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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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Coal Seam Gas: the Commonwealth's regulatory role

A recent episode of the ABC’s Q&A series in Tamworth discussed state and Commonwealth responsibility for coal seam gas and coal mining project regulation and raised the question: how is the Commonwealth involved in the regulation of coal seam gas (CSG)? Read more...

Liquefied natural gas in Queensland - where will the gas come from?

The production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Australia has become an important export industry. Sales from three existing LNG projects (the North West Shelf, Darwin LNG and Pluto LNG) earned $14.3 billion in export revenue in 2012-13, according to the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE). Increased global demand for gas is driving investment in Australia to open new LNG projects, exploiting gas resources offshore from Western Australia and the Northern Territory. In addition, onshore coal seam gas (CSG) resources will be used to develop at least three (and possibly up to seven) new LNG projects at Gladstone, in Queensland – but where will all the gas come from? Ne... Read more...

Is this the end of coal seam gas for now?

Coal seam gas (CSG) has become a divisive issue in recent times, particularly in rural and regional areas of Queensland and New South Wales. Despite the regulation of CSG being primarily a State responsibility, several private members have introduced bills that aim to exert greater Commonwealth controls over CSG. This FlagPost will examine the latest bill, which was introduced into the House of Representatives on the 11th of February. It could have the effect of stopping all new coal seam gas developments across Australia for at least two years. CSG (as well as large-scale coal mining) has been particularly polarizing in agricultural areas, such as the Hunter Valley in NSW and the Darling Do... Read more...

The deeper worries about coal seam gas

One-third of Eastern Australia cooks its breakfast, warms its homes, and generates its power from natural gas, the main component of which is methane, supplied by coal seam gas (CSG) operations. Our need for natural gas has allowed CSG operations to grow, but critics contend that this has not always been accompanied by sufficient understanding of the social and environmental implications. Ground and surface water contamination, water consumption, and waste disposal are but a few issues fuelling the ongoing debate. However, reports of deeper risks are now surfacing.The United States Geological Survey (USGS) recently indicated that CSG activities in the US appear to have contributed to an incr... Read more...

Coal seam gas: should the gates be locked?

Coal seam gas! It’s controversial and in the news every day. Why has it suddenly become an issue? What is going on? The exploration for and development of coal seam gas (CSG) is a relatively new and small activity in Australia, but the size of the estimated CSG resource suggests that it could grow to become a major industry, and an important new energy export sector. But only if it can overcome some problems.  Coal seam gas occurs naturally in most coal seams and is trapped there by the confining pressure of groundwater. Chemically it is the same as natural gas (i.e. mostly methane) extracted from conventional oil and gas deposits. See the Library’s Background Note for further details.  In i... Read more...

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