Buyback scheme bears fruit
July 9th, 2015
In 2014, the NSW Government released the long awaited Gas Plan.
Coming off the back of an eighteen month long review of the CSG industry by the State’s Chief Scientist, the Plan aimed to set out a clear strategic framework for the development of the State’s large natural gas reserves.
One of the key policy planks of the Gas Plan was the buyback of a number of exploration licences issued by the previous Government – some of which cover large areas of the State, including parts of the Sydney water catchment.
That initiative, initially due to close on June 30, has now been extended to the end of September this year.
The buyback scheme is, in many ways, a salve for a symbolic problem, because no-one seriously anticipated any attempt to develop resources in areas where development would have impacted water catchments.
Other policy decisions, including exclusion zones around housing for new CSG activities, also significantly limited the area available.
A number of licence holders have taken up the buyback scheme, and in doing so have voided one of the main campaign points for activist groups intent on running emotive scare campaigns about gas development.
According to Resources Minister Anthony Roberts,the area of the State under exploration licence has shrunk from 60 per cent to 9 per cent as a result of the buyback program.
It has also shown a willingness by industry to embrace the Gas Plan and pave the way for a constructive future from all stakeholder perspectives.