AGL’s free reign a boon for NSW? Don’t believe it.

According to a recent article in the Daily Telegraph “THE pressure on the government to unlock the state’s coal seam gas reserves has intensified after a new report revealed the industry could deliver 16,000 jobs by 2035 and drive down the wholesale gas price by up to 12 per cent.”

The Telegraph’s article is based on a report by the Australian business analyst group ACIL Allen, a company that has a track record of producing industry sponsored reports that conclude that the Coal Seam Gas industry needs to be given a clear road ahead to just get on with saving the NSW state economy.

In 2011 ACIL Allen published a report in conjunction with Santos that projected 2900 new full time jobs and over $15B added to the NSW State’s bottom line.

In 2013 ACIL Allen published another report, this time for APPEA (Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association) which also concluded that NSW residents would see jobs and cash aplenty, if only all those pesky regulations holding back Coal Seam Gas drilling were removed.

This time round it is AGL, and again the conclusion is that – silly us – we just don’t understand what is good for us and we all ought to get out of AGL’s and indeed the entire CSG Industry’s way and allow them to drill everywhere. The only problem that ACIL Allen finds is that the populist NSW Government has reduced the opportunities for the CSG Industry by unnecessarily imposing things like 2km buffer zones around residential areas.

The pressure is not on the government to unlock the state’s coal seam gas fields, it is really on companies like AGL and Santos to take into consideration the collective will of the communities they target, from Gloucester to the NSW Northern Rivers, and through the Mountain Districts.

ACIL Allen’s executive staff have decades of Gas/Petro company experience. Whilst they are no doubt following a rigid analytical and reporting protocol in the formulation of their reports it is clear that they give only lip service at best to the concerns residents have over CSG’s impact to the environment. On Page 4 of the current report they say this in a footnote: “Analysis of any non-market impacts (such as the loss of biodiversity, changes in air quality, social justice implications, etc.) may also be relevant in assessing the full implications of a project or policy.”

Well…that’s that covered off then…