Including coal seam gas extraction is regulated mainly by the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991
Exploration for conventional gas identified coal seam gas prior to 1976, but exploration specifically for coal seam gas began in Australia in 1976 in Queensland’s Bowen Basin when Houston Oil and Minerals of Australia drilled two unsuccessful wells.
In the same year at the Appin and Tower underground mines (about 75km south of Sydney) a Coal Mine Methane operation was used to fuel on-site gas fired power stations.
The first stand-alone commercial production of coal seam gas in Australia commenced in December 1996 at the Dawson Valley project, adjoining the Moura coal mine south-west of Gladstone in Queensland.[i] Then Sydney Gas Company (now AGL) owned Camden coal seam gas field in the Sydney basin came on stream in 2001[ii], and currently produces about 5% of the gas supply of NSW.
As at February 2016, there were 164 wells located in the Camden gas field of which 155 were listed as being for coal seam gas. Of these 104 wells are producing gas and the remainder were suspended, plugged and abandoned, or used as water bores.[iii] The wells are connected by an underground pipeline network which supplies the Rosalind Park Gas Plant, where treated gas is introduced into the main supply pipeline to Sydney.[iv]
The availability of a large amount of new geological information collected by the NSW Government in recent years resulted in an increase in both mineral and petroleum title applications over the State.[v] As at July 2014, there are six production leases in NSW, five located near Camden and the other near Narrabri.
At December 2014-5 finnancial year, 4.5 Petajoules of coal seam gas was produced in NSW for the year compared with 457 Petajoules in Queensland.
[i] Geoscience Australia, Coal Seam Gas Fact Sheet. Accessed July 2014
[ii] Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, What we do. Accessed July 2014
[iii] Provided by NSW Government, Office of Coal Seam Gas (July 2014)
[iv] AGL, The Project. Accessed July 2014
[v] NSW Government, Coal Seam Gas. Accessed July 2014