A bid to install additional gas wells near the former Linc Energy site as part of the $10 billion Surat Gas Project has drawn outcry from the Lock the Gate Alliance.
Arrow Energy gave the green light in 2020 for the first phase of the CSG project, which is expected to create 200 construction jobs initially and a further 800 construction and operating roles over the life of the project.
Arrow’s full Surat Gas Project would involve more than 2000 new wells during the life of the project, with peak construction from 2021-2025.
As part of that development, the company has made application to amend an existing environmental authority (EA) it holds for a current production lease – PL253 – to allow the installation of 280 additional wells and 440km of gathering lines.
In a statement this week, Lock the Gate said farmers were outraged at the prospect of hundreds of additional gas wells being drilled through land and groundwater potentially contaminated by the Linc Energy underground coal gasification disaster.
Brisbane District Court in 2018 sentenced Linc Energy (in liquidation) to a fine of $4.5 million for five offences of wilfully and unlawfully causing serious environmental harm over a period of seven years at the underground coal gasification site. Five former Linc executives were also charged over the matter.
Brian Bender, whose property is less than 10km from the former Linc site, was quoted in the written statement – saying he did not believe Arrow’s proposal was safe.
“Arrow can say whatever it likes about this site but I would like to see some independent research conducted as well as more information from the department confirming what Arrow is claiming in its application,” he said.
“I’m a firm believer nothing should be done until the Linc Energy situation is fully resolved and at this stage it is simply not resolved. There should not be any CSG activity around the Linc Energy site.”
The actual Linc Energy UCG site is not part of the Arrow tenements and an Arrow Energy spokesman said the company had been safely producing gas from a six-well pilot on PL253 since 2014.
“Arrow’s EA amendment application is supported by extensive modelling (by Arrow and independent third parties) and data from groundwater monitoring sites, conducted over the last three years,” the Arrow Energy spokesman said.
“This data, and longer-term regional data, shows that Arrow’s development will have a negligible to low level of impact on groundwater movement from the former Linc Energy site.
“Arrow has committed to rigorous ongoing monitoring and reporting from this area over the duration of the project.”