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Languishing gas licences leave landholders in limbo: Lock the Gate

Landholders in north west NSW are living with the uncertainty of multiple expired, but not extinguished, coal seam gas licences sitting over their properties.

Lock the Gate Alliance is demanding National Party MPs get their act together and help cancel the 12 licences, which cover some of the state’s most productive farmland, as well as riverbanks, towns, and the Warrumbungle Dark Sky Park.

Several of the licences are between 20 and 30 years old.

Lock the Gate spokesperson Georgina Woods said due to inaction by the National Party in government, local residents were living with uncertainty.

“Despite expiring, these licences remain in force as long as the renewal application is under assessment,” she said.

“All but one have had no exploration activity in recent years, meaning under the Gas Plan’s 'use it or lose it” policy', they should not be renewed.

“The Gas Plan is now more than five years old, but the legacy coal seam gas licences of the state’s north west are still hanging like a bad smell over agriculture, water resources and natural landscapes of the region.  

“These licences are largely not being used, but they are being allowed to linger over productive farmland and rural communities. It is high time the government cancel these licences.

“Let’s face it, the National Party has big gaps where its policies on coal mining, climate change and CSG should be. The party needs to respond to the urging of communities across north west New South Wales by stopping the Narrabri gasfield and cancelling expired and inactive CSG licences in the region.”

See below for a table of expired coal seam gas licences. A map is available fromThe Guardian and the NSW government’s Commonground website.

Table: Expired petroleum exploration licences in NSW  (data


Title number

Title holder

Grant date

Latest expiry date

PEL 434


14 Feb 2001

13 Feb 2016

PEL 450


16 Jun 2006

15 Jun 2012


Australian Coalbed Methane - STO is operator

11 Feb 1993

10 Feb 2015


Comet Ridge Gunnedah - STO is operator and owns 76.5%

9 Feb 1993

8 Dec 2011

PEL 12

Australian Coalbed Methane - STO is operator

27 Sep 1995

26 Sep 2016

PEL 238

Santos - Energy Aus owns 10%

1 Sep 1980

2 Aug 2016

PEL 427

Comet Ridge - STO is operator and owns 50%

21 May 1998

20 May 2016

PEL 428

Comet Ridge - STO is operator and owns 40%

15 Sept 1998

14 Sep 2012

PEL 433


14 Feb 2001

13 Feb 2015

PEL 452


10 Jan 2007

9 Jan 2013

PEL 456

Hunter Gas (previously Dart Energy)

5 Mar 2008

5 Mar 2018

PEL 462


22 Oct 2008

22 Oct 2011


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