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Gasfield Free Signage

During its meeting of 21 August 2014, Council resolved that it would install “Gasfield Free” signs or “Tweed Shire – Gasfield Free” signs in the shire.

This decision was taken after asking the community if it wanted these signs installed throughout the shire. Council also consulted Lock the Gate Tweed and Gasfield Free Northern Rivers about the signage.

Gasfield Free signs have been erected at:
· Tomewin Road on the New South Wales border
· Kyogle Road at the boundary with Kyogle Shire
· Nimbin Road at the boundary with Lismore Shire
· Tweed Valley Way at the boundary with Byron Bay Shire
· Stokers Road and Smith Creek Road at Stokers Siding
· Numinbah Road at both Crystal Creek and Chillingham
· Tyalgum Road and Limpinwood Road at Tyalgum
· Kyogle Road at Uki and Mt Burrell
· Clarrie Hall Dam, Doon Doon

Subsequently Council resolved to add three new entry signs, including Gasfield Free signage, near the highway off ramps at Kennedy Drive, Kirkwood Road and Minjungbal Drive, Tweed Heads. These also have been installed.

Council's position on Coal Seam Gas Operations in the Tweed

Mining leases are not within Council’s jurisdiction. However, at its meeting held on 26 October 2012 Council resolved to actively promote the position that Tweed Shire be free of Coal Seam Gas (CSG) and other unconventional gas operations and that Council call on local State and Federal Members of Parliament to express their support for Council's position on CSG mining.

In January 2014, Council wrote to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure to reaffirm this position.

Gas Exploration and the Tweed: The Current Situation

Petroleum Exploration Licences (PEL) allow licence-holders to explore for petroleum under the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991. To explore for Coal Seam Gas, operators must apply for a Petroleum Exploration Licence. Click here (external link) to see a map of petroleum licence holders in NSW.

PEL 445 (external link) covers about 7100km2 of the Clarence Moreton Basin in North East NSW. This takes in part of the south west of the Tweed, including the catchments for Clarrie Hall dam (the main water supply for the Tweed). Dart Energy is the current licencee for PEL 445.

The NSW Government froze new PEL Applications (external link) (PELAs) until 26 September 2014 to help establish a more comprehensive process. The state government is also conducting an audit of existing PELs.

For the State Government's webpage on Coal Seam Gas see (external link)

Dart Energy

According to Dart Energy: 'the [Clarence Moreton] Basin is considered to be highly prospective for coal seam gas as well as other unconventional and conventional gas deposits... Exploration results indicate that the area contains significant gas resources... Dart Energy intends to undertake a detailed assessment of further exploration activities required to gain a better understanding of the area’s potential.'

However on 2 April 2013, Dart Energy announced a decision to suspend field operations in Australia until there is clarity and certainty around State and Federal policies to support the industry. Click here (external link) for information on Dart Energy's Australian operations.

In May 2014, Dart Energy was reportedly sold to Britain's oil and gas explorer, IGas Energy for A$211.5 million (Click here (external link) for the news story).

A spokesperson from IGas said the company planned to sell all non-UK assets which Dart owns. These include licence interests in Australia (including PEL 445), Germany, Belgium, Indonesia and India. Click here (external link) for the news story.

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