Stop CSG Sydney is still to receive a response from Minister for Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts requesting he cancel PEL 463 – the coal seam gas (CSG) licence that covers the Sydney basin.*
Stop CSG Sydney is a community group campaigning against coal seam gas exploration and drilling. It formed to oppose a test drill site in St Peters, discovered by accident at the end of 2011.
Since then, it has organised community petitions, marches, film screenings and motions to council opposing CSG in the inner west and beyond. The new CSG regulations, bought in by the NSW government, prohibit CSG drilling closer than 2 kilometres from urban areas.
When Stop CSG Sydney found out that the licence covering most of Sydney was about to be transferred to UK-based company IGas Energy Plc as part of its buy out of Dart energy, it launched its “Cancel the Licence” campaign.
“We know that IGas Energy has publicly stated it wants to divest all non-UK assets of Dart at a time when it is ‘commercially attractive’ to do so, and ‘with a view to maximising cash returns’”, said Sandra Thompson, spokesperson for Stop CSG Sydney.
“We have confirmed that Dart Energy – which owns PEL 463 via its subsidiary Macquarie Energy – is urging its shareholder to vote in favour of the sale,
“We have also confirmed that IGas received Foreign Investment Review Board approval on July 30 for the sale to take place. That means that the federal government has approved the sale”, Ms Thompson said.
Pip Hinman, another spokesperson, said: “However, we know that the community in urban Sydney doesn’t want CSG. Dart was pressured out of undertaking its test drill in St Peters because of community pressure.
“We have written to the minister, urging him to prevent the sale of PEL 463 to IGas Energy and cancel the licence for good.
“Where’s the logic in allowing the sale to go ahead when communities do not want CSG, the licence covers mainly urban Sydney, and the NSW regulations on CSG prevent drilling from happening?”, asked Ms Hinman.
Sandy Thompson, Stop CSG Sydney President 0403 195 627
Pip Hinman, Stop CSG Sydney, Vice President 0412 139 968
* Below is a copy of the letter ?Stop CSG Sydney sent to the Minister.
The Hon. Anthony Roberts, MP
Minister for Resources and Energy
Level 37 Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place
SYDNEY NSW 2000
Dear Mr Roberts
Transfer of licence Petroleum Export Licence 463
Stop Coal Seam Gas Sydney Inc is a non-partisan group of citizens who are concerned about the rapid expansion of unconventional gas extraction.
We are not anti-mining, but we believe that until the method of extracting coal seam gas has been scientifically assessed and proven to be safe,the industry should not be given licences to frack – in urban or rural NSW.
The pollution and health problems generated from CSG fields in Queensland are cause enough for communities across NSW to be extremely cautious. Until the industry has been proven to be safe for our health, land and water we do not believe it should be given licences for test drilling and more.
As you are aware, the Petroleum Exploration Licence 463 (the licence), currently held by Macquarie Energy Pty Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of Dart Energy Limited, covers the greater part of the Sydney basin, home to some 4 million people.
On May 9, 2014 Dart Announced that it is in the process of being acquired by the UK-based company IGas Energy Plc, with a clearly stated intention to divest all non-UK assets of Dart. The transfer of Dart’s exploration licences to IGas fails to serve the public interest.
Minister Roberts, as per the petroleum exploration licence conditions relating to PEL 463, your written approval is required prior to ‘any change in the effective control of the licence holder’ or ‘any foreign acquisition of substantial control in the licence holder’.
Stop CSG Sydney strongly urges you to deny approval. This is a valuable opportunity for the NSW Government to align the status of the licence with your current policy on coal seam gas exclusion zonesthat does not allow coal seam gas drilling within 2 kilometres of residential areas.
Stop CSG Sydney and concerned community members are requesting that you do not allow the transfer of the licence that covers an area of 2.400 square kilometres, covers the City of Sydney and extends from the northern part of Illawarra to the southern Newcastle coalfields.
Further, we ask that you use this opportunity to cancel the licence that was issued without any consultation with the people living under this licence.
Finally, we request a meeting with you to discuss these matters further. Sandra Thompson can be contacted by email at email@example.com or by phone on 0403 195 627.
Ms Sandra Thompson Ms Pip Hinman
President Vice President
on behalf of Stop CSG Sydney Inc
Please provide an acknowledgment of receipt of this letter.
Clause 45 and 46, Second Schedule Petroleum Exploration Licence Conditions 2012.
Coal seam gas exclusion zones http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/coal-seam-gas-exclusion-zones