Narrabri Gas Update

This update includes legal decisions, progress at Narrabri, the National Gas Infrastructure plan, and an explainer on carbon capture and storage.

SANTOS APPRAISAL STARTS SOON

Starting in February 2022, Santos will undertake a 12–18 month appraisal drilling program, including an expansion of the water monitoring network, ahead of a final investment decision for the next phase of the project. The project’s staged approval requires Santos to meet several conditions before moving into the construction phase. One of those conditions is to have planning approval for a pipeline to deliver gas from the development to the domestic gas network.

Santos continues to make statements about how they are working with APA to progress the Western Slopes Pipeline but APA has not lodged an Environmental Impact Statement for the pipeline. Meanwhile the Hunter Gas Pipeline continues to say it will carry gas from Narrabri to Newcastle. Both pipelines are vehemently opposed by landholders along their routes.

LEGAL NEWS

The NSW Land and Environment Court rejected the appeal by the Mullaley Gas and Pipeline Accord, into the approval of the Narrabri Gas Project. The community group were very disappointed but have vowed to fight on.

Meanwhile Santos has to defend a world-first Federal Court case over their ‘clean energy’ and net zero claims brought on by the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR).

Freedom of Information requests revealed that the NSW Government sought to have the Narrabri Gas Project removed from Scott Morrison’s fast-track approvals list. They feared the rapid approval of Santos’ project would ‘undermine public trust’. The Australian Conservation Foundation spent seven months in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal fighting to have these and other documents released.

ACTIONS

NAB will soon finalise its oil and gas lending policy. To stop the Narrabri gasfield, we’ve got to cut the funding for the pipeline and NAB’s policy will be crucial to that. Email them or fill out the form.

The final report into the Senate Inquiry into the destruction of the Juukan Gorge caves calls for legislation for the protection of cultural heritage that works for Traditional Owners. Sign the petition

NATIONAL GAS INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN

Gas is a fossil fuel, it is not a transition fuel as methane emissions are 80% more polluting than CO2 for the first 20 years after its release. This year a world-first aerial survey of Queensland’s main coal seam gas region found methane emissions considerably higher than some previous reports.

The Federal Government’s National Gas Infrastructure Plan (NGIP) released in November was not accepted well by energy experts, in part because of its reliance on new and emerging technologies to reduce emissions. Part of the government’s plan is to fund and rely on Santos’ carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to reduce emissions while companies continue to mine fossil fuels.

At COP26 the Federal Government not only refused to increase its 2030 emissions reduction targets, but it shared their pavilion with Santos spruiking CCS technology.

CCS EXPLAINER

CCS takes naturally occurring carbon dioxide (CO2) from industrial processes or the atmosphere and permanently traps it in geological formations deep underground, or it is used to make carbon-based products.

Dr Malte Meinshausen, climate scientist and lead author with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told the ABC 7.30 Report, “CCS is part of the solution mix, however, CCS is not part of the solution in combination with fossil fuels. The net effect is still extra emissions to the atmosphere so that is not a solution.”

The NGIP claims Chevron’s Gorgon CCS project is an example that CCS is a proven technology for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, in July Chevron conceded its failure to meet its targets and sought a deal with WA regulators.

The ABC reported that almost $4 billion of taxpayer money has been committed to develop CCS technology and after decades it is still not operating at industry scale. Billions have also been spent in Europe and USA but the cost and scale is prohibitive.

GOOD NEWS

It is heartening to know that polling shows that Australians’ concern about the impacts of climate change and support for stronger action to cut emissions has reached an all-time high. The longer the Narrabri Gas Project is delayed the harder it will be for Santos to go ahead.

Image: Flannel flower