Eastern Star Gets Green Light to Develop Coonarah Project

The Narrabri Shire Council in New South Wales has granted approval to Eastern Star Gas for the development of the Coonarah Gas Field natural gas gathering system and associated electricity generating facility. The development approval follows Council and public review of a comprehensive Statement of Environmental Effects (SEE) incorporating detailed reports on flora, fauna, and cultural heritage issues. The SEE was submitted to the Narrabri Shire Council in early October, and was on public display until November 15th.

With the granting of the development approval, and the independent reserves report announced in February 2002, the Company will satisfy the important pre-conditions for the granting of a Petroleum Production Lease by the New South Wales Minister for Natural Resources.

The Company is now proceeding to finalize the detailed design of the 20 kilometer pipeline from the gas field to the western outskirts of Narrabri, and the selection of electricity generating equipment. The Company is also finalizing a long term Power Purchasing Agreement with the major regional electricity retailer Country Energy, and putting in place appropriate financing arrangements.

The Coonarah Gas Field, in Petroleum Exploration License 238, is the first commercial gas field in New South Wales, with independently accredited Proved and Probable reserves of 11.3 Petajoules (of which over 70% is in the Proved category). It is proposed that the gas reserves will be produced from the four existing completed wells on the field, and delivered under natural flow through a buried 6-inch steel pipeline to a new power generation site on the western outskirts of Narrabri. Subject to final design configuration, between 6 and12 megawatts of electricity will be generated using reciprocating gas engines, for sale into existing Country Energy infrastructure over a minimum 10-year period.