This comprehensive report has been written by Sandi Keane available in its full length at independentaustralia and presented at this site in an abridged three parts.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
Many of the areas slated for CSG production are directly above the Great Artesian Basin, one of the world’s largest natural underground water reservoirs covering about 22 per cent of Australia’s land mass.
Dr Vincent Post is a hydrogeologist and chief investigator at the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training. He warns that water levels may not be renewable — a key argument by the anti-CSG farming lobby.
Political critics are also rallying around residential landholder rights, rising gas prices, scarcity of supply and health concerns from fugitive methane emissions.
The CSG Golden Goose – which was supposed to herald a new energy source for the domestic market as well as a lucrative export opportunity – has, unfortunately, taken flight to distant shores where LNG sales return fatter profits. Unsurprisingly, the Australian Energy Regulator’s report in December that LNG exports will drastically increase domestic gas prices, brought little cheer at Christmas.
With gas prices predicted to double due to dwindling supplies, angry voters will be joining beleaguered manufacturers and farmers in demanding government action.
In New South Wales, where current supplies of CSG from Queensland will soon be hoovered up by the huge LNG plants at Gladstone, panic has set in. According to an Australian Financial Review report, AGL’s solution to the crisis is expansion of their Camden operation into residential areas.
Horrified Camden residents faced with the prospect of the land under their homes honeycombed by hundreds of gas wells will get little sympathy from the federal government or opposition. Both endorse massive expansion of the CSG industry as the key to price and supply problems as outlined in the Energy White Paper.
Beyond the issues of water and food security, landholder rights and rising gas prices, health concerns about methane emissions have highlighted the huge experiment that is being played out on the Australian public.
Reports suggesting a tax bill that could run into billions of dollars through carbon tax liabilities for “fugitive” emissions will send further ripples through an already nervous share market.