On Tuesday 19 February 2013, the New South Wales (NSW)
Government announced a high level package of reforms to coal seam
gas (CSG) regulation in NSW. Included in the package endorsed by
the role of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will be
expanded to be the lead regulator of environmental and health
impacts of CSG activities in NSW – including enforcement
powers such as revocation of applicable licences
all exploration, assessment and production titles and
activities will be required to hold an Environment Protection
the NSW chief scientist and engineer, Dr. Mary O'Kane, will
conduct an independent review of all CSG activities in NSW with an
aim to identify any gaps in the management of risks arising from
CSG activities including potential impacts on human health, the
environment and water catchments – a preliminary report is
due by July 2013
a 2km exclusion zone to prevent new CSG exploration, assessment
and production activities (both surface and underground) will be
imposed around current and planned future residential zones
exclusion zones will also apply to identified critical industry
clusters such as viticulture and horse breeding as identified under
the NSW Strategic Regional Land Use Plans released last year
an office of CSG regulation will be established within the NSW
Department of Trade and Investment to enforce other regulations not
enforced by the EPA.
The exclusion zones will apply to any CSG activity that has not
yet been approved under the Environmental Planning & Assessment
Act or the Petroleum (Onshore) Act.
While details of this high level package are pending, industry
reaction has been swift in lamenting the further round of
regulatory change, and highlighting the potential ramifications on
future gas supplies and prices in New South Wales. They argue that
this contraction in supply will result in increased gas prices
already under pressure from the expiry of existing long term
inter-state supply contracts between 2014 and 2017, and the
substantial increases in demand for gas by a number of LNG projects
due to commence production in Queensland.
We will provide further updates once further details of the
package are released.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The article examines the regulation of the oil and gas industry and breaks down the regulatory process state by state.
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