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Energy Insights Newsletter - June Edition

The Reis’ story

Garnet Reis has lived on his property in The Gums for close to 80 years with the land held in the Reis family since 1924.

QGC approached Garnet and his wife Heather in 2009 with the intention of putting down an exploratory tight head well on their property. According to the Reis’, dealings with QGC were difficult and included frequent changes to plans and staff, threats involving the Land Court, uncertainty about future activities and the spread of African Love Grass on their property as a result of exploration activities.

The Reis’ engaged Shine’s Energy Law team in 2012 to ensure greater accountability from QGC. The team was able to finalise a CCA that met all of the Reis’ needs and included an end date to activities. In April 2014, QGC came back wanting to extend the terms of the agreement. The Shine team was again able to help the Reis’ by renegotiating their CCA and securing additional compensation that the couple was very happy with.

8 facts about tight gas

  1. Tight gas is a natural gas found in certain fine grained rock
  2. Extraction requires a campaign of massive hydraulic fracturing to shatter the rock and let the gas flow
  3. Tight gas bearing rocks are usually buried several kilometres underground. CSG is generally found 400m to 900m underground
  4. Exploratory drilling for tight gas is currently targeting the Tinowon Formation. Other potential reserves have been identified throughout Queensland
  5. With 45 metre drill rigs and 24 hour construction schedules, living near a tight gas frack site is said to be akin to “living on the deck of an aircraft carrier
  6. A typical tight gas drill site involves 16 wells drilled to 4.5km in depth, occupying 3-5 hectares. Wells are drilled horizontally for 1km and fracked in 20 stages. A typical CSG drill site involves 1 well drilled to 600m in depth, occupying 1 hectare
  7. Each frack requires over 1 million litres of water - most will flow back to the surface along with various contaminants.
  8. The implications of tight gas extraction upon human health and the environment in Australia are virtually unknown.
QGC could set a dangerous precedent

QGC has applied to amend its existing Environmental Authority in its Wandoan gas field development. The application seeks to rewrite almost half of the existing conditions, raising the following concerns:

  • Proposal to replace the expression “coal seam gas wells” with “petroleum activities” - this seemingly innocuous amendment could open the door to tight gas extraction developments in the area
  • Projected disturbance area to total 1,982 hectares – this will narrowly skirt the 2,000 hectare trigger threshold for an EIS under the Environmental Protection Act
  • Absence of adequate regard - concerning potential human health and environmental impacts
  • A dangerous precedent – QGC’s application could set a dangerous precedent to the way that all proponents approach future developments.

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Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: June 3, 2014.

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