Statement from Metgasco Managing Director, Mr Peter Henderson, 23 June 2014
Metgasco Managing Director, Mr Peter Henderson, said the campaign being waged against natural gas exploration in NSW Northern Rivers region was misleading and defied common sense.
“There is a relatively small group of people, drawn from a wide range of backgrounds and which includes professional protestors, which is simply opposed to any gas exploration, including conventional gas exploration, anywhere in the Northern Rivers region. Many of them oppose the gas industry anywhere in Australia.
“It is increasingly apparent that apart from agricultural industrialisation, the group opposes all industrialisation in the Northern Rivers area, more so than just the natural gas industry. The group, which is not elected and has no accountability for the welfare of the area or New South Wales, wishes to impose its will on people and companies that operate well away from where many individual group members live.
“The group does not consider the needs of others in the State for new supplies of natural gas for their homes and businesses. The group chooses to ignore the normal regulations and decision making processes our society chooses for the control and regulation of activities in any industry, the natural gas industry in particular. Some in the group do not respect the lawful rights of those with whom they disagree.
“It goes without saying that almost everyone in the community benefits from natural gas. It is the fuel that many of us use every day in our homes for heating and to cook, it is used to generate electricity, as a fuel by many industries and as feedstock to make the fertiliser farmers need. The natural gas industry provides energy security, employment and royalty income for the state and federal governments. Metgasco has identified the second largest gas resource in NSW, potentially equivalent to 15 years of NSW demand.
“Natural gas is a highly regulated industry. It is not new. With more than 1,000,000 producing oil and gas wells in the USA today, and 3,000 conventional petroleum wells drilled over the last 50 years and more than 5,000 CSG wells drilled over the last 20 years in Queensland, we should all be confident that the natural gas industry can operate safely with positive environmental performance.
“It makes no sense for an agricultural community or the general community to oppose a properly regulated natural gas project in the Northern Rivers region. Industries can co-exist to their mutual advantage as can be seen in many places worldwide, including Queensland.
“It makes no sense for the NSW government to damage business confidence by reacting to activist pressure or to penalise companies that have shown good faith, investing in the state’s future.
“It is time for the NSW government to show leadership and explain why new supplies of gas are needed and to assure those genuinely concerned that the industry is safe and well regulated”.