Eight 'leaks' discovered as second CSG hearing gets underway

Eight 'leaks' discovered as second CSG hearing gets underway


State government officials will be grilled about a number of "leaks" at Santos' Narrabri Gas Projects.


STATE government officials will be grilled about a number of "leaks" at Santos' Narrabri Gas Projects at a parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday.

It's the second hearing into whether the NSW Chief Scientist's 16 coal seam gas recommendations have been implemented by the NSW government, after the first hearing in December was described as a "train wreck", with many questions going unanswered.

The first hearing did uncover that eight leaks at the Narrabri Gas Project were found by the NSW Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during 2018-19.

Two of the leaks were repaired within 24 hours, however the EPA is still investigating if the remaining six were "gas releases" that were part of the wells' operation or whether they "should be classified as leaks and further action taken".


"The EPA is currently working to determine whether this release of gas is an acceptable practice for this component of the well surface infrastructure," the EPA told the committee.

Another leak discovered at the Camden Gas project was also repaired within 24 hours.

Lock the Gate spokesperson Georgina Woods said it was "deeply troubling" to watch government representatives "scratch their heads when asked basic questions" at the last hearing.

"It demonstrated an alarming lack of attention to the serious risk coal seam gas poses to groundwater in North West," Ms Woods said.

"This inquiry has shown how unready and unaware the government is for the environmental, social and economic damage that it will inflict."

Last week, the state government announced it would inject an additional 70 petajoules (PJ) of gas per annum into the east coast market in return for $3 billion from the Commonwealth government.

The Narrabri Gas Project is expected to create up to 70 PJ a year, leading to fears political pressure was being applied the project's independent approval process.

Santos chief executive Kevin Gallagher said it would be inappropriate to preempt the decision of the Independent Planning Commission, which would be based on the merits of the project.

"However, we are very confident that the EIS is based on the best available science and the project will be able to stand on its merits," Mr Gallagher said.


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