Oil and gas giant Santos is set to stir up a hornet’s nest of fierce opposition after it purchased the rights to build the Queensland-Hunter Gas Pipeline, which would run through the Liverpool Plains on the way to the Narrabri Gas Project in the Pilliga.
The company will now join a fight it can’t possibly win, with hundreds of landowners along the existing pipeline route organised and ready to defend their businesses and the region’s high quality soils from the destructive pipeline.
Mullaley Gas and Pipeline Accord spokesperson and beef farmer Margaret Fleck said “The previous owners of the Hunter Gas Pipeline knew the fight they were in for, so it’s no wonder they were all too happy to offload this poisoned chalice onto Santos.”
“We estimate there are at least 800 properties in NSW alone that would be impacted if this destructive pipeline is built, and all along its proposed route, farmers and communities have formed grassroots groups to prevent its construction.
“It is totally inappropriate and downright dangerous for any company to build a high pressure gas pipeline through the vertosol soils of the Liverpool Plains. These soils crack and swell, and they also happen to be some of the best soils for food and fibre production in the state.
“This also proves Santos’ intent to rip apart the Liverpool Plains with hundreds of new gaswells, with the company recently announcing plans to conduct seismic testing in the world-renowned foodbowl.
“There’s also no incentive for regional towns to link to ‘offtake points’ along the route as Santos claims because it would cost councils millions of dollars in infrastructure cost that will leave these councils holding a very expensive, stranded asset.”
Quirindi farmer Peter Wills, who has a property likely to be impacted by the pipeline said, “Santos needs to drastically reconsider its expectations if it thinks it can build a high pressure gas pipeline through the Liverpool Plains while it is already trying to explore for coal seam gas here.
“Santos has made it ten times harder for itself by already announcing its intentions to once again explore for gas in the Liverpool Plains, more than a decade after this community rejected its last advances and drove Santos out of town."
Lock the Gate National Coordinator Carmel Flint said, “Santos is the architect of the gas crisis currently besetting the East Coast - its gas exports have resulted in our domestic gas being funnelled overseas and have driven up prices here to astronomical highs.
“The only solution to volatile gas markets and profiteering gas giants is to switch to renewables now - more gasfields will damage land and water and won’t do anything about high gas prices which are caused by cartel-like behaviour by gas companies, including Santos."