Do we really need Narrabri Gas when it is going to increase emissions, risk our water, remove Traditional Owners rights, make farming land less productive, destroy habitat for native animals including koalas and effect the mental health of people impacted. NO!
The NSW Government approved Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project in 2020, despite over 20,000 objections from the Gomeroi Traditional Owners, farmers, scientists and environmentalist.
Santos plans to drill 850 coal seam gas wells in the Pilliga Forest and surrounding farmland near Narrabri. The National Native Title Tribunal rejected a climate change argument by the Gomeroi people but an appeal has been lodged with the High Court. Initially the court must decide if the grounds for appeal are valid.
Construction of infrastructure cannot commence until a pipeline is approved to transport gas to the east coast. In 2022 Santos acquired the Hunter Gas Pipeline (HGP), approved 10 years ago but never built. This passes through the prime agricultural land of the Liverpool Plains where Santos plans to expand their operation. For six hours farmers blockaded a seismic testing site on a public road near Gunnedah in late January. Santos called police.
Last year Santos approached landholders to sign access agreements so they can survey the route. Most refused to negotiate with the company. In January the NSW government issued an Authority to Survey to Santos. At this stage, landholders can continue to refuse access and not be charged with an offence. APA gave up trying to survey Santos’ preferred pipeline, the Western Slopes Pipeline, because landholders denied access.
The Perrottet government recently declared a 50km pipeline to connect the Narrabri Gas Project to the QHGP to be State Significant Infrastructure. Over 90 hectares of the Pilliga Forest will be cleared for this pipeline.
Both state and federal governments say we need the gas in NSW but at certain times of the year the demand for gas in NSW isn’t enough to use all the Narrabri gas so it will be exported. According to the ACCC, LNG producers are expected to produce 146 PJ more gas than they need for contractual commitments this year and only 30 PJ is needed domestically to avoid a shortfall. Domestic users are going off gas. Experts say NSW could reduce its annual gas demand by the same amount that the Narrabri Gas Project is forecast to produce, as soon as 2030.
Santos say the project will lower gas prices but coal seam gas is expensive to produce and to transport long distances.
Community concerns include:
WATER – The gas field is situated in the recharge area of the Great Artesian Basin and in the Namoi River catchment. Coal seam gas extraction risks contamination of soil, surface and ground water. Huge amounts of salty water and naturally occurring contaminants such as BTEX chemicals are drawn to the surface from the coal seam. This toxic water is initially stored in huge ponds lined with plastic before a reverse osmosis plant separates most of the salt and heavy metals from the water. The disposal method of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of salt and toxins is still unknown. The full impacts of the project may not become apparent for many years.
FIRE – The Pilliga Forest is prone to bushfires. Past fires have burnt out tens of thousands of hectares. Imagine gas flares and other gas infrastructure in temperatures up to 45°C.
FUGITIVE EMISSIONS – Coal seam gas wells, pipelines and other infrastructure leak methane, which is 86 times more polluting than CO2 for the first 20 years after its release.
SUGGESTED QUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES
Do you support the expansion of the Narrabri Gas Project into the Liverpool Plains and other areas not yet approved?
Do you support a get off gas plan like ACT and Victoria?
Will your government allow compulsory acquisition of property if landowners refuse to sign a land easement agreement?
Will your government provide any financial assistance or guarantees to Santos for the Narrabri Gas Project, Queensland Hunter Gas Pipeline and or the Narrabri Lateral Pipeline?
Chefs, doctors and real estate developers among new coalition calling to rid kitchens of gas cooking ABC News
Climate Council Narrabri? Narrabye: first-ever plan for a gas-free NSW unveiled
Pegasus economics report on the Narrabri Gas Project
Australian Competition & Consumer Commission 27 January Gas Inquiry Report
Credit Suisse analyst Saul Kavonic said in The Australian, “Santos has indicated it may require fiscal stability guarantees from government to proceed”.