New player moves in on Northern Rivers CSG industry
DART Energy, the company behind controversial plans to drill for gas in Sydney's Inner West, announced today it is moving into the Northern Rivers.
In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, Dart relayed it's plans to acquire Arrow Energy's "PEL 445" petroleum exploration licence - the biggest on the Northern Rivers taking in Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore and Kyogle.
The lease was Arrow Energy's only NSW venture, though it remains a major player in the Queensland CSG industry.
Dart's Australian chief executive, Robbert de Weijer, expressed 'delight' at the addition to his company's port folio, indicating community consultation was high on the company's agenda - a key criticism of current local CSG operator, Metgasco.
"I look forward to further near term progress in this licence area and working closely with both the broader community and the other operators in the Clarence Moreton Basin to bring the area's gas resources to market in a way that is both sustainable and co-operative and minimises the impact on local communities," Mr de Weijer wrote.
NSW Greens mining spokesperson, Jeremy Buckingham, was less optimistic, citing Dart's "terrible record of community consultation" in Sydney.
"Dart Energy were behind crazy plans to drill for coal seam gas at St Peters ... they had to flee Sydney because of community opposition, but now they've signalled their intention to target the Northern Rivers area," he said.
"I hope that this sale of the exploration licence is a sign that Arrow recognises that there is not a social licence to extract coal seam gas in the Northern Rivers. Did Dart Energy pick this licence up for a bargain basement price?
"It is important to remember that multinational oil giant Shell is lurking behind these smaller exploration companies and is likely to take over once production gas fields are established."