The New South Wales Chief Scientist & Engineer, Professor Mary O'Kane released the final report today following her 19-month independent review of coal seam gas (CSG) activities in New South Wales.
The report presents 16 recommendations to Government.
It has been endorsed by the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) as giving the green light to responsible development of the state’s natural gas resources. APPEA has more than 80 full member companies, all oil and gas explorers and producers active in Australia.
O'Kane's report states that the technical challenges and risks posed by the industry can be safely managed and notes the high standards of engineering and professionalism in natural gas companies.
Overall, the Review found many of the technical challenges and risks posed by the CSG industry can in general be managed through careful designation of areas appropriate for CSG extraction; high standards of engineering and professionalism in CSG companies; creation of a State Whole-of Environment Data Repository; comprehensive monitoring of CSG operations with ongoing scrutiny of collected data, a well-trained and certified workforce; and applying new technologies as they become available.
However, O'Kane said there is still much for Government to do. "Implementing the recommendations of the Review involves non-trivial tasks," she said.
In addition to the CSG report, O'Kane also released reports on regulatory compliance and managing risk, along with information papers on fracture stimulation, setbacks/interface and abandoned wells.
APPEA notes that NSW consumes around a quarter of the gas used in the eastern Australia gas market, yet supplies only about 1% of the gas production for that market.
The state’s 1.3 million gas customers rely on interstate producers for 95% of their supply, despite the state possessing very significant reserves and experienced gas companies being willing and able to produce local gas for local consumers.
New production depends upon successful exploration activity, says APPEA, and without new exploration and production in NSW, it will be very difficult to put downward pressure on NSW gas prices, which it says are increasing by more than 10% this year.
At right, New South Wales Chief Scientist and Engineer, Prof. Mark O'Kane, appointed 23 October 2008.
All reports from the Independent Review of Coal Seam Gas Activities in New South Wales are available at www.chiefscientist.nsw.gov.au/reports
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