Gas projects don’t compare

AGL has warned Gloucester residents not to compare its project with coal seam gas operations in the US ahead of a talk by activist John Fenton on Friday.

Mr Fenton is a Wyoming farmer whose home town of Pavillion has been surrounded by coal seam gas wells.

He is currently in Australia on a month-long speaking tour warning about the dangers of coal seam gas production.

Mr Fenton has 24 gas wells on his property.

He claims that as a direct result of coal seam gas extraction in his home town that water is contaminated and undrinkable, can be lit on fire and has to be shipped in to his community.

The Manning Alliance, which is sponsoring Mr Fenton’s visit to the region, claims farmers living in the area suffer and struggle from gas land use where agriculture competes with well pads, access roads, pipelines, lights, noise, truck visits and compressor stations all affecting farm operations.

“The average life of a well in the US is five to seven years, then they either re-frack the same well or they try to seal it and drill another one. The landscape subsequently becomes one big pin cushion,” Manning Alliance chair Peter Epov said.

“The gas wells are approximately 800m apart; they are interlaced with thousands of kilometres of access roads, electricity transmission lines, underground and above ground gas pipelines.”

But AGL says its Gloucester Gas Project bears no resemblance to the operations in Wyoming.

“The oil and gas industry in Wyoming has existed for over a century. The geology of the Gloucester basin is very different to many parts of the US, especially in Wyoming and the Powder River Basin,” a spokesperson said. 

“In Gloucester there are no drinking water aquifers and there are very few operational bores and wells. AGL is not aware of any groundwater being used for any domestic purposes in the area. 

“Property surveys currently being organised by Gloucester Shire Council across the basin will provide an up to date census of bores and wells, their usage, and current water levels and water quality.”

The company said its work practices were among the best in the country.

“At AGL’s Camden plant, a recent scientific study showed that methane concentrations in the Macarthur region where natural coal seam gas is produced are in line with averages for urban areas without coal seam gas production,” the spokesperson said.

“AGL has safely hydraulically fractured four wells in Gloucester and 117 in Camden. There have been no reports to date of any of the issues Mr Fenton has mentioned.

“Any infrastructure installed will be sensitive to the surrounding environment and will have the proper environmental licences. Roads will be minimised and only built where landowners want them. 

“All gas and water pipelines will be buried and positioned so as to have minimal interference with landowners’ day-to-day activities. 

“There will be one central processing plant with all the compressors and water handling facilities collocated. Most producing wells only take up the space of two vehicles.”

John Fenton will speak at the Gloucester Bowling Club at 11am this Friday, February 28.

Entry to the meeting is free. 

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