Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson says the delay is owed entirely to wet weather in Queensland where the rig it had contracted to do the work was situated.
On February 6 the company was given the go-ahead by the state government to drill the test well and on February 18 in an ASX announcement said it would use a rig supplied by Atlas Drilling Services, ‘on the basis of criteria that included cost, safety, rig capability and reliability’.
But it seems Atlas has been less reliable than Metgasco may have hoped, with the rig bogged down at its current site in Queensland.
‘The reason for putting out the press release is largely that we’d told the market that we would be starting to drill in April – and there’s still a chance of activity this month – but we thought the right thing to do was to explain to people that there had been a short delay,’ he told ABC North Coast radio this morning.
Mr Henderson denied the significant public protests at Bentley were a factor in the delay.
‘The protest is not stopping us. We had protests for the two wells we drilled at the start of 2013 and that didn’t stop us, so there’s no truth in that.’
Mr Henderson also refuted the number of protesters Lock the Gate claimed were onsite, saying, ‘they tend to count in twos rather than ones’.
‘We would like to win every popularity contest in the northern rivers region. We would like there to be people onsite welcoming us, clapping our coming. We know that’s not the case,’ he said.