexham.

This media Release from MidCoast Water is printed in full

Disappointment in haste of CSG approval

February 14, 2013 - MidCoast Water has expressed disappointment in the haste of the Federal Government’s conditional approval of the Gloucester coal seam methane gas project.

General manager Robert Loadsman said the water utility was concerned the conditional approval – issued under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and valid until 2062 - had been granted before a bioregional assessment had been undertaken.

“The Gloucester basin was on the priority list for the development of a bioregional assessment by the newly appointed Commonwealth Independent Expert Scientific Committee convened to review coal seam gas proposals and their potential impact on water resources,” Mr Loadsman said.

“It is very disappointing that the Federal Government has made this decision before these assessments were undertaken.”

Bioregional assessments are a scientific analysis of the ecology, hydrology and geology of an area for the purpose of assessing the potential risks to water resources in the area as a result of impacts of coal seam gas or large coal mining development.

The approval, granted to AGL by the Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water Population and Communities, is for the construction, operation and decommissioning not more than 110 coal seam gas wells and associated infrastructure including gas and water gathering lines. The approval also covered a central processing facility, the construction of a transfer line to Hexham and a gas receiving station at Hexham.

There are 36 conditions attached to the approval – they include 12 conditions addressing the protection of listed threatened species and 11 conditions in relation to the protection of water resources.

“We are currently in the process of reviewing all those conditions which relate to the protection of water resources,” Mr Loadsman explained.

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