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The NSW Government has released the NSW Gas Plan, which outlines the state’s plan to secure gas supplies through the development of the coal seam gas industry.

The plan is based on the recommendations of the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O’Kane, in the report Final Report of the Independent Review of Coal Seam Gas Activities in NSW.

This report represents 19 months of work reviewing the coal seam gas industry. The final conclusion of this work is that the risks of gas development can be effectively managed with the right regulation, engineering solutions, and ongoing monitoring and research.

Under the NSW Gas Plan, the Government will:

  • Make better science and information available to decision-makers and the community
  • Take a more strategic approach to issuing petroleum exploration titles
  • Introduce strong and certain regulation with a lead regulator responsible for compliance and enforcement of conditions of approval for gas activities in NSW
  • Share the benefits of gas development with landholders and local communities
  • Secure gas supplies by exploring all supply options

Gas industry bodies have welcomed the plan.

Chief Executive of the Australian Pipeline Industry Association, Ms Cheryl Cartwright, said industry had warned for some time of a domestic gas shortage or price hike in eastern Australia.

“The only solution to such a gas shortage is to increase supply,” Ms Cartwright said.

“This can be achieved by accepting the science on coal seam gas and allowing CSG development in NSW, or by encouraging gas supplies from outside of NSW.

“Clearly, developing their local gas supplies would be better for NSW.”

In a press release about the plan, APPEA stated:

“Australia’s oil and gas industry welcomes the NSW Government’s recognition that the state is facing an avoidable energy security problem and that policy must change to encourage supply.

“The current situation – which sees NSW import 95% of its gas, even though it possesses 500 years’ worth of supply – should be viewed as unacceptable by the state’s 1.3 million gas consumers.”

The organisation also suggests a number of clarifications to the current plan, involving gas exploration, farmer compensation, exclusion zones and gas reservation.

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