• JON WOLFE

Narrabri coal seam gas given IPC approval

The controversial proposal for the coal seam gas development at Narrabri has been given approval today from the Independent Planning Commission subject to a raft of stringent conditions.

The $3.6 bilion dollar development must meet specific requirements at each stage of development before it can proceed.

134 conditions have been imposed on the developer, Santos, including that all greenhouse gas emissions from the project be offset. It did not approve some elements of the proposal, including the construction of a gas-fired power station at Leewood, a workers accommodation building and some infrastructure that would allow gas flaring.

Up to 850 coal seam gas wells will be drilled on 1,000 hectares of a 95,000 hectare site that includes Pilliga forest and nearby grazing land and Santos predicts it could provide up to 200 terajoules of gas a day for domestic use for 20 years, equivalent to 50% of NSW demand. The project still needs final approval under federal environment laws and pipelines will also need to be assessed and approved if gas is to be transported from the site.