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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Well-Head Safety Program to instil best practice in CSG industry

    Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    Well-Head Safety Program to instil best practice in CSG industry

    Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Stephen Robertson has ordered the State’s coal seam gas producers to fully audit their operations, to ensure their gas wells and equipment meet appropriate health and safety standards.

    Mr Robertson said the industry has been ordered to participate in a well-head safety program, which aims to ensure that all CSG companies demonstrate best practice in their operations.

    Under this proactive program, all CSG producers in Qld will be required to do a complete inspection and risk assessment of all existing well-heads and provide a report to government on the results of those inspections.

    “This program aims to provide a clear picture of current operations at all CSG sites in Queensland,” Mr Robertson said.

    “Under the program, all companies will have to report on their risk assessment and management processes which deal with any identified leaks and ensure their equipment meets appropriate national standards.

    “The companies will be required to report the results of their findings and remediation work they undertake to the Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate on a weekly basis.

    “Further, our inspectors will undertake random field inspections and testing to ensure the gas companies meet their legislative obligations.”

    Mr Robertson said industry representatives had been given the order to conduct the program of inspections using sensitive gas detection equipment, during a meeting with the head of the Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate last week.

    The roll-out of this program follows a series of inspections on well-heads operated by QGC Ltd in the Tara district.

    Officers from the Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate, Safety and Health conducted inspections and monitoring on the site over the past two months, following complaints from a member of the community about leaking well-heads.

    The Independent Mine and Gas Safety Commissioner said that compliance orders have been issued to the company to fix a number of wells and to inspect all others to ensure they meet health and safety regulations.

    Mr Robertson said he was pleased the company was taking action to meet the requirements of the compliance notices, but that government expected a more proactive approach across the industry in regards to well inspections and maintenance.

    “While our inspectorate has been busy inspecting wells at Tara and issuing compliance directions to ensure wells meet regulatory standards – I want to know that across the State, the industry is operating in a way that ensures best practice,” he said.

    “The Well-head Safety Program will allow us to identify any areas of concern, and to determine any new regulations that may be required to ensure the industry is meeting expectations of best practice as it continues to expand.

    “The Mine Safety and Health Commissioner will be providing quarterly reports, which will be publicly available on the department’s website.

    “Our govt clearly supports the growth of this important industry. But like any development, it is essential that the affected communities are well informed, and that as the industry develops it does so in a safe and sustainable way.

    “It is in the best interest of the mining companies to ensure they keep the local communities informed, and to ensure they operate in best practice.

    “And it is in the best interest of Queenslanders that we get this balance right so this industry can deliver the great benefits it presents for our State.”

    Media Contact: Minister’s Office – 3224 7332