Australian Coal-Seam Gas Ban Puts Projects at Risk
SYDNEY - Lawmakers in Australia's New South Wales (NSW) Tuesday tightened restrictions on the production of coal seam gas (CSG), prompting an angry response from energy companies planning a host of new projects in the state.
CSG drilling will be banned within 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) of residential areas in Australia's most populous state, the conservative Liberal government said, adding that bans would also apply to land containing vineyards and horse studs.
The moves may constrain the activities of companies including AGL Energy, which has significant CSG drilling projects planned in state.
"The New South Wales government has listened to community concerns about CSG," Premier Barry O'Farrell said in a statement. "These new measures build on what are already the toughest controls in the country."
The government's stance is in stark contrast to neighbouring Queensland state, where companies including ConocoPhillips and Total are spending more than $60 billion combined to liquefy CSG for export to Asia. The decision illustrates the difficulties facing companies attempting to replicate the U.S. boom in unconventional gas production in other parts of the world.
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