Letter from the Office of Coal Seam Gas to Metgasco, 14 May 2014
Source: Supreme Court New South Wales Judgement: Metgasco Ltd v Minister for Resources & Energy  NSWSC 908, 4 July 2014
PEL16 Rosella E01 Gas Exploration Well – Suspension of Activity Approval
I refer to my approval of the construction of the Rosella EG1 gas exploration well in Petroleum Exploration Licence 16 (PEL 16) on 6 February 2014.
Condition 8 of PEL 16 requires that:
The licence holder must engage with the community in relation to the planning for and conduct of prospecting operations authorised under this exploration licence.
The consultation must be undertaken in accordance with the Guideline for community consultation requirements for the exploration of coal and petroleum, including coal seam gas (NSW Trade & Investment, 2012) (the Guidelines) as amended or replaced from time to time.
An annual report on Community Consultation must be submitted to the Department within 28 days following the grant anniversary date, together with evidence that consultation has been undertaken in accordance with the Guidelines.
I also note that condition 1 of the activity approval requires that:
The works must be carried out generally in accordance with the location(s) and methods contained in the Review of Environmental Factors, “Rosella E01 Conventional Gas Exploration Well, Bentley Road, Bentley, NSW” Rev C, (the REF) submitted by Metgasco Pty Ltd on 11 March 2013.
The REF notes that community consultation will be undertaken in accordance with the Guidelines.
I note that the Guidelines for community consultation requirements for the exploration of coal and petroleum, including coal seam gas (NSW Trade & Investment, 2012) require that a licence holder “must undertake genuine and effective consultation with the community”.
It has become evident to the Office of Coal Seam Gas that Metgasco is not complying with condition 8, by way of example I note:
fundamental concerns expressed by members of the impacted community about the way in which Metgasco has characterised its exploration activities; and a meeting with landholders impacted by the proposed activity convened by the Land and Water Commissioner and held in Lismore on 13 May 2014.
This letter informs you that no works are to be undertaken under the approval dated 6 February 2014 until Metgasco Ltd can demonstrate to our satisfaction that you have complied with condition 8 of PEL 16.
I note that under section 22 of the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991, failure to comply with the conditions of PEL16, including condition 8, constitutes grounds for the cancellation of the title.
We would be happy to meet to discuss actions that Metgasco can undertake to satisfy condition 8.