New South Wales to reduce gas exploration land by 77%

Out-Law News | 10 Aug 2021 | 10:35 am |

Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) state government has released its framework of regulation for gas exploration, reducing available land covered by petroleum exploration licences (PELs) by 77%.

The framework will renew a limited number of PELs in the Narrabri region to support the future of the Narrabri project, according to a statement. Renewal will be based on resource potential and feedback from community.

According to NSW minister for resources John Barilaro, 12 expired or dormant licences which are known as zombie PELs will be abolished, reducing the land available for gas exploration by 77%.

Under the new regulation, the NSW government will review options to share benefits for landholders impacted by gas pipelines; update the code of practice for coal seam gas well integrity to ensure it reflects current best practice in the safe and environmentally sound production of gas; update the petroleum minimum standards to reflect the modern, outcomes-focused approach recently established for the mining prospecting minimum standards, and ensure that the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) can recover costs of regulation from the industry.

The Narrabri project is expected to provide half of NSW’s gas need in the region once completed. It is reported that the project was granted development approval in September 2020 but awaits the outcome of an appeal on environmental grounds before it can proceed.