Metgasco is shocked by the decision of the NSW Government to suspend its Rosella exploration drilling program.
The announcement came without any warning, months after exploration well commitments were made and within a short period of mobilising the drilling rig for the program.
The Minister of Resources and Energy, Anthony Roberts, indicated on 16 April 2014 that:
"The well that is being drilled is not dissimilar to the nearly 5,000 wells, including some 440 irrigation bores and more than 4,300 stock and domestic bores that currently exist in the Northern Rivers."
The Government's reason for the suspension relates to our community consultation program but the suspension letter provides little explanation of what we should have done that we did not do. No effort was made to seek any perspective from Metgasco.
Metgasco has conducted a thorough community consultation program over recent years and a specific program for the Rosella well. We have prepared the required annual community consultation reporting to government together with a plan for 2014 and received no negative feedback. Regular contact with the Office of Coal Seam Gas has not indicated there has been any problem with our consultation to date. We are preparing documentation now that demonstrates that we have fulfilled our licence condition requirements in this respect.
We are seeking to have the government withdraw the suspension, allowing us to proceed with the well immediately. Metgasco has provided the opportunity for many people to make themselves familiar with the details and to ask questions if they wish. We have responded to feedback by modifying some elements of the exploration drilling proposal.
Without an immediate lifting of the suspension, the timing of the Rosella well becomes indeterminate and Metgasco will suffer substantial costs.
The letter from the NSW Government also advised that failure to comply with the conditions of PEL 16, including community consultation, constitutes grounds for the cancellation of the title.
Minister Robert’s announcement also made reference to the Minister writing to ICAC following receipt of information concerning its shareholding and interests in Metgasco Limited. Metgasco is not aware of any matter involving the conduct of Metgasco, its staff or of its shareholders that would constitute grounds for an investigation by ICAC. Metgasco has been unable to learn anything from the Minister or ICAC about the referral.
Metasco’s view is that NSW needs its resource industries and the employment and royalty income that they bring. NSW clearly needs gas. NSW has suffered three years of gas industry stagnation. Action is required to encourage the industry, not to delay it and potentially increase the ultimate costs of gas to consumers.
Metgasco shares are currently in a trading halt.
- Metgasco is an exploration company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, close to 100% Australian owned.
- We have been exploring in the Clarence Moreton Basin around Casino for 10 years, drilling more than 50 wells and acquiring 400 km of seismic.We have had more than 300 land access agreements, all voluntary.We have spent close to $100m and established significant coal seam gas reserves.
- We are planning to drill the Rosella gas well, exploring for conventional and tight gas. It is not a coal seam gas well.The current program does not include fracking approval.The current approval is for no more than an exploration well, there is no approval to produce gas from the well.All government approvals are in place and we have a willing landholder.