Conditions of approval for the Narrabri Gas Project state that construction activities for production wells and related infrastructure cannot commence until a pipeline is approved, and Santos can’t start gas production until a pipeline is commissioned.
Two pipelines have been proposed to transport gas out of North West NSW. APA’s Western Slopes Pipeline (WSP) and the Queensland Hunter Gas Pipeline are strongly opposed by landholders. Both pipeline routes have not been fully surveyed. Local opposition is continuing to make this very difficult.
For the second time, APA failed to lodge their Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) with the Department of Planning by the required date in May 2021. However, as Santos and APA continue to make statements about how they are working together to progress the WSP, APA is expected to apply for and receive another extension until May 2023.
Landholders object to pipelines because
- land clearing for a pipeline is 30 metres wide
- pipelines divide productive farming properties, disrupt management practices, limit farming activities and add huge costs to farmers
- some soils, once disturbed, subside or become boggy during rain where pipelines are laid – a danger for both stock and machinery.
- if a pipeline is laid, gas extraction will expand along the route of the pipeline through prime agricultural land
- the pipeline company’s contractors must be able to access the pipeline at any time
- contractors vehicles spread weeds
- pipelines and compressors leak methane gas, a highly flammable greenhouse gas with no smell
Many factors could prevent the construction of both pipelines, such as if
- other Petroleum Exploration Licences in the area are cancelled and the gas industry is unable to expand, the Narrabri Gas Project is not enough to justify construction of a pipeline
- the rapid transition to renewable energy sources continues
- the Port Kembla Import Terminal is built
- hydrogen development progresses quickly