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Metgasco questions state government over coalbed methane application

World Coal,

The managing director of Metgasco has questioned the competence of the New South Wales state government to oversee the coalbed methane (CBM) industry.

Peter Henderson said the Coalition has been blaming the previous Labor government for too long, and needs to give the industry some certainty.

He said Metgasco has been waiting six years for a production licence, which would allow its Casino Gas and Richmond Valley Power Station projects to go ahead.

"In June 2012, that's four years after we applied, we were told that we would be given the [CBM] production licence," Henderson said.

"We were given a letter by the government offering the licence to us, we accepted all the conditions, we paid AUS$100 000 and the (then) Minister Hartcher announced the production licence award. That's more than two years ago," Henderson added.

The state's Energy Minister, Anthony Roberts, said Metgasco's plans are still subject to a lease assessment. "The Office of Coal Seam Gas will continue to review the petroleum production lease application, but I want to make it quite clear that all applications for production are assessed in line with the relevant regulations and there is no expediated (sic) approval path," he said.

"The development consent would allow the company to construct a 30-megawatt gas-fired power station to generate electricity from coal seam methane gas produced from the Casino gas project,” Roberts continued.  "That project includes the installation and operation of approximately 40 production wells.”

"The company has applied in the past for a petroleum production lease, but this is in the hands of the Office of Coal Seam Gas," Roberts concluded.

Metgasco shareholders attending the company's recent AGM were told it hoped to start field work on the projects by mid 2015.

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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