Home Australia Coal seam gas company drills wells under private property without notifying farmers

Coal seam gas company drills wells under private property without notifying farmers

Coal seam gas company drills wells under private property without notifying farmers

On Queensland’s Darling Downs, house to just a few basically the most sought-after farmland in Australia, a coal seam gas company has drilled under farmland without notifying landholders, potentially leaving them uninsured and their land devalued.

Key capabilities:

  • A Shell-owned coal seam gas company has been drilling under top farmland without notifying landholders
  • A prison official for the landholders says it be a definite breach of the law, and that it will probably possibly affect on farm insurance and possibly devalue land
  • Arrow Energy says as soon because it realised hit upon have to comprise been given, it proactively contacted affected landholders

West of Brisbane, Dalby farmer Luke Skerman has correct been urged by gas company Arrow Energy that he now has “deviated” gas wells under his land.

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“They comprise six deviated wells, three of which come underneath the support of my farm,” he said.

He is even handed one of a lot of landholders in the placement easiest now studying about so-called ‘deviated’ gas wells, which comprise been drilled at angles under their properties.

Arrow Energy is owned by Shell and Petrochina, and is in fragment even handed one of its $10 billion Surat Gas Undertaking, which is able to search extra than 2,000 gas wells drilled correct by an house over thrice the scale of the ACT.

To limit the affect on farmland, gas wells shall be grouped on the fringe of paddocks and drilled at angles into the coal seams.


Multiple gas wells at a farm near Cecil Plains, Queensland in 2020.

These gas wells at Springvale, south of Dalby, are listed as vertical in Arrow Energy’s approval, nonetheless a plot equipped to a close-by landholder shows they’re directional wells.(

ABC Southern Queensland: Nathan Morris


However Dalby-based mostly prison official Peter Shannon, who represents the landholders, said there used to be no excuse for now now not notifying them sooner than drilling under their farms, which he said used to be required under the Minerals and Energy Recourses (Fashioned Provisions) Act 2014.

“There might be correct a straight breach of the law now to now not present a hit upon of entry,” he said.

In a assertion, Arrow Energy said it used to be dedicated to participating transparently and openly:

“On the time our unique deviated wells had been drilled, we in point of fact did now not have in mind Entry Notices had been required under the legislation,” an Arrow Energy spokesperson said.

“As soon because it grew to severely change definite that Entry Notices had been certainly required, we proactively notified all impacted landholders in our Surat Basin pattern areas and supplied detailed maps showing the plan, depth and trajectory of all deviated wells that traverse into their properties.”

A middle-aged man stands with arms folded outside an office

Dalby prison official Peter Shannon says farmers are now compelled to way close the threat of having gas infrastructure under their properties.(

ABC Southern Queensland: Nathan Morris


However Mr Shannon puzzled Arrow Energy’s dedication to transparency.

“On some instances, Arrow in point of fact approached people to ogle permission to exceed noise limits, and other nuisance-form or environmental impacts for exercise on this neighbouring property, without telling those that [the] noise and mud and light-weight et cetera used to be going to be to drill under their land,” he said.

The Division’s of Resources private template even uses ‘directional drilling’ let’s advise of an exercise requiring a Detect of Entry.

A screen shot of an example of a Notice of Entry form from the Queensland Government.

On the instance of a Detect of Entry make on the Queensland executive web web page, directional drilling is venerable let’s advise of an exercise that requires gas companies to verbalize landholders.(

Supplied: Queensland executive


Nevertheless, even with gas infrastructure under their land, under unique guidelines, farmers are now now not eligible for a Behavior and Compensation Settlement (CCA), an loyal settlement with a gas company. 

It is a ways because ‘directional drilling’ is categorised as a ‘preliminary exercise’, now now not an ‘developed exercise’, and had a ‘minor affect’.

“Directional drilling under a individual’s property where there might be no infrastructure or exercise occurring on the floor shall be concept just a few preliminary exercise for the land entry framework if there might be no, or easiest minor, affect on a landholder’s commercial or land exercise actions,” a spokesperson said.

To extract CSG, wells are drilled into the coal seams, and the water that traps the gas is extracted, allowing the gas to float.

Eliminating each and every water and gas from the ground can quandary off subsidence, which is what farmers on the flat, Condamine flood ghastly are most serious about. If the land subsides, water might perhaps possibly merely now now not drain well from paddocks, and farmers are unnerved there might be no official baseline data to precisely assess ground phases.

Red anti-CSG signage displayed outside a house

The house come Dalby where Arrow Energy is drilling gas wells is intently settled, and many landholders oppose the pattern.(

ABC Southern Queensland: Nathan Morris


Dial-sooner than-you-dig

Zena and Gary Ronnfeldt comprise a farm that is surrounded by Arrow Energy gas wells, even handed one of which finishes under a 1,200-megalitre water storage.

A farming couple stand near a farm ute with gas wells behind them,

Farmers Gary and Zena Ronnfeldt had been serious about drilling a water bore, after they stumbled on they’d gas wells under their farm to remember.(

ABC Sothern Queensland: Nathan Morris


The Ronnfeldts comprise also been serious about drilling a brand new water bore on their property, which can potentially intersect with an underground gas effectively.

“I in point of fact did a ‘dial-sooner than-you-dig’ and stumbled on that there comprise been no [gas] wells registered under our property,” Mrs Ronnfeldt said.

However this month Mrs Ronnfeldt has since realized that she does comprise deviated gas wells under her farm.

“As farmers and landholders we now have to follow the foundations,” she said.

Arrow Energy said it persevered to present a comprise to ground stage monitoring, and that “CSG-induced subsidence used to be unlikely to be perceptible at property scale and small in comparison with pure variability [such as from rainfall].”

A couple stand in a large paddock

Gas company Arrow Energy private the property around the corner to the Ronnfeldt’s, and gas wells surround their farm.(

ABC Southern Queensland: Nathan Morris


Arrow Energy said it had a story of working constructively with landholders.

“Now we comprise proven correct by our many, many relationships with landholders that we can work round their farming requirements on their land without unduly disrupting their commercial whereas in conjunction with precious drought-free profits to wait on their companies,” a spokesperson said.

A farmer stands in a plowed paddock of green

This month farmer Luke Skerman stumbled on out he has three deviated gas wells under his farm, Arrow Energy conception to drill three extra.(

ABC Southern Queensland: Nathan Morris


Under Queensland guidelines, a gas company is entitled to entry private land to entry a helpful resource.

Mr Skerman has correct been by the negotiation activity with Arrow Energy, signing a CCA to permit a pipeline to be built correct by his farm. However he said he felt adore he had no other option.

“They correct gave us an ultimatum, it used to be arm in the support of the support or signal the contract so we’re taking you to the Land Court,” Mr Skerman said.

“They comprise the backing of the executive, each and every federal and whisper to gain the gas out – they comprise the sources correct to steamroll farmers in point of fact.”

Arrow Energy said it had never pressured people to signal contracts.

Queensland’s Division of Environment and Science (DES) said it used to be responsive to a lot of concerns raised in terms of Arrow Energy’s Surat Gas mission, in conjunction with directional drilling of gas wells and subsidence.

A spokesperson said DES used to be working with other whisper executive departments to study these issues, and that enforcement measures it will probably possibly employ based mostly on any non-compliance ranged from warnings by to prosecution.

Coal seam gas company drills wells under private property without notifying farmers