Casino gas project 'no certainty'



METGASCO, which has big plans to drill for gas near Casino, says it will embark on a process of community consultation.

However, its immediate focus is to find out whether gas reserves are enough to make a proposed 12 megawatt power plant commercially viable.

Geologist and director of Metgasco, David Johnson, has been traversing the hills of Casino for seven years.

He said the area of Metgasco's exploration licence extended approximately seven kilometres south of Casino, all the way up to Kyogle and then just west of Lismore.

However the area of interest was a property along Ellangowan Road, just a few kilometres south of Casino.

He said Metgasco was about to start doing flow tests on the property to check how much gas was in the coal seams.

This would involve five or six drill holes and would take about six months, he said.

If the gas flow was uneconomic then the company would abandon the demonstration field and continue with exploration elsewhere.

"We can't, with confidence, say the project will actually go ahead," he said.

Certain technical hurdles had to be overcome, he said.

Mr Johnson said community consultation would start once the decision was made to proceed.

Meanwhile, the demonstration field would give people a good idea of what the final development would look like.

"It's better to begin the community consultation process at that point because people can see what we're doing," he said.

"It's a matter of doing it at the right time and in the right way."



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