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Coal Seam Gas

Royal Commission needed to investigate ‘whiff of corruption’ in Queensland

The Lock the Gate Alliance says a Royal Commission is needed to investigate the ‘whiff of corruption’ pervading the State Government’s links with the mining industry.

Lock the Gate’s national president, Drew Hutton says the Queensland government had ‘jumped into bed’ with mining executives and full disclosure was needed.

“The Newman government has a terrible whiff of corruption about it and the public deserves to know exactly what links it has with mining executives and other big business in Queensland,” Mr Hutton said.

“The ICAC enquiry in New South Wales is uncovering all manner of corrupt and unconscionable behaviour but I bet it’s got nothing on what’s happening here in Queensland.

“The link between QCoal’s, James Mackay and the LNP is just the tip of the iceberg and only a full investigation will shine a light on what’s really going on.”

Mr Hutton said it was “doubling worrying” that the LNP was trying to avoid scrutiny by watering down the powers of the Crime and Misconduct Commission.

Australia has an estimated 198 Bcm of coal bed methane (CBM). Queensland has the two largest producing basins - the Bowen and the Surat Basins. Exploration is being conducted in the Galilee Basin.

The number of gas wells drilled in Queensland increased dramatically from 10 per year in the 1990s to more than 600 per year in 2009 and 2010.
This was due to the technological breakthroughs by George Mitchell in 1998 which made the process economical.

Auditor-General releases damning report on environmental regulation
April 02, 2014 The Lock the Gate Alliance has welcomed the release by the Queensland Audit Office into the Environmental Regulation of the Resource and Waste Industries as the first ray of light shone on the topic in two decades.

The best performing well in Queensland produces $1 million a day but an average CSG well is worth about $60,000 a day.

The Bowen basin covers 160,000 sq km of Central Queensland. Production from this basin has provided the majority of Queensland CBM to date.

The Surat basin first commercial production reached the domestic market in 2006. The methane in the 300,000-sq-km Surat basin, which stretches beyond Queensland into northern New South Wales, is not buried as deeply as that in the Bowen basin, the gas concentration is lower and the gas less thermally mature. There is higher permeability in this basin, and because the coal is generally shallower, drilling and completion costs are lower.

The two leading coal seam gas (CSG) companies exploring the Galilee Basin in central western Queensland are AGL ASX: AGK and Comet Ridge

Letter from QLD farmer to local paper:

On the shake of a hand – that is how deals used to be done in rural communities.

The shake of a hand and your word was your bond.

Then the CSG and mineral resource circus rolled into town and exploited the trust and faith of the rural landholders for their own ends.

The first contacts were by landholder liaison officers, who were usually ex-rural based so were considered ‘trustworthy’, and the landholders were blindsided by ‘free money’ for the privilege of ‘exploration’ works undertaken on their land.

Seismic surveys, exploratory well drilling, environmental and ecological impact surveys, all explained in non-threatening terms and the landholder had faith and trust that these companies would do the right thing.

There were all the ‘presents’ – gravelled roads, grids, new gates so the landholder felt obligated to the resource company.

Unfortunately, the information they were presented with didn’t reveal the impact yet to come when vehicles, heavy machinery, and people and phone calls, emails, faxes and meetings became an everyday unwelcome disruption to someone’s life and business.

The wells were drilled and then had to be connected to pipelines so more disruption, meetings, phone calls, emails etc.

Now compressor stations are needed to be connected to processing hubs and the local roads and residents are being heavily impacted by the thousands of heavy vehicle movements required to build these projects.

This entire infrastructure now has to be powered so the substations and high voltage transmission lines solely being constructed for the CSG companies are moving in.

The rural community had absolutely no comprehension of what was to come when the first landholder liaison officer showed up to chat about the ‘low impact’ CSG wells.

No wonder landholders are feeling duped and embarrassed by the conduct and compensation agreements they naively signed at the beginning.

The following media release from Lock The Gate is published in full

PM must make good on commitment to Tara residents

November 03, 2013 - Lock The Gate - Prime Minister, Tony Abbott must make good on promises made to the representative of Tara estates resident, Debbi Orr, that his government would protect people against coal seam gas development.

Mr Abbott met with Debbi Orr on Saturday in the small western Queensland town of Tara and heard how local residents felt their health had been affected by pollution from nearby coal seam gas fields and how the Queensland State Government had ignored them.

Ms Orr's children and others on the estates have been complaining of serious health impacts for many months.

Mr Abbott promised the Federal Government would organise proper health studies of the estates, would ensure CSG activities would not occur again near residential areas and landowners would not be forced to sign access agreements with CSG companies.

Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, who has worked closely with Tara residents over the last four years, said the Federal Government should go further than this.

"Because the Queensland Government allowed this massive development to go ahead in a residential estate back in the mid-2000s is no reason why these people should have to put up with this awful intrusion into their lives," Mr Hutton said.

"These residents have been fighting for over four years to keep the companies, QGC and Origin, out of their area and their lives have been turned upside down.

"Mr Abbott should pressure the companies and the State Government to buy out affected residents so they can now get on with their lives."


Emergent situation, Toowoomba November 14, 2013 at 8:34 pm
Police and emergency crews are at the scene of excavations in Toowoomba.

Information suggests that storm activity may cause excavations to collapse and rupture a gas line in that area.

An emergent situation has been declared and traffic has been diverted.

Evacuations are underway around the area whilst emergency crews attempt to rectify the situation.

Police and emergency crews are evacuating areas within Ruthven Street, Campbell Street, Hume Street and Margaret Street.

Public are advised to follow directions of police and emergency crews.

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