Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Metgasco Limited v Minister for Resources and Energy: Managing Director gives evidence

Metgasco Managing Director Peter Henderson gave evidence in Metgasco Limited v Minister for Resources and Energy (Case # 201400165970) before the NSW Supreme Court on 20 October 2014.

ABC News reported on the same day:

Managing Director Peter Henderson told the Supreme Court drilling at the Rosella well was not in order to find coal seam gas but rather "conventional" gas.
But he agreed there was community concern the extraction could involve fracking.
Mr Henderson could not recall police at one stage telling him there may have been more than 2,000 protesters at the Rosella site.
He said Metgasco had been in the Northern Rivers area for about a decade and had previously drilled 50 wells there.
When questioned about community opposition to another well in the area, the Kingfisher Well, he said: "I can't remember any newspaper or public discussion."


On 14 May 2014 the Office of Coal Seam Gas OCSG put a hold on Metgasco's approval to drill an exploration well at Bentley, near Casino in the Northern Rivers, on the basis that the company was not in compliance with its community consultation obligations under Petroleum Exploration Licence 16 (PEL 16).

Excerpt from Council acts on CSG tip off in the Northern Rivers Echo, 10 November 2011:

Lismore City Council has withdrawn support for seismic testing by Metgasco on Council-owned land in the Rock Valley area after discovering staff had approved an application without the councillors' knowledge.
On September 1 a Council staffer sent a letter to Metgasco approving the testing, but it wasn't until after Tuesday night's Council meeting that councillors became aware of the approval.
Having learnt of an application by Metgasco, Mayor Jenny Dowell moved an 'urgency motion' during the meeting that all requests for CSG and mineral testing or exploration on Council owned or administered land be brought before the Council for consideration. However it wasn't until after the motion had been passed and the meeting concluded that Mayor Dowell became aware that approval had already been granted following a discussion with Rock Valley resident Wanda Halden, who had been liaising with Council staff. Mayor Dowell took swift action and by Wednesday lunchtime Metgasco had been advised that Council's permission had been rescinded….

Greens fear rash of CSG wells, ABC Regional News, 13 December 2011:

The Greens fear that 500 or more coal seam gas (CSG) wells are planned for the New South Wales north coast.
Mining spokesman Jeremy Buckingham says Metgasco has reluctantly revealed its future plans for the region during hearings of the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Coal Seam Gas.
Mr Buckingham says such developments will ruin the north coast's environment.
"We believe that if they are to go ahead with their plans for the power station and also a pipeline up the Lyons Way that they would need somewhere between 500 and 1,500 [wells]," he said.
"But the scale of the industry is beginning to emerge and the question is now where do Metgasco plan to put these 500 wells?"
Meanwhile, Metgaco says it has never tried to deceive the public about its fracking operations on the north coast.
Kyogle's Group Against Gas says the company used fracking in the Kingfisher well a year ago.
Metgasco's managing director, Peter Henderson, says that information was made public and he thinks claims that the company tried to hide the fact are unfair.
"No I don't think it's fair. We try to be open and transparent," he said.
"I'd have to say though in a climate like this where there's a lot of misinformation going about and a lot of accusations that are simply uninformed, we probably do need to be careful about the words we use simply to make sure that people respond to the right information.
"But we do our best to be open and transparent. There are no secrets."

Excerpt from Metgasco says it needs 1000 wells, ABC North Coast NSW, 28 May 2012:

Metgasco says it will need about 1000 wells operating in the Casino area to make its economic forecasts come true.

Excerpt from Being fair to all is tough editorial in The Daily Examiner, 9 January 2013, page 10:

A quick glance at our web stats shows more than 300 stories on the CSG issue over the past year.

Excerpts from Metgasco chief issues statement on Kingfisher incident* in The Northern Star, 3 October updated 4 October 2013:

* NIMBIN Environment Centre has accused coal seam gas company Metgasco of initially understating the seriousness of a dangerous incident at its Kingfisher well in July.
And Environment Centre secretary Alan Roberts has said the degraded state of pipes shot from the well, which is on the outskirts of Casino, in the incident meant it was likely toxins associated with coal seam gas drilling had migrated into the water table.
The incident has been the subject of an investigation by the NSW Government's Mine Safety Investigation Unit, as reported last week by The Northern Star, which found some workers at the site "were put at serious risk of harm from falling pipes".
No-one was injured in the incident but it caused "significant" equipment damage, the government report says.
However, in a statement released by the Nimbin Environment Centre, Mr Roberts says Metgasco downplayed the incident.
* METGASCO has rejected claims it understated the seriousness of the incident at its Kingfisher well in July and that toxins were able to pass into groundwater. The company has said it plans to release a statement tomorrow responding to the claims by the Nimbin Environment Centre…..
* METGASCO chief executive and managing director Peter Henderson has issued the following statement regarding the dangerous incident at the Kingfisher well, on the outskirts of Casino, in July….

* Fifteen online reader comments were listed below this article.

Excerpt from The Battle of Bentley* in the Northern Rivers Echo, 7 January 2014:

Metgasco has announced it will be targeting tight gas in upcoming drilling activities.

The company states that the Rosella exploration well at Bentley is targeting tight gas in the Gatton Sandstone formation and looking to the "confirm tight gas potential in the broader exploration area".

 * A tight gas reservoir is one that cannot be produced at economic flow rates or recover economic volumes of gas unless the well is stimulated by a large hydraulic fracture treatment and/or produced using horizontal wellbores.[Oil & Gas Journal, digital magazine]

Excerpt from Protesters resume waiting game as Metgasco drilling on hold in The Northern Star, 2 April 2014:

But Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson refuted claims Monday morning's 2000-strong turnout had derailed the company's plans, saying activities were "influenced by weather and availability of the drilling rig, neither of which we control".

Excerpts from Up to their necks in it, farmers lead coal seam gas protests by example in The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 April 2014:

* Near Lismore late last month, about 2000 people gathered on a rural property to prevent mining company Metgasco from starting exploratory gas drilling in the area….
* Metgasco chief executive Peter Henderson claims opposition to gas mining is driven by a core group of "professional protesters".
"They're the people who tend to be the mainstays, quite often the troublemakers ... they are basically anarchists," he said. "When the television cameras come they tend to get to the back and they push a local farmer to the front."
But Environmental Defenders Office principal solicitor Sue Higginson said local opposition to mining projects, including from farmers, was genuine.
"We are seeing 75-year-old blokes standing locked on to machinery for nine hours after getting up at 3am to make a difference, to try to be heard by a system they believe is not listening," she said.

Excerpts from Police should have stepped in at Bentley sooner: Metgasco* in The Northern Star, 14 August 2014:

* POLICE should have intervened at Bentley before the situation escalated to a crisis point where 800 officers were needed, Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson said.
Mr Henderson was commenting on government documents released last week describing the unprecedented tactics used by activists and the "high to extreme" risk to the public and police of any confrontation.
In hindsight, he said the best time for police to act was when protesters had first established a presence outside the proposed drilling site in January….
* The company had asked police to "go in early" and arrest protesters breaking the law, given Metgasco's past experience at previous blockades at Doubtful Creek and Glenugie…

* Seventeen online reader comments under this article

NSW Government Trade & Investment PEL 16 map showing the number and location of Metgasco exploration wells:

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