Gomeroi people of Coonabarabran are holding a gathering on Saturday 14th January, 2023, 5-9pm because of the Native Title Tribunal’s decision to extinguish Native Title over parts of the Pilliga forest that has been integral to the Gomeroi nation for millennia. On Sunday 15th a Pilliga/gas field tour leaves Coonabarabran at 9am. More details on the Facebook Event
The Gomeroi people do not consent to the Narrabri Gas Project. The Tribunal’s shocking decision is not surprising considering its past performance. It has now made 184 decisions against Traditional Owners and 3 decisions in favour of them, none in NSW. The Gomeroi are considering making an appeal to the Federal Court and have until 16 February to do so.
Unfortunately, the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese and the NSW Premier, Dominic Perrottet, have both voiced their support for the Narrabri Gas Project. NSW Opposition leader Chris Minns has said that the ALP will not stand in the way of the project.
However, opposition is growing against Santos’ plans to drill 850 more coal seam gas wells in the Pilliga Forest. Gomeroi people have teamed up with unions, farmers, scientists and environmentalists to protest against the project and the Queensland Hunter Gas Pipeline.
Although the PM has challenged the almighty gas cartel with legislation passing to cap the domestic price of gas, it may not be low enough to stop the project.
Narrabri Gas Project & Associated Pipelines
Pipelines – Conditions of Approval for the Narrabri Gas Project state that construction of production wells and related infrastructure cannot commence until a pipeline is approved to transport the gas to the east coast, and gas production cannot start until a pipeline is commissioned.
Due to pushback from landholders, APA scrapped Santos’ preferred Western Slopes Pipeline. This was expected when Santos acquired the Queensland Hunter Gas Pipeline (QHGP).
Recently, Santos has approached landholders along the QHGP to survey their properties and to sign access agreements. Most have refused to negotiate with the company while they wait until the NSW government issues Santos with an Authority to Survey. Even then, many landholders are determined to continue to refuse access.
The Perrottet government recently declared a 50km pipeline to connect Narrabri Gas Project to the Queensland Hunter Gas Pipeline to be Critical State Significant Infrastructure. Over 90 hectares of the Pilliga Forest will need to be cleared for a 30 metre x 30 kilometre easement with turnaround points and hardstands for materials. Santos has to prepare and lodge an Environmental Impact Statement with the NSW government and the public will be able to comment on this.
Project Expansion – Before investing in major infrastructure, approvals to expand into other areas may be necessary for the financial viability of the Narrabri Gas Project.
“We have no plans to drill wells in the Liverpool Plains,” Mr Gallagher told The Land in May 2018. “The Narrabri Gas Project is contained. Our plans are simply not to drill in the Liverpool Plains.”
Santos partially owns two more petroleum exploration licences (PELs) PEL 1 and PEL 12 to the south of Narrabri. These areas include prime agricultural land on the Liverpool Plains through which the Queensland Hunter Gas Pipeline is proposed to be laid.
Santos plans to commence a seismic survey in PEL1 to the southwest of Gunnedah in January 2023 to gain a better understanding of the subsurface geology of this area. The thriving koala population in this area may be at risk. Santos says a fauna spotter will be used to identify any koalas in the area and that area will be avoided. (This is hard to believe given their track record.)
Subject to approvals, Santos proposes to reactivate the Kahlua pilot well located approximately 20km west of Gunnedah in 2023. This will allow Santos to continue exploration activities at the site using existing infrastructure. Construction and makeovers will take approximately three months and appraisal activities will continue for up to two years.
Get Off Gas campaigns
The PM has promised to introduce measures to urge and help households to quit gas and go electric. Get Off Gas campaigns are in place in Victoria and ACT, and chefs, doctors and developers have formed a coalition to rid kitchens of gas.