AGL delays Gloucester gas project

AGL’S Gloucester Basin gas project has been delayed, with an approval deadline set for the end of January.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke will have to make a decision on the project before January 31 next year.

Mr Burke was due to make his decision on March 29 but the company applied for a variation to the project on March 27.

The company said the application was of an ‘‘administrative nature’’.

AGL said it wanted to ensure the detailed description of the project contained in the referral [to the minister] matched the updated description contained in the environmental assessment report.

AGL has state approval for the 110-well first stage of the project. The full project proposes more than 300 wells.

Barrington Gloucester Stroud Preservation Alliance chairman Graeme Healy said the delay would allow the community to press its case for a comprehensive water study.

“Hopefully, during this period, the interim independent expert scientific committee will have the opportunity to examine and comment on the wisdom of developing a coal seam gas field in the Gloucester Valley,” he said.

Independent MP for Lyne Rob Oakeshott said state and federal public policy related to coal seam gas mining was developing rapidly.

“The delay in the approval process is a sensible move while the future policy direction is being worked on,” Mr Oakeshott said.

AGL said it was disappointed at the delay and it was continuing to work with the department to address its requirements.

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