The New South Wales Land and Environment Court has dismissed an appeal to rescind approval for Santos’ $3.6 billion Narrabri gas project in the Pilligia region.

The gas project would involve drilling 850 coal seam gas wells over 95,000ha in the state’s north-west, prompting concerns over the project’s potential greenhouse gas emissions.

In December of 2020, the Mullaley Gas and Pipeline Accord (MGPA), which represents local farmers and businesses, launched an appeal against the Independent Planning Commission’s decision to grant approval for the project. 

The MGPA argued that the planning authorities did not consider the emissions generated from the end use of the Narrabri gas by Santos’ customers, known as Scope 3 emissions.

Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) Chief Executive, Andrew McConville, said the decision gives certainty to gas customers throughout New South Wales.

“The Narrabri project is forecast to deliver 70PG of supply to the New South Wales domestic market, meeting half of the state’s forecast gas needs powering more than 1 million homes and around 330,000 businesses,” Mr McConville said.

“This decision is a step towards delivering that reliable energy.”

Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Gallagher, said while the legal process had pushed the timelines for the project back 12 months, Santos was committed to bringing gas to the state.

“As I have said for many years, Narrabri gas will always be cheaper for New South Wales customers than gas imported from other states or overseas,” Mr Gallagher said.

“It’s why we have committed 100 per cent of the gas from the Narrabri Gas Project to the domestic market. Following the New South Wales Government’s Future of Gas Statement in July, Narrabri will be the only source of local gas for the state.

“This decision now allows us to get on with the appraisal drilling phase of the project and create jobs, drive investment and attract new businesses to the region, building a better future for the people of Narrabri.”

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