Australia’s oil and gas company Santos welcomed on Friday the New South Wales (NSW) government’s recommendation to approve its planning application for the onshore Narrabri gas project.
The company said the final assessment report for the project will now be considered by NSW’s Independent Planning Commission (IPC). A decision is due in 12 weeks after the commission carries out a pubic consultation, Kallanish Energy reports.
The recommendation is for the project to be approved with conditions. Santos said it accepts the conditions and will work on them, but didn’t disclose details.
“We are confident that we have relied upon the best science to confirm that the Narrabri Gas Project can be developed safely and sustainably, without harm to water resources or the environment,” said CEO Kevin Gallagher. “However, a consent decision is one for an independent umpire, the IPC, and we’re looking forward to its decision within the next few months.”
The project involves the development of natural gas reserves in the Narrabri area. If approved, 100% of the output will be made available to the NSW market via a pipeline linking into the existing Moomba to Sydney pipeline.
The development can meet half of the state’s gas demand and will be crucial in the post-Covid 19 economic recovery, the CEO said. “The time for political game is over. We want to get on with creating jobs in New South Wales and Narrabri,” he added.
If approved, the project could have up to 850 coal seam gas wells to be located over 425 well-pad sites. The wells will be located within the project area which covers 95,000 hectares in and around the Pilliga forest.
“We anticipate operations on less than one percent of that area. The majority of wells will be in State Forest, in an area designated by the government for logging, extractive industries (like natural gas extraction), and other commercial activities,” Santos said on its website.
The remainder of the wells will be on private land subject to agreement with the landholders. The company already has some agreements in place with landholders in close proximity to the Pilliga.
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