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Coal seam gas and your land - Top 5 tips for landholders

If you have been approached by energy companies wanting to carry out activity on your land, your not alone. The Coal Seam Gas industry is big business and it's important you're aware of your rights during what can be a stressful and confusing time. Right from the onset it's a good idea to get some legal advice, whether you view the activity as an opportunity or a threat.

If you've progressed to the point of receiving a Conduct and Compensation Agreement (CCA) that details the activities on your land, here are our top 5 tips.

  1. Understanding the impacts – Make sure you understand the impacts of the Activities before you sign a CCA. Review the company material, ask questions and talk to others in your area. Just be sure you understand what you’re signing up for.
  2. Specifics – Make sure the Activities listed in your CCA are described such that it reflects what you understand is to occur. These are often drafted so broadly that there is uncertainty in what the parties intend to be the activities e.g. an agreement uses the word “Pipeline” and while you may assume this means one round tube buried underneath the earth, the definition in the Petroleum Legislation is broad enough to include anything connected to that “Pipeline” i.e. a compressor station, communication tower or valve.
  3. Activities after drilling – Drilling the CSG well can be just the beginning. Often the well will be regularly monitored and maintained (aka a ‘work-over’) to ensure its production is optimised. A well might need to be worked-over once every two years and this can involve many of the same implications as drilling i.e. noise, light, dust etc.
  4. Make your needs known – Negotiating a CCA is a commercial arrangement. You have the right to make requests that address your needs. If infrastructure is in an unreasonable location, request for it to be moved somewhere more suitable. If the activities are proposed for a certain time where it would interfere with your operation i.e. harvest/mustering, request that they take place at a different time.
  5. Different well types – It is important to clarify what type of well will be on your property as each well carries a different impact. An exploration and production well will usually have a shorter lifetime than other wells and will often be accompanied by a flare. However, a solely production well will usually be accompanied by gathering lines and has a lifetime of approximately 15-20 years.
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Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: February 26, 2014.

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