Santos' dream run in the coal seam gas industry is about to hit a serious road block in its $924 million takeover of Eastern Star Gas.
Santos has largely flown under the radar in its large Queensland operation because it has been located in the far west where there are large properties mostly given over to grazing. They have also worked in this area for some time and have bought quite a few properties.
However, with the purchase of Eastern Star tenements in north and central New South Wales, Santos will find itself facing significant challenges.Read more
A meeting of 85 farmers at the little town on Gurley in northern NSW earlier this week saw the beginning of the first direct confrontation between coal seam gas companies and farmers in New South Wales.
The company Planet Gas has, in the last few days, sent letters to farmers on the beautiful black soil country south of Moree demanding entry to their properties to explore for coal seam gas and threatening that landholders would be taken to arbitration if they had not negotiated an agreement within 28 days.
However, in an ominous sign for the company, the meeting at Gurley unanimously decided to lock their gates and refuse to negotiate with Planet Gas.Read more
On Friday farmers in the Bellata area, near Moree in north-west NSW, received a letter in the mail from coal seam gas companies Leichardt Resources and Planet Gas, formally serving notice that they would be seeking an access agreement to drill for coal seam gas on their land.
The last line of the letter states that "If, after 28 days of submission of this initial notice an agreement cannot be reached, an arbitrator will be appointed to resolve any issues relating to access after this period".
President of the Lock the Gate Alliance Drew Hutton said this would provoke the opening of the non-cooperation campaign in NSW in which farmers locked their gates and refused to negotiate access to mining companies.Read more
The Lock the Gate Alliance has unveiled its program to resolve the conflict in Queensland over the social and environmental impacts of coal and coal seam gas mining and called on Labor and the LNP to adopt policies to address these.
Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton said the LNP especially needed to show responsible leadership on this issue because many of their constituents would be the main victims of the current mad rush to extract coal and gas from rural Australia.Read more
Today's announcement of the state government's strategic cropping land legislation has no good news for most farmers.
The legislation has all the weaknesses of previous discussion papers. These include:
- failure to include coal seam gas a an activity prohibited on cropping land criteria like a maximum slope that will exclude much good cropping land as well as excellent beef cattle country like Wandoan
- no mention of buffers so that we could be left with a patchwork of paddocks surrounded by open cut coal mines failure to stop projects that are already well into the planning stage.
"This legislation is aimed at persuading the people of Queensland that the government actually cares about protecting good agricultural land when actually, it will be lucky to stop more than one coal mine.Read more