$3.6 billion Narrabri gas project gets green light
The Narrabri gas project has been approved with 134 strict conditions.
The state's independent planning commission announced the decision on Santos's major gas field proposal this morning in a statement, describing it as a "phased approval".
"Following its detailed deliberations, the Commission concludes the project is in the public interest and that any negative impacts can be effectively mitigated with strict conditions," the Commission's statement of reasons for its decision reads.
"The Commission has granted a phased approval that is subject to stringent conditions, which means that the Applicant must meet specific requirements before the Project can progress to the next phase of development… The Commission notes that the approval does not include consent for the proposed gas fired power station at Leewood, the Westport workers accommodation or non-safety flaring infrastructure."
Santos has stated its $3.6-billion Narrabri Gas Project will create up to 1300 construction and 200 operational jobs.
It has the potential to produce up to half of the state's gas demand.
In a statement, the IPC said the commission had considered the likely economic impacts of the project and was satisfied "that on balance the project will provide a net economic benefit for the local community, region and State through increased investment and economic activity".
"This includes diversification of local industry through the provision of a local gas supply, employment opportunities, royalties and revenue and investment in local infrastructure and community projects through the Community Benefit Fund and the Planning Agreement with Narrabri Shire Council.
"The Commission is also satisfied that the Project has the potential to improve gas security for Australia's east coast domestic market."
The project received almost 23,000 public objections were received during exhibition.
The IPC said it was satisfied that the potential groundwater impacts of the project" can be effectively managed under the conditions of consent".
"The Applicant's groundwater impact modelling was considered fit for purpose for this approval," the IPC statement said.
"The Commission imposed conditions requiring further information to improve the groundwater impact modelling before the Project proceeds to Phase 2 to reduce the level of uncertainty with respect to potential groundwater impacts. "
The Commission also acknowledged the lower greenhouse gas emissions of coal seam gas compared to coal".
Santos will also be required to "consult with an expert advisory group in measuring, minimising and reporting these emissions"
The IPC also stated the commission was "satisfied that the Project is unlikely to be the source of significant physical health impacts in the local community".
Originally published as $3.6 billion Narrabri gas project gets green light