Australia’s energy ministers have agreed to draft a single set of national regulations for the coal seam gas industry by September 2012.
A uniform national framework was required to improve public confidence in the effectiveness of the industry, while allowing the industry to expand, federal minister for resources and energy minister Martin Ferguson said.
The commitment was made in Melbourne last Friday where state and Federal energy ministers gathered for the inaugural meeting of the ministerial standing council on energy and resources.
The framework will create new national standards for managing and monitoring water used in CSG production, well integrity and aquifer protection, hydraulic fracturing and chemical use.
Mr Ferguson said the national framework would build on the extensive work that had already been done to strengthen regulatory arrangements of the CSG industry.
“Coal Seam Gas has an important role to play in Australia’s energy mix, and we must ensure appropriate regulation is in place as the industry expands,” Mr Ferguson said.
The framework, due to be finalised by next June, involves conducting a stocktake of existing national requirements to identify any regulatory gaps between jurisdictions, and the sharing of information between states.
The peak body representing the oil and gas industry has previously said it is keen to ensure that any new Federal approach complements, rather than duplicates, the existing extensive state-based regulation of the industry.
“APPEA supports science-based public policy and welcomes the Government’s call for a ‘sciencebased’ approach to matters regarding the gas industry’s expansion," APPEA chief executive David Byers said.
The states already had rigorous regulatory processes in place and one third of Eastern Australia’s natural gas supply already came from CSG developed safely and responsibly under this oversight.
“Any regulatory changes should not overturn good practice, or do anything to hurt the jobs or business interests of the thousands of Australians already working in the CSG industry."
HAVE YOUR SAY