May 30, 2012

The State Government has received interim advice that bubbling gas in the Condamine River is unlikely to be linked to coal seam gas activities in the area.

Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps said his department’s LNG Enforcement Unit and Origin Energy have investigated.

“The LNG Enforcement Unit began investigations after a landholder raised concerns about the possible causes of bubbling gas in the Condamine River about 6km downstream of Chinchilla weir,” Mr Cripps said.

“The Queensland Government takes any such reports seriously and the Enforcement Unit is being regularly updated by Origin Energy.”

There are four Origin coal seam gas wells within a 5km radius of the river. The closest well is 1.4km away. All of these wells are cased and not part of a production field and there are no CSG pipelines in the vicinity.

“Based on this information the Enforcement Unit advised the landholder that the cause of the bubbles was unlikely to be CSG activities,” Mr Cripps said.

He Cripps said Origin Energy would give the Government results of the most recent testing conducted in the area today.

“Origin has carried out additional investigations and sampling in the area and yesterday confirmed that the leaking gas was methane,” Mr Cripps said.

“Origin advised the gas may be naturally occurring coal seam methane rising through the underlying geology in the area.

“I am advised that similar such occurrences are not unusual.”

Mr Cripps said he was disappointed that anti-CSG groups appeared to be using this incident to push a political agenda.

“Speculation about the actual cause of bubbling gas in the Condamine River based on limited information is unhelpful and irresponsible and does not contribute to informed commentary on this industry,” Mr Cripps said.

“Inspectors from the LNG Enforcement Unit and NRM Petroleum and Gas will continue to conduct gas testing in the area and liaise with Origin about its ongoing investigations.”

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