Trigger warning:

This site may, in fact always will contain images and information likely to cause consternation, conniptions, distress, along with moderate to severe bedwetting among statists, wimps, wusses, politicians, lefties, green fascists, and creatures of the state who can't bear the thought of anything that disagrees with their jaded view of the world.

Nov 16, 2011

CSG companies slammed and deservedly so.

Image: Gas wellhead at Scotia. Courtesy Santos.

Last week former BHP chief geologist and current chairman of small uranium company Toro Energy, Dr Erica Smyth delivered a scathing assessment of some Coal seam gas explorers and their behavior. While delivering the 37th annual Essington Lewis Memorial Lecture in Adelaide, she referred to some of the newcomers to the industry as rogues who are acting irresponsibly.

The mineral exploration industry has been around in this country for most of our post British settlement history and has come to place a high priority on having good relations with property owners. The high handed attitude of CSG companies is likely to sour relations with mining companies who have consistently done the right thing. Dr Smyth is absolutely correct in saying that the onshore gas industry "urgently needs a set of guidelines and for newcomers to abide by them.''

The former BHP chief geologist and current chairman of uranium minnow Toro Energy said that unlike Santos, which had been mining coal bed methane for 50 years, the latest explorers were behaving irresponsibly.

"There are many newcomers who I call rogues,'' Dr Smyth said. "How can you just rock up onto someone's land and drill a hole without even asking and without even shutting the gates?''

In delivering the 37th annual Essington Lewis Memorial Lecture in Adelaide last night (Friday), Dr Smyth said the onshore gas industry "urgently needs a set of guidelines and for newcomers to abide by them''.

"These guidelines also need to address the access protocols for the drilling of thousands of wells and how the many low pressure gas pipelines, which will be needed to gather the gas from these wells, will be positioned to minimise the inconvenience to locals.''

Dr Smyth said the relationship between farmers and onshore gas producers could be repaired with community forums and pre-agreed protocols.

"But this needs to be done in consultation and with no surprises,'' Dr Smyth said.
This situation has occurred because of the government’s decision that the CSG industry is of national importance and has therefore allowed the needs for revenue to trump the property rights of farmers. The inevitable result is that while long established companies abide by best practice, the Johnny Come Lately’s have formed with a sense of entitlement, which includes a belief that they can treat landholders with disdain.

People involved in mineral drilling tend to be acutely aware of the need for good relations with landholders, who are in the main, not hard to get along with. All it requires is a bit of courtesy, respect, and cooperation in avoiding getting in the way of their management practices. It is not that hard and it doesn't take Einstein to work it out.


  1. “unlike Santos, which had been mining coal bed methane for 50 years, the latest explorers were behaving irresponsibly.”
    It’s my observation living in the Surat basin that Santos still has a lot of landowners onside on whose property they are extracting coal seam gas. Some landowners were happy enough with their relationship with a couple of Australian owned companies but that all changed when they were taken over by very large overseas corporations. These two companies are now the worst offenders and operate in a manner that could be described as intentional arrogant disregard to landowners.

  2. This facebook page is set up by a landowner to document their expierence with a CSG operation on their land. I don't know this landowner personaly but the family is known to me. Their expierence will be more positive than others because of a better negotiation ability & the company in question is Origion which is considered along side Santos as one of the better companies to deal with. More likely the lesser of the four evils operating in this area.
    Anyway it is interesting to go back to the begining of this facebook page & read all the postings.!/pages/Food-CSG/159368284147011?sk=wall&filter=1

  3. One of the problems with this is that they tend to do it because they are allowed to by the same government that landholders rely on to secure their rights. While government was formed in the modern context to prevent us from being coerced unlawfully, with the rise of big government the opposite is happening.

    The loot that the state can gain from the exploitation of these resources tends to create the situation where the state is most likely to be on the side of those who would prefer to rip you off.

    One of the things that tends to disturb me is that property rights have been dropped in order to find something that actually works as far as rural production is concerned. The Traveston crossing dam issue was decided on turtles frogs and fish, despite the upheaval that went on within the community. The organisers of the opposition to the dam pointed out that they had to go this way as people were not considered as relevant to the decision.

    We really need to have this issue front and centre.