GAS explorer AGL will resume work on its controversial Gloucester Gas Project after almost a year’s delay caused by an unsuccessful legal challenge and more scientific assessments.
The company has announced work to prepare for exploration drilling at Forbesdale next week.
The announcement comes now federal legislation is through the Parliament to allow an independent committee to start scientific studies of mining in the Gloucester Basin.
The basin was identified as a priority area for coal seam gas research in a deal done with federal independents to get their support for the mining tax.
AGL said next week’s work would include roads and preparation of drill pads.
In a statement, AGL said the work would enable a better assessment of the natural gas potential of the area and more information on hydrogeology.
Barrington Gloucester Stroud Preservation Alliance spokesman Graeme Healy said only an independent study that addressed all aspects of the area’s hydrology could determine where the industry would be safe or if it was safe to proceed at all.
The Gloucester Gas Project has more than 300 wells.
Stage one of about 110 wells has been approved but a residents’ blockade last year, which followed the legal challenge, stopped work, and a review of the company’s surface and underground water studies for stage one further delayed the project.
The water study review was conducted by Dr Rick Evans, who urged more studies. AGL agreed.