CSG boom or bust: Santos chief says get on board or miss out

NEW South Wales needs to get on board with coal seam gas or risk missing out on an economic boom, the Santos chief said.

David Knox said the CSG industry in NSW could provide jobs and a major new income stream, but the NSW Government needed to be supportive.

Mr Knox said while the Queensland Government had supported the industry, which will begin exporting gas from Gladstone next year, the NSW Government had not offered the same level of support.

"It's clear we've made great progress here in Queensland," he said.

"From where we were six or seven years ago, we've brought the communities with us, they've worked with us, the government has worked with us - and it's helped us get to this point.

"In NSW we absolutely want to make progress there.

"Right now we're not making great progress.

"We've got good facilities on the ground, we're raring to go, but we need the government to get through the next six months, get re-elected and then we anticipate we'll be able to make real progress."

Mr Knox said the after the Queensland CSG industry came online gas would eclipse coal by 2018 to become Australia's second biggest export behind iron ore.

The NSW Government cancelled three CSG exploration licences this month in northern NSW for compliance reasons.

Resource Minister Anthony Roberts said the government supported the industry - but within guidelines.

"The NSW Government, in line with the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer's recommendations, is supportive of a safe, sustainable gas industry that adheres to best practice standards within a regime of strong regulation, compliance and enforcement," he said.

Anti-gas group Lock the Gate has called for northern NSW to be "gas field free" and group NSW co-ordinator Georgina Woods this week praised the Labor party's decision to extend a ban on CSG in northern NSW.

"We're very pleased that the Labor Party has listened to the community and acted," she said.

"It is a wise policy that recognises the risks that unconventional gas mining poses to land, water and communities."

- APN NEWSDESK



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