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Reported coalbed methane ‘leak’ is business as usual, says AGL

World Coal,

Reports of a gas leak from AGL Energy’s coalbed methane (CBM) operations near Sydney, Australia, appear to be unfounded, after the company claimed the supposed “leak” was in fact a standard safety valve release activation.

Local residents and green activists had picked up on a supposed “hissing sound” and called in fire fighters to investigate whether there was a gas leak.

The Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has since sent an officer to investigate the AGL CBM site. The EPA said that if there were indeed a gas leak, which might constitute a breach in AGL’s operating license it would “respond with appropriate regulatory action”.

AGL said that the release valve actuation “caused a small amount of natural gas to escape, exactly as is designed. At no time were any local residents at any risk.”

A spokeswoman for the company said its control room received automatic notification of the valve activation, but did not yet know what had caused the buildup of pressure which set it off. She said this sort of incident was “extremely rare” and “had not happened in recent memory”, adding that the company would investigate.

AGL’s statement said the CBM well was now back online and operating safely.

Written by Sam Dodson

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