A GAS company with operations in Narrabri says New England and the north-west is sitting on one of the biggest gas fields in Australia.
Eastern Star Gas, which already provides Country Energy with power for the NSW grid, says coal seam gas boasts the biggest potential power source for the region – and it's right beneath our feet.
Petroleum players Dennis Morton, David King and Doug Battersby created Eastern Star Gas in 2000, establishing the Wilga Park gas project, 20km west of Narrabri. A year later the company commissioned a 10 megawatt power plant.
Since its early Gunnedah Basin explorations, Eastern Star has known of the abundant coal seam gas resource.
The problem, until now, had been reaching the gas through the thick sandstone layers.
Now Eastern Star has reported a significant development in the company's joint venture with partner companies Hillgrove Resources and Gastar Explorations.
"Wells previously drilled within the Coonarah gas field [between Narrabri and Gunnedah] had not been drilled deep enough to penetrate the
gas bearing Maules Creek
sandstone," Mr Morton said.
"Now, however, a well has been completed for future evaluation for coal seam gas
"The coal seam immediately underlies the Coonarah Gas Field, which has an existing gas gathering system and pipeline linking the field to the Wilga Park Power Station – fuelled by national gas.
"This means that during test production coal seam gas can be fed into the power station rather than being vented to the
Mr Morton said the Petroleum Exploration Licence contained one of the largest onshore natural gas accumulations in Australia. "It alone totals 17,000 petajoules [17 trillion cubic feet] of gas-in-place within the two coal seams that are over 10m thick," he said.
"Further plans to evaluate the coal seam gas potential of this new discovery will be reviewed by the joint venture in the near future."
Eastern Star could also pursue the prospect of exporting natural gas derived from the Gunnedah basin.
Federal Government figures show that Australia produces 33.08 billion cubic metres of natural and coal seam gas each year and consumes 23.33 billion cubic metres