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Coal Seam Gas


Title: Coal Seam Gas Author: Norton Rose Australia Description: built by: Last modified by: Norton Rose Australia Created Date – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Tags: coal | drilling | gas | onshore | seam


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Title: Coal Seam Gas

Coal Seam Gas
  • Legal Frameworks
  • VPELA Seminar
  • 16 April 2013
  • Damon Jones
  • Senior Associate
  • Norton Rose Australia

An evolving regulatory web.
  • Commonwealth approval
  • (EPBC Act)
  • National harmonisation
  • State regulation

Key legal issues
  • Water management and monitoring
  • Management and extraction of CSG Water
  • Evaporation and aggregation dams
  • Hydraulic fracturing
  • Chemical Use
  • Impact on groundwater and aquifers
  • Well integrity and health and safety
  • Potential conflict with agricultural and
    strategic cropping uses
  • Landholder rights and land access
  • Overlapping tenements

The role of the EPBC Act
  • Existing
  • EPBC Act already applies to CSG projects if
    trigger existing matters of national
    environmental significance (eg listed threatened
    species, national heritage places)
  • Establishment of Independent Expert Scientific
    Committee (IESC) on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal
    Mining Development in November 2012 mandate to
    consider impact on water resources but not land
    use ramifications
  • Proposed water trigger
  • Would require large coal mine development and
    coal seam gas development which are likely to
    have a significant impact on water resources to
    be referred to Federal Environment Minister for a
    determination on whether a controlled action
  • If a controlled action, project will require
    assessment and approval under the EPBC Act
  • Aims to provide direct protection to water
  • Would allow Minister to impose conditions
    directly relating to impacts on a water resource
  • Amendment Bill amended and passed by House of
    Representatives on 21 March 2013
  • Senate Environment and Communications Legislation
    Committee required to report on Bill by 15 May

EPBC water trigger
  • Impact on projects currently being assessed
  • projects currently referred for a decision and in
    approval process, where IESC has not yet given
  • would apply to approximately 40 projects
    currently being assessed and not yet subject to
    IESC advice
  • Proposed amendments will not impact on projects
  • have been previously approved under EPBC Act
  • have already been subject of a determination that
    not a controlled action
  • are currently being assessed under EPBC Act where
    advice received from IESC
  • are currently being assessed under State laws
    where advice received from IESC
  • are subject to prior environmental approval and
    did not require any further environmental

National harmonisation of regulatory frameworks
  • National Partnership Agreement on Coal Seam Gas
    and Large Coal Mine Development (14 February 2012
    30 June 2014)
  • IESC activities have commenced in 2013
  • Draft National Harmonised Regulatory Framework
    for Coal Seam Gas released 14 December 2012 by
    Standing Council on Energy and Resources (SCER)
  • Framework aims to provide consistent regulatory
    approach to managing CSG development
  • Identifies 18 leading practices across four core
    areas of
  • well integrity
  • water management and monitoring
  • hydraulic fracturing
  • chemical use
  • Designed to be flexible to accommodate the range
    of geographical, geological, resource, social,
    regulatory and institutional arrangements in each

CSG in Queensland
  • Queensland has most highly developed CSG industry
    in Australia
  • CSG exploration and production tenure/health and
  • Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act
    2004 (and accompanying Regulation)
  • Work Health and Safety Act 2011
  • Environmental management of CSG industry
  • Environmental Protection Act 1994 (environmental
    approval, regulation and enforcement of CSG
  • Environmental authorities, EMPs, CSG Water
    Management Plans
  • Impacts of water extraction
  • Water Act 2000
  • Seeks to manage cumulative impacts through
    designation of Cumulative Management Areas and
    Underground Water Impact Reports for all
    petroleum tenures

CSG in Queensland
  • November 2012 CSG/LNG Compliance Plan 2012/13
    Gasfields Commission Bill 2012 (establishes
    GasFields Commission Qld)
  • December 2012 Coal Seam Gas Water Management
    Policy 2012
  • February 2013 Engagement and Compliance Plan
    (Dept of Natural Resources and Mines)
  • Premier Newman critical of EPBC water trigger on
    duplication grounds

CSG in New South Wales
  • CSG represents small but growing proportion of
    total gas supplied into NSW gas network CSG
    industry expanding rapidly
  • CSG tenures regulated under Petroleum (Onshore)
    Act 1991
  • Environmental assessment of projects regulated
    under Environment Planning and Assessment Act
  • State significant development provisions or
    Part 5 of the Act will apply
  • Groundwater impacts primarily regulated under
    Water Management Act 2000 (where water sharing
    plan in place) or under Water Act 1912
  • Draft Aquifer Interference Policy sets out
    proposed additional requirements relating to
    regulation of groundwater impacted by CSG

CSG in New South Wales
  • Draft State Environmental Planning Policy
    (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive
    Industries) Amendment (Coal Seam Gas Exclusion
    Zone) 2013 released 21 March 2013 for public
    comment until 12 April 2013
  • Under the draft SEPP CSG Exclusion Zones
  • 2km exclusion zone around residential areas and
    critical industry clusters
  • Aims to prevent new CSG exploration, assessment
    and production activities within these areas
  • Includes mechanism by which councils may request
    that an area of land be removed from an exclusion
    zone to enable CSG development to occur, subject
    to obtaining necessary approvals
  • Would not apply to coal projects that involve CSG

CSG in Victoria
  • CSG industry in Victoria still in its infancy
  • Regulatory framework is in place for potential
    CSG production activities under the Mineral
    Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990
  • Water Act 1989 provides for take and use licences
    and bore construction licences
  • Halt on CSG exploration licences pending response
    to National Harmonised Regulatory Framework

A few issues to consider
  • Environmental baselines
  • Rigour of environmental impact assessments
  • Carrying capacity and cumulative impacts
  • Application of ESD principles to decision making
  • Precautionary principle cf adapative management
  • Monitoring and reporting requirements
  • Third party review rights

  • Disclaimer
  • The purpose of this presentation is to provide
    information as to developments in the law. It
    does not contain a full analysis of the law nor
    does it constitute an opinion of Norton Rose
    Australia on the points of law discussed.
  • No individual who is a member, partner,
    shareholder, director, employee or consultant of,
    in or to any constituent part of Norton Rose
    Group (whether or not such individual is
    described as a partner) accepts or assumes
    responsibility, or has any liability, to any
    person in respect of this presentation. Any
    reference to a partner or director is to a
    member, employee or consultant with equivalent
    standing and qualifications of, as the case may
    be, Norton Rose LLP or Norton Rose Australia or
    Norton Rose Canada LLP or Norton Rose South
    Africa (incorporated as Deneys Reitz Inc) or of
    one of their respective affiliates.

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