Gas exploration will be allowed to be considered in some parts of the Hunter

The NSW Government is ruling out gas production under the majority of Petroleum Exploration Licences (zombie pels) with the exception of those that support the Narrabri Gas project.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro has released the Future of Gas statement which includes a map of where gas exploration will be prohibited, but also where it will be considered.

The plan also outlines where the Government sees gas in the future, and its role and says it does play a key role in supporting access to affordable energy and business growth within NSW and the Statement gives industry bodies, regional communities and farmers greater certainty around jobs, economic prosperity and land use.

“Supporting gas production in and around the Narrabri region and investment in gas-related infrastructure will help to create thousands of jobs, strengthen local economies and drive the state’s recovery from COVID-19,” John Barilaro said.

“We have heard the concerns and questions from our regional communities around PELs and I can confirm today we are reducing the area of land available for gas exploration by 77 per cent. The active PELs that remain will be to support the long-term future of the Narrabri Gas Project.”

“To provide absolute certainty, the NSW Government will amend the Mining State Environmental Planning Policy to reflect these changes.”

“When we came to office in 2011, petroleum exploration titles or applications covered 45 per cent of NSW – under our Future of Gas Statement, that figure has been reduced to just 1.5 per cent of the state.”

The NSW Government said they will not be releasing new areas for gas exploration in NSW and this includes areas in the Far West of NSW, near Wilcannia and Broken Hill, which were recently assessed under the NSW Government’s Strategic Release Framework.

“We want to ensure communities where gas exploration occurs receive their fair share and that’s why I’m also confirming additional funding will be made available for these LGAs through a future round of Resources for Regions,” John Barilaro said.

Minister for Energy Matt Kean said secure and reliable access to gas, achieved through a mix of sources, will be vital to ensure the continued growth of the state’s economy, in particular our industrial and processing sectors.

“Gas is an essential source of energy to manufacture products such as fertiliser, and heavy construction materials,” Matt Kean said

“The NSW Government is determined to set a clear policy framework to secure supply and put downward pressure on prices.”

The future of gas in NSW includes the Narrabri Gas Project as a driver for the  proposed Narrabri Special Activation Precinct, along with LNG import terminals at Port Kembla and Newcastle to help ensure sufficient market supply.

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