Tag Archives: Pilliga

Santos spin off of Narrabri CSG project should prompt cancellation

MEDIA RELEASE – 8 December 2016

Santos’ announcement today that they would concentrate on core conventional gas assets  and that the Narrabri coal seam gas project would be “packed and run separately for value as a standalone business” shows that the controversial project has no future and that the government should step in and cancel the licence to provide certainty to the community and protect the land and water.

NSW Greens energy and resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said:

“It’s clear that Santos has little interest in developing the Narrabri coal seam gas project and are likely to try to sell it off.  It’s time for the government to end the uncertainty and put this project out of its misery by cancelling the licence.

“It’s now been almost three years since the Narrabri project was given “Strategic Energy Project” status to fast track it through the planning system.  There is still no Environmental Impact Statement lodged and now the company has said they intend to spin it off and concentrate on other conventional assets.

“We’ve seen farmers and others protest and be arrested trying to protect the land and water, and particularly the Great Artesian Basin.  How long must the community remain vigilant and suffer uncertainty?

“The world is quickly moving to renewable energy.  Developing new fossil fuels, particularly when they pose risks through fracking and the extraction of vast amounts of saline water, is negligent behaviour.

“Victoria has banned fracking and the South Australian Liberal Party has called for a ten year moratorium on fracking.  The NSW Government should show leadership on renewable energy and climate change by banning unconventional gas and boosting renewable energy investment.”

Santos should come clean on Narrabri coal seam gas project’s future

MEDIA RELEASE – 12 December 2014

Santos should come clean on Narrabri coal seam gas project’s future

The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today called on Santos to come clean on their plans for the Narrabri coal seam gas project to give certainty to the local community, after the company announced it would slice $250 million from its $400 million expenditure budget for the project.

Under a MOU signed early in 2014, Santos were due to lodge their Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on 30 June 2014, with a determination scheduled for 23 January 2015, however, Santos is still yet to lodge its EIS.

A sudden and significant drop in the world oil price has put a huge amount of pressure on Santos, with its value falling 40%, its credit rating dropped to BBB, and the profitability of its GLNG project in doubt.

“The people of the North West deserve to have some certainty, so the Greens are calling on Santos to make an announcement on the future of the Narrabri coal seam gas project in the context of the uncertain future for coal seam gas and Santos’ significant cuts to capital expenditure,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The world gas and oil market is changing rapidly, and it is looking increasingly like CSG and LNG may resemble a giant Ponzi scheme.

“This project has caused enormous community concern and both the government and Santos have a responsibility to inform the public what is happening.

“Resources Minister Anthony Roberts should indicate whether the government still considers the Narrabri project a ‘Strategic Energy Project’, given the MOU timetable has fallen over, capital expenditure has been slashed, and any connecting pipeline is off in the Never Never,” he said.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

Labor’s patchwork position on coal seam gas needs to be clarified

MEDIA RELEASE –29 October 2014

The Greens NSW mining spokesperson, Jeremy Buckingham called on Labor to clarify their position on coal seam gas in relation to AGL’s Gloucester project and Santos’ Pilliga project, after Labor Leader John Robertson added the Clarence Valley to the list of areas where CSG would be banned by a Labor government.

“With this new announcement, the Labor Party continue their ad hoc approach to coal seam gas that seems motivated more by political expediency than any philosophical or scientific concern,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“John Robertson needs to put on the record what the Labor Party’s position is on fracking in the Gloucester Valley, as well as Santos’ coal seam gas proposal for the Narrabri area.  If he fails to do this then his ad hoc announcements in the Northern Rivers will be exposed as a cynical political exercise likely to be reversed once he is ensconced in power.

“Just south of Gloucester, AGL are now fracking – a licence that the former Labor government granted.  This is ground zero for coal seam gas in NSW right now, and John Robertson should inform the public as to whether Labor supports fracking in Gloucester.

“Earlier this week the Greens announced our policy of complete and unconditional opposition to coal seam gas,” he said.

Contact: Max Phillips – 0419 444 916

Minister Roberts brainwashed on CSG

Media Release – 6 August 2014

The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today said it appeared that Resources Minister Anthony Roberts was brainwashed after he visited Santos’ Narrabri coal seam gas project and began singing from the company’s hymn sheet and praising CSG.  He also rejected Minister Roberts claim the Greens wanted more stringent well integrity for farm water bores as an outright lie.

“I’m very concerned that Minister Roberts appears to have lost his impartiality and has become the Minister for Santos after being taken on a company tour of their coal seam gas facilities near Narrabri,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Perhaps the CSG waste water he drank on the tour has affected his brain, as he is now giving CSG a big green light despite a record of aquifer contamination and huge scientific, community and farmer opposition.

“Minister Roberts’ assertion that the coal seam gas industry is safe is not supported by Santos’ record of leaks, spills and contamination at its existing Narrabri operation.

“I challenge Minister Roberts to meet with local farmers and others concerned about the impact of coal seam gas on their land, water and communities so he can get a more balanced assessment.

“Minister Roberts claim that the Greens want farm water bores to have the same integrity as coal seam gas wells is a fabrication.  Water bores to not pose the same risk as CSG wells, which cross multiple aquifers and extract huge amounts of methane and other gases, as well as large amounts of saline water.

“His claim is a deliberate slur on the Greens aimed at distracting from his love-in with Santos,” he said.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

Santos break MOU commitment by failing to lodge CSG application

MEDIA RELEASE – 7 July 2014

The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today said that Santos had broken its commitment under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed with the NSW Government relating to the Narrabri coal seam gas project. Under the terms of the MOU, Santos were required to lodge their Environmental Impact Statement by 30 June 2014, however, this has not occurred.

“Santos appear to have broken their commitment under the MOU, by failing to lodge their detailed plans within the set time-frame. There has been no statement on this issue to the Australian Stock Exchange yet,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.
“The fast-tracked assessment process was meant to start on 30 June 2014 to determine an outcome on 23 January 2015. If Santos fail to lodge, then the time frame must be extended as well.

“The decision will now be so close to the next State Election in March 2015 that it should be delayed until after the election has occurred and voters have had their say. This project is too big and controversial to be signed off by a government in caretaker mode.

“The response to an FOI application makes it clear that Santos sought the MOU to try to provide a greater degree of certainty for an unnamed potential investor. However, the MOU does nothing to earn the project a social licence from a community who are very concerned about the risks of coal seam gas to their land, water and health ,” he said.
Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

Govt bungles aquifer interference policy on Santos’ giant coal seam gas project

MEDIA RELEASE  4 April 2014

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham today expressed his dismay that the government’s centrepiece policy to protect groundwater, the Aquifer Interference policy, will not apply to the assessment of Santos’ 850 gas well project, despite admissions from Santos that there are risks to aquifers, a record of contamination incidents and the fact that it sits above a Great Artesian Basin recharge area.

Santos have lodged their Preliminary Environmental Assessment with the Department of Planning as the first stage of the assessment process.  Page 29 says: “an aquifer interference approval would not be required for the proposed development” arguing that this is because the government has not made the appropriate ‘proclamation’.

“This is a catastrophic bungle by the O’Farrell Government.  The Aquifer Interference policy is meant to be the centrepiece policy to protect groundwater from mining.  That it does not apply to the largest coal seam gas project in the state is a complete farce,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The Greens call for any assessment of the project to be halted until the government can rectify this bungle to ensure that the Aquifer Interference requirement is applied to the assessment of the Santos project.

“If this is an intentional oversight to help push through the Santos project, then the government has a lot of explaining to do.  If it is a bungle, then the Water Minister should resign.

“The Preliminary Environmental Assessment admits that coal seam gas development may impact on groundwater quality and quantities, with risks that cross-contamination of aquifers can occur and there may be cumulative drawdown impacts and subsidence.

“A major concern about coal seam gas has always been its impact on water.  This project cannot slip through a loop hole and put at risk local water resources and the Great Artesian Basin.

“Other concerns with the project include bushfire risks, the vague plans to deal with the massive amounts of salt and toxic waste water this project will create, as well as significant native vegetation clearing and industrialisation of the Pilliga forest and surrounding bushland,” he said.

A project brief sheet follows.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916


The Preliminary Environmental Assessment document has been released by Santos for the Pilliga coal seam gas project.


The project will be 850 gas wells with an area of 98,000 hectares.  It will include high voltage power lines hooked up to the state grid; an expansion of the already massive waste water facilities; in-field compressor stations; as well as a large gas treatment plant.

Major issues:

1)     Claim they do not need to get an Aquifer Interference approval.

P.29 Although Santos admit “the project would encounter groundwater, and would, therefore, penetrate an aquifer” they claim that the government has not ‘proclaimed’ the Aquifer Interference provisions of the Water Management Act.   “Accordingly, an aquifer interference approval would not be required for the proposed development.”


Aquifer interference approval was the O’Farrell Government’s major policy put in place to protect aquifers from damage from mining. It is the centrepiece of their policy response.  The fact that the biggest coal seam gas project in NSW, that sits on top of a Great Artesian Basin recharge area, does not need to get an aquifer interference approval is a scandal.


2)     Admission that project will likely damage groundwater.
P.39-40 Admit the project has the impact to damage groundwater through:

  1. Depressurisation
  2. Leakage through poorly constructed gas wells
  3. Changes to groundwater quality
  4. Cross-contamination of aquifers
  5. Cumulative drawdown impacts
  6. Subsidence
  7. Spills and leaks affecting shallow alluvial aquifers
  8. Changes to groundwater ecosystems

3)     There is no clear plan for waste water or salt management.
The EIS is vague about how it will dispose of waste water, brine and the huge quantities of salt it will produce.  It is highly likely that the salt will have to be buried as land fill.  This will require a site of hundreds of hectares.  Where will the salt be buried? P.14-15

A significant expansion of the waste water ponds will be required. These ponds are already 800 mega litres or 325 Olympic swimming pools in size.


4)     The project is likely to be connected to the electricity grid and require high voltage transmission lines through a bushfire prone area. P.15-16


5)     Admission that a fire at a gas well head could initiate a bush fire
Placing a major gas field in the middle of a highly bush fire prone forest has always been a major concern for local residents.


6)     Santos admit there will only be 200 ongoing jobs.

 Download this press release.

Political interference in forest closures

MEDIA RELEASE – 2 April 2014

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham has written to Police Minister Mike Gallacher asking for the reasons behind his ministerial decision to request the closure of both the Leard State Forest and the Pilliga Forest near Narrabri, saying he was concerned that the decision was a political favour to resource companies Whitehaven and Santos. confrontation at Leard

“I’ve written to the Police Minister asking for an explanation as to why he has made a ministerial request to close these forests for extended periods of time and whether it was made at the request of the resource companies,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“State Forests should be open to the public for a variety of activities.  The extent of these closures is of concern as it could have significant impacts on the public’s right to enjoy public assets.

“People in NSW have the right to peaceful protest and public land should not be closed simply to curtail this right.

“There is significant concern about both the destruction of the Leard Forest for Whitehaven’s coal mine and Satnos’ coal seam gas operations in the Pilliga Forest.

“The Greens support the right to peaceful protest and the NSW Greens state conference held last weekend passed a motion in support of protesters at both the Leard Forest and the Pilliga.”

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

« Older Entries