THE argument surrounding coal seam gas development in NSW has been "hijacked" by opponents peddling "alarmist" claims, according to Santos.
The oil and gas company has expressed frustration that the broader issue of the state's future energy needs appears to have been "lost in the debate".
Santos NSW general manager Peter Mitchley said he was "very confident" the company had "overwhelming support" locally to proceed with the Narrabri Gas Project.
"We have a tremendous record which we're very proud of," he said.
"When we can move forward with the project and demonstrate the benefits, our track record will speak for us exactly as it has done for us in other parts of this country."
NSW Chief Scientist Mary O'Kane handed down the findings of her 18-month review of the coal seam gas industry last September.
She concluded that while "all industries have risks", those associated with coal seam gas development could be managed through effective regulation.
Mr Mitchley said he thought Prof O'Kane's report had taken some of the heat out of the incendiary debate.
"The chief scientist is unequivocal in her view that the industry can be conducted in a manner that is safe, with adequate safeguards and regulations," he said.
"She further qualified that by saying the industry poses no greater threat than any other extractive industry.
"At the end of the day, what we're talking about is providing the lifeblood of our economy - energy - into NSW and trying to keep that affordable."