In the Hunter Region, AGL is exploring for coal seam gas (CSG) under Petroleum Exploration Licences 4 and 267 (PELs). Click here to view a map of the area. Wholly owned and operated by AGL, the Hunter Gas Project is part of AGL's commitment to securing gas supply for the people of NSW.
In late 2005, AGL entered into a joint venture with Sydney Gas Limited (SGL) which was exploring for gas in PEL 4 and 267.
In April 2009, AGL assumed 100% ownership and operatorship of the PELs after the acquisition of SGL. Since acquiring the PELs, AGL has continued the gas exploration in a number of prospective areas within the PELs.
In October 2010, AGL announced that it has booked its first reserves for the project of (an estimated)proved plus probable (2P) gas reserves of 142 petajoules (PJ) and proved plus probable plus possible (3P) reserves of 271 PJ. Click here to read the release announcing the reserves. View the media presentation and maps of the area.
Exploration in NSW
Minerals, including gas, in NSW are owned by the Crown and are excluded from property deeds. Exploration is governed by stringent conditions to minimise impacts.
Exploration in NSW is dealt with under the Mining Act 1992 and the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 and accompanying regulations. All exploration activity in NSW must be conducted in accordance with titles issued and administered by the NSW Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services (formerly known as Industry & Investment NSW), Minerals and Petroleum Division. By stipulating operating and environmental conditions, these titles provide the government's control mechanism over AGL's petroleum exploration.
The NSW government encourages exploration and development of resources, which deliver significant economic benefits in regional areas and to the State.
Respect and Recognition of Landowners
Landowner consent is required before any exploration activities can occur. AGL understands that our exploration work may affect a landowner's normal activities. There are no on-size-fits all solutions and each landowner has different needs and expectations. AGL enters into access and compensation arrangements with landowners which govern how activities occur.
- Take the time to understand the current and future land use
- Come to an agreement before any work occurs
- Plan with landowners suitable locations for our work
- Keep landowners fully informed at each stage of the exploration work
- Respect privacy, property and business activities
- Ensure activities are well managed and cause minimal disruption
to daily life
- Answer any questions or concerns.
There are specific access rights and regulation enacted by the NSW government. To learn more about your rights as a land holder, go to:
Drilling and Exploration
There are several stages in exploring for CSG:
- Seismic data acquisition
- Core holes and stratigraphic holes
- Pilot production testing
Each of these exploration activities requires approval under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
Core and stratigraphic holes recover samples of potential drilling targets. Geologists can examine the core samples to determine its hydrocarbon characteristics. More about Core and Stratigraphic holes can be learned here.
Seismic exploration is a non-intrusive method which uses sound waves to create a map of the structures beneath the Earth's surface. Geologists and geophysicists will then interpret this data, and develop a plan for exploration drilling. More about Seismic Exploration can be learned here.
AGL proposes to conduct up to 190 km of 2D Seismic over PEL 267. Subject to approvals and landowner agreements, the attached maps show an approximate path over which this seismic is proposed to occur. To view a map of the proposed path of the seismic, click here.
Pilot wells are tested to establish whether the identified gas resource in a particular area will flow from the target coal seams and at what rate. It is the last stage in the gas exploration process, designed to establish the deliverability of the gas to the surface.
AGL is part way through the gas exploration of the Hunter region, with approximately 300 kilometres of seismic data, 16 core holes (fully rehabilitated and plugged with cement) and six stratigraphic holes drilled, and two pilot test wells.
AGL's exploration activity is expected to continue for at least another three to five years.
In 2012, AGL proposes to conduct a 2D seismic exploration, core and stratigraphic hole drilling and pilot production testing. Each of these activities requires approval under The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
AGL will continue to prove up gas reserves in PEL 4 and 267 with the aim to develop the gas for the benefit of NSW residents. A future commercial development is also subject to a stringent and thorough approvals process.
Where extraction is proved to be viable, AGL will work with the community to ensure its operations are sympathetic to the region's farming and tourism.
All exploration must go through an approvals process which includes:
- Preparation of an environmental assessment to assess the proposal (including noise, heritage, flora and fauna);
- Consultation with the landowner, neighbours, local councils and relevant government agencies;
- Submission of an application and environmental assessment, including comments arising from consultation;
- Review by the Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services - Minerals and Petroleum Division.