Coal-seam gas explorer Arrow Energy has been the subject of a damning audit report by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI), leading to calls for its Northern Rivers Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) to be suspended by the state government.
One of the breaches was classified in the audit as the most serious level of risk.
Lock the Gate – Tweed spokesperson Michael McNamara said yesterday that breaches of its licence conditions demonstrated Arrow Energy could not be trusted by the community.
‘The DPI Report on its Audit of Coal and Petroleum Exploration Licences in NSW lists numerous breaches of its licence conditions by Arrow Energy in PEL 445. This exploration licence covers much of the Northern Rivers including about one quarter of the Tweed Valley,’ Mr McNamara said.
‘Arrow Energy’s name crops up multiple times in the report as being non-compliant in a number of areas,’ he said.
‘Arrow was found to have breached licence conditions in the areas of security, safety and environment.
‘The breach of environmental conditions relates to the alleged dumping of drilling mud and was viewed as a serious breach by the audit.’
This breach was classified as NC1, the most serious level of risk, which is defined in the report as:
Total absence of planning or implementation of a required operations element, which presents an immediate risk or an isolated lapse in control of the implementation of an operations element which will lead to a significant risk.
‘The report also found that Arrow Energy had failed to do, or had no evidence that it had done, strata leak off tests, did not have safety signs at several drill sites and did not have site specific safety plans for at least two wells at Keerrong and Tunglebung.
‘Arrow Energy’s repeated non-compliance with its licence conditions is a serious breach of faith with the community and the state government should suspend the approval of its exploration licences in NSW,’ Mr McNamara said.