CSG, coal rivalry returns

A WHIFF of the rivalry between coal seam gas and coal mining re-emerged over the weekend, with mining tycoon Clive Palmer airing concerns that CSG operations could cause environmental contamination.
CSG, coal rivalry returns CSG, coal rivalry returns CSG, coal rivalry returns CSG, coal rivalry returns CSG, coal rivalry returns

Clive Palmer

Staff Reporter

Speaking to a National Party conference in Canberra on Saturday, Palmer said overseas CSG producers he had spoken to had raised concerns about operations here.

“They’re concerned that maybe the people who are doing it in Australia are not as skilled, not as well-trained, and do not have the same technological background that they do,” the AFP quoted him as saying.

“The risk if they don't get that right is the contamination of the water table with things like arsenic and other carcinogens,” Palmer added, mirroring fears raised by the Greens.

However, as a coal miner with plans to expand in the Galilee Basin, Palmer’s comments are just a reflection of his agenda, as Queensland Premier Anna Bligh pointed out.

“He’s a coal miner,” Bligh said, according to AAP.

“Of course Clive would be criticising other forms of fuel, particularly cleaner forms of fuel that might be a competitor for the minerals that he owns.

“It's a bit like the war between Coke and Pepsi, really.

Palmer’s comments were also rubbished by the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, which said Australian CSG players had safely produced gas for more than 15 years and that 90% of the gas Palmer used in his Queensland home was CSG.

“It's an industry that relies upon tried and tested technology and which has undergone years of environmental approvals; processes which have consistently deemed the risks to be minimal and manageable,”The Australian quoted APPEA chief executive officer Belinda Robinson as saying.

Palmer’s comments come as Arrow Energy said routine monitoring tests had detected minute traces of benzene, toluene and xylene in five of 14 shallow bores at its Tipton West and Daandine gas fields.

The two industries have in the past sparred over the common resource they access.

While CSG players need guaranteed access to petroleum over the long term, coal miners want to continue exploration and commence mining in the medium term and have raised concerns that CSG production may sterilise coal reserves.