A document procured under GIPA has revealed Santos’ intentions to go beyond the footprint of PEL 238 and the Narrabri Gas Project and proposes to link the Permian Coal Seam Gas Prospects by way of drilling a corehole.
David Close from Santos and Tamboran Resources expresses in Document 34 – GIPA 23-39 Regional NSW (a Prospecting Title Works Program document likely supplied as rationale to renew PEL238):
This area (PEL 238, PAL 2, PPL 3) is the most advanced of the prospective resources in the Gunnedah Basin in terms of appraisal data, geological understanding and is the logical choice for first development of CSG from the Gunnedah basin. In addition to the significant resource volume which is expected to be recovered, lays a platform for future development of additional resources within the basin. The NGP has the potential to be the catalyst for further Gunnedah Basin development.
Expansion of NGP will require planning and drilling of new step out appraisal wells. Initial activity will focus on maintaining pilot operations in key projects adjoining the NGP, assessment of performance and planning of new step out appraisal wells. Drilling of a corehole in the southeast of the tenure will expand appraisal of the Late Permian CSG fairway adjoining PEL 1 and PEL 12.
A map is supplied on the last page of this document which shows undrilled wells in the vicinity of and inside the Narrabri Underground Coal Mine Exploration areas. This level of detail of planned “step-out wells” has not been seen publicly since the Willala 1 Corehole Well Completion Report was loaded on to the DIGS website by Eastern Star Gas in the 2000’s.
The map of proposed exploration activities shows Permian CSG prospects and undrilled wells OUTSIDE the Narrabri Gas Project footprint, begging the question of the reliability of Santos’ stated aim of Financial Investment Decision based on Phase One appraisal data from the Narrabri Gas Project.
The claim by Santos that “significant” resources exist in the Pilliga needs scrutiny by the NSW Government. Evidence exists that shows the resource is, in fact, very high in CO2 and suffers from igneous intrusions which will make exploration and production expensive.
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Producing gas from high CO2 coals is at odds with Safeguard Mechanism goals.