THE Santos Narrabri petroleum licence area is now entirely surrounded by communities that have declared themselves hostile to gasfields.
Maules Creek today (Thursday) declared itself - and its roads - gasfield free, with 97 per cent of residents supporting the move.
A Santos-owned petroleum licence also applies to the Maules Creek area and some in the community fear the company would exploit the holding should its Narrabri gas project get the go ahead.
The Maules Creek licence is one of the expired "zombie licences" NSW Nationals voted to remove at its annual conference in July, but still remains in place.
Narrabri Shire Councillor Ron Campey was present to accept the declaration.
Maules Creek resident Sally Hunter said the Maules Creek's declaration was important.
"By declaring Maules Creek gasfield free, this has closed the ring of communities right the way around the Narrabri Gas project area," she said.
"Every community around the circumference of the proposed project area has now declared, in the vast majority, that they do not want to live in a gasfield.
"It was nice to have an opportunity for the community to come together, during this tough time," said Ms Hunter.
"Even though people are suffering from the drought and are having their water affected by Maules Creek mine, it was good to get together and share a cuppa and a scone provided by the Maules Creek Country Women's Association.
"Maules Creek is one of seven gasfields across NSW that have been mapped and promoted by Santos to their investors where exploration licences are still in existence," she said.
"If the company's Narrabri project gets the go ahead, there is nothing stopping them developing these other gasfields.
"Despite the vote at the Nationals' annual conference, the NSW government has refused to get rid of these 'zombie' licenses, even though they have expired.
"Deputy Premier John Barilaro needs to step up and listen to his own party, and advocate in government for these zombies licences to be slain."
Maules Creek residents will officially present the declaration at the next Narrabri Shire Council meeting.