NSW GAS PLAN

 

The NSW Government’s Gas Plan released in November 2014 is a policy framework designed to deliver world’s best practice regulation of the coal seam gas industry. It contains a series of measures aimed at balancing concerns from farmers, the local community and industry. The Plan is based on a report prepared by the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer. This section outlines the key aims of the Plan and provides a link to the report available online, and details actions taken under the Plan to date.

 

NSW Gas Plan

 

The NSW Gas Plan (the Plan) is NSW Government policy aimed at achieving world’s best practice regulation of the coal seam gas industry in NSW. The Plan centres around and seeks to implement the recommendations of the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O'Kane, as set out in the Final Report of the Independent Review of Coal Seam Gas Activities in NSW.

 

To view or download the NSW Gas Plan visit:

NSW Gas Plan

 

To view or download the Final Report of the Independent Review of Coal Seam Gas Activities in NSW visit:

Final Report of the Independent review of Coal Seam Gas Activities in NSW

 

The key components of the Gas Plan are:

  • The NSW Government will implement a limited period buyback scheme for petroleum exploration licenses.

  • The NSW   Government will commission the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal to benchmark compensation rates for gas exploration annually.

  • The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has been appointed as the chief regulator for coal seam gas exploration and production and will be responsible for enforcement.

 

Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) buy-back scheme

 

The Petroleum Exploration Licence buy-back scheme under the NSW Gas Plan operated to redeem and cancel Petroleum Exploration Licences in NSW.

 

The Scheme ran for 10 months till October 2015 and bought back 16 PELs covering 4.5 million hectares.

 

Landholder Compensation Benchmarks

 

Part of the NSW Gas Plan involved commissioning the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to prepare a report into compensation payment rates for gas exploration and production.  

 

IPART released its final report in November 2015. The report makes six recommendations. The recommendations are:

  • when negotiating Land Access Arrangements with gas companies, landholders use IPART’s spreadsheet model to estimate compensation benchmarks that take into account their individual circumstances

  • gas companies provide payments and/or in-kind benefits to landholders to share the benefits of gas development

  • gas companies pay compensation to neighbours if the impacts on them exceed reasonable levels (e.g. noise levels and hours of operation) as set out in licences or approvals

  • legislative provisions in NSW be amended to cover all relevant impacts on landholders

  • independent workshops be run to help landholders understand land access for coal seam gas and negotiate land access and compensation agreements

  • a voluntary and non-identifying public register of coal seam gas compensation payments be established.

 

To view or download the  spreadsheet for calculating  Landholder benchmark compensation rates visit:

Landholder benchmark compensation rates

 

To view or download the  report for Landholder benchmark compensation rates visit:

Landholder benchmark compensation rates

 

Environment Protection Authority lead regulator of coal seam gas industry

The NSW Gas Plan sets a framework for the state’s gas industry and aims to provide a consistent and transparent approach to compliance and enforcement. It builds on the findings of the Independent Review of Coal Seam Gas Activities in NSW by the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer. A key feature of the Plan was implemented through the appointment of the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) as the lead regulator for compliance and enforcement of conditions of approval for gas activities in NSW, including consent conditions and activity approvals issued by other agencies.[1]

 

Environment Protection Authority’s Role

 

The EPA is the lead regulator for environmental and health impacts of coal seam gas, natural gas and tight gas as of 1 July 2015. It has responsibility for compliance for all petroleum title conditions, except for work health and safety issues; nor is it responsible for planning approvals. These functions are carried out by SafeWork NSW, the NSW Department of Planning and Environment and the NSW Division of Resources and Energy. The Division of Resources and Energy has a planning approval function for exploration activities. Other agencies, such as the Department of Primary Industries and Local Government, may also be involved, depending on the proposed work.

 

Once coal seam gas, natural gas and tight gas activities have been approved, licence holders are also required to obtain an Environment Protection Licence (EPL). 

 

Environmental Protection Licences

 

From 19 December 2014, all coal seam gas, natural gas and tight gas activities must have an EPL under the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2009.

 

This gives the EPA a range of compliance and regulatory powers under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 and the Protection of the Environment Operations Regulation 2009 to control the environmental aspects of coal seam gas, natural gas and tight gas activities.

 

Community Consultation by the EPA

 

The EPA has undertaken to consult heavily regarding its process for developing licences and gas regulation.

 

In addition, you can report environmental issues or ask questions in a number of other ways by contacting the EPA.

 

[1]  NSW Government, The Gas Industry in NSW (NSW Environmental Protection Agency, June 2015)

 

>GO BACK