Western Downs farmers are calling on Royal Dutch Shell to abandon plans for new coal seam gasfields in the region following last week’s court ruling in the Netherlands, in which the company was ordered to reduce its global greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent by 2030.
Shell is involved in two gas ventures in Queensland - Arrow Energy (50% share with PetroChina) and Queensland Gas Company (100%).
Arrow Energy recently suffered a significant setback with its Surat Gas Project expansion plans after a Queensland Government expert report found there was a risk contaminants at the former Linc Energy UCG site at Hopeland could spread off site if Arrow drilled 280 gaswells nearby as planned.
While the Queensland Environment Department was expected to make a decision on Arrow’s application last month, that decision has since been delayed a further six months.
Hopeland farmer Brian Bender said, in light of the Dutch court ruling and the threat Arrow’s operation posed to farmland on the Western Downs, the company should pack up and leave.
“Drilling on top of the Linc Energy disaster site poses such a great risk to the surrounding land and groundwater,” he said.
“Shell needs to make its emissions cuts somewhere, and it makes sense that the company halt risky projects like the Arrow extension to do so.
“Shell should not be allowed to threaten farmers’ existence on the Western Downs any more.”
Cecil Plains farmer Russel Bennie, whose property is covered by another stage of Arrow’s Surat Gas Project, said it was time Shell read the writing on the wall.
“I have an abandoned gas well on my property that is still not rehabilitated at all and it has caused me major problems” he said.
“There is a very real risk that other farmers will be forced to fight companies to clean up unrehabilitated gas wells if Shell doesn’t put an end to its foolish gasfield expansions before these projects become stranded assets.
“The world is clearly moving away from fossil fuels, and in Shell’s case, it has been ordered to do so by a Dutch court. Getting out of gas is a common sense step for any company that wants to create a future that will allow the continued existence of human life.”