GLNG expansion fears

SANTOS’ plans to expand development of its Gladstone LNG-linked CSG fields have been criticised in a leaked document from the Federal Government's Independent Expert Scientific Committee.
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The GLNG site, June 2012. Courtesy Santos

Blair Price

The ABC said it obtained the document, which was also made available on its news website.

With Santos planning to drill more than 6000 gas wells, IESC was concerned about the “considerable scientific uncertainty about impacts on surface water and groundwater and associated ecosystems” due to the scale of the project and the cumulative impacts of coal and CSG extraction in the Surat and Bowen Basins.

However, Santos reportedly said the Queensland government had a strong regulatory framework in place to measure and manage the cumulative impacts of natural gas developments in the Surat Basin.

“This framework is supported by the state's Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment, which gathers data to monitor and forecast groundwater impacts,”ABC reported.

“Submissions to the company's environmental impact statement are currently being considered.”

Santos has not yet commented on IESC’s claims according to the report.

The existing and under construction two-train GLNG project is targeting 7.8 million tonnes per annum of LNG export capacity with first exports expected in the latter half of 2015.