SANTOS has been given a further 1000 day royalty-free handout for coal seam gas extraction in Narrabri.
The Coalition and Labor Party voted on Tuesday to grant another 1000 days of royalty-free exploration to the gas giant for 17 wells at its Wilga Park Power Station.
Greens’ MP Jeremy Buckingham’s disallowance motion for what he calls a ‘royalty-free holiday’ was shot down in parliament.
“That’s royalties that the state government is foregoing, the taxpayers of NSW are missing out on so Santos can continue to assess whether or not these wells are viable,” he said.
“The gas is coming up, it’s being burnt in the Wilga Park Power Station – Santos are generating electricity and making money and it’s all at the expense of the environment and the taxpayer.
“It’s an absolute rort, it’s crony capitalism.”
A decision is yet to be made on the 850-well proposed Narrabri gasfield and 23,000 community submissions are still being considered.
The first exploration well was drilled in the Gunnedah Basin in 2010 and Santos hasn’t paid any royalties since, but it does provide monthly royalty returns.
The appraisal gas is used to generate electricity for 17,500 homes in northwest NSW, a Santos spokeswoman said, and without it, Wilga Park would shut down.
“Reducing electricity supply is a good way to put further pressure on electricity prices, especially in a region that already has high energy prices,” she said.
“It also makes good environmental sense to use the gas beneficially to generate power for local communities and reduce flaring, waste and greenhouse gas emissions.
“The Greens oppose any natural gas development even though it is the cleanest way to provide Australians with reliable power 24/7.”
Approved by Resources Minister Don Harwin, a spokeswoman said without it the gas flares would have resulted in poorer air quality and being wasteful.
“This outcome is not acceptable,” she said.