Metgasco won’t resume for now
RECENT revelations of an "opt-out" clause in the NSW Government's exclusions policy on CSG will not change Metgasco's decision to suspend its Northern Rivers exploration, CEO Peter Henderson said.
"The introduction of exclusion zones was only one of the reasons for Metgasco to suspend its operations," Mr Henderson said.
"Until the New South Wales CSG regulations are firmly established, tested and acceptable, Metgasco operations will remain suspended."
The new CSG policy changes followed an 18-month moratorium which ended five months ago.
Other changes to the regulations include the appointment of the EPA as a lead regulator of the industry, and a review of all CSG activity by NSW chief scientist Mary O'Kane.
Ms O'Kane's initial report is not expected until July.
Gas industry body APPEA CEO Rick Wilkinson said Metgasco's suspension of exploration was a "direct result of obstructionist NSW Government policies that have left industry in limbo for the last two years".
It is understood that in the current environment of regulatory uncertainty in NSW, the CSG industry is not expecting any imminent "green lights" for further exploration or production.
Richmond Valley mayor Ernie Bennett said he didn't support the existence of the opt-out clause because it passed the State's regulatory responsibility on to councils.
Cr Bennett was adamant that Richmond Valley Council would "want nothing to do" with the policy.
"We told the government "if you want to regulate the industry, regulate it - don't half regulate it'," Cr Bennett said.
"I didn't believe our council would want to come in and make half the decision."