Monday, 9 May 2011

Camden gas well tour

Dart Energy reps tell the community that gas wells in Putty will look like the ones at Camden so I go to Camden to check them out, then AGL tells me no one knows what they will look like until after exploration when the geology is known.
AGL has the exploration rights for the northern part of the Putty Valley and at the community meeting Dart Energy suggested we see their gas wells at Camden as this is a similar type of development to what they would expect to do at Putty.

After driving to Camden I asked a real estate agent where I could see gas wells and he suggested I drive south along Remembrance Drive, then along Finns Road to Woodbridge Road to Menangle.

The first well I saw was just before the Woodbridge Road turnoff behind a high fence with signs all over a locked gate. After driving on unknown roads, looking for gas wells, I was so excited to see one that I leapt out of the car with my camera and didn’t put the handbrake on properly. The car, with its wheels still pointing left to go off the road, rolled down a small incline, stopping in the grass and mud. Oops! 

I then drove along Woodbridge Road and up the hill to the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute doing a U turn at the boom gates. I made sure the hand brake was on when I stopped on the hillside to take a photograph of the magnificent view of the gently rolling cleared hills, unlike Putty’s cleared valleys surrounded by rocky hillsides covered in trees.  It was only as I was getting back into the car that I noticed a well on the top of a nearby hill.

Driving down the hill I saw another four or five and decided wells are like weeds, once you get your eye in you see them everywhere, and I did from then on.

At Menangle I headed south along Menangle Road where I saw six wells in one kilometre, all on the right hand side of the road near a creek. All the wells are behind locked gates which are well signed.

After enquiries at the Menangle village store I was told to drive north along Menangle Road and turn left at Glenlee Road to see a mine being drilled. I’m not sure if I found the right place but on top of one hill piles of something lay around a huge area.

I also travelled along a road where a gas pipe ran underneath. Following the line of the gas pipe a new mine looked as if it was about to be developed. The gas pipe line is underneath the strip of green grass.

These signs are posted along either side of the pipe line.

Observations at Camden
1. Wells are close to creeks and on top of hills
2. Wells are behind locked gates with signs
3. Wells are inconspicuous but once you see one you see lots more
4. One well very close to a creek had two water tanks
5. Restrictions apply to trucks with 8 tonne axle weight driving over underground gas pipes
6. The creeks in this area run into the Nepean which runs into the Hawkesbury

Local comment
1. If you have heaps of money or influence wells are not put on your property
2. When the well is being surveyed and drilled the surrounding land is unusable for stock
3. Houses are subsiding from coal mining.
4. Menangle is an historic town and that didn’t stop mining.
5. Wells are built in the flood plain and have been underwater
6. Most people don’t notice the wells any more as they have been there for ten years.
7. Landholders in the area are only allowed to subdivide a five acre block off their properties.

Camden Key Facts from AGL
1. 138 wells drilled
2. 78 producing wells connected to Rosalind Park Gas Plant
3. Gas Production Rate of 16 to 17 terajoules (TJ) per day
4. Supplies 6% of the NSW gas market as at March 2011
5. 100 kms of poly pipe Gas Gathering Line
6. Approximately 70 full time employees and contractors in the Macarthur region
7. 45% of suppliers are locally based businesses
8. Production started in 2001
9. Gas gathering systems are buried in accordance with Australian Standards - a minimum depth of 750mm and up to 1,200mm in some areas, including unsealed and sealed road crossings, and creek and drainage line crossings.

A phone call to AGL confirmed
1. Large amounts of water come out at the start of a well
2. Large amounts of water are used at the drilling stage
3. More water comes out of the wells at Broke than at Camden
4. All wells at Camden have been fracced
5. AGL’s Review of Environmental Factors for exploration are posted on their website before approval is given

When I said that Dart had recommended looking at the Camden wells, a laugh preceded me being told that they will not know what the wells at Putty will look like until after they have done the exploration.

Community opposes coal seam gas
A Special General Meeting of Putty Community Association Inc was held on 30th April 2011. The following motion was passed unanimously - That the Putty Community Association Inc form a sub-committee to assist the community with information relating to coal seam gas exploration and/or extraction and act as a vehicle for the Putty Community and wider community to be pro-active in measures to prevent the potential environmental and economical degradation of the Putty Valley and surrounding areas.

Around Australia
Despite dinosaur prints being threatened an LNG plant near Broome WA is to go ahead. With the Aussie dollar at an all time high, Australians are holidaying overseas while the local tourist industry is in the doldrums. Perhaps we should travel around Australia now and see The Kimberley and the Great Barrier Reef because just one mistake and they won’t be there.

Checking for approval
Everyday before I close down my computer I check to see if the Review of Environmental Factors has been approved, giving Dart Energy permission to drill a test hole at Putty. So far so good!


Article on LNG Ships with leaks in 2005

Shoo Cockatoo – Southern Highlands Coal Action Group

1 comment:

  1. You might like to look at the Hunter Protection Alliance Wed site for some more information against CSMGM -