The approval comes after the Commission received nearly 23,000 public objections to the CSG project, with more than 11,000 written submissions made regarding concerns over its impacts on climate change, groundwater, biodiversity, agriculture, bushfires, Aboriginal cultural heritage and more.
The Commission said it has now determined consent should be granted to the project, subject to 134 conditions.
“The Commission concludes the project is in the public interest and that any negative impacts can be effectively mitigated with strict conditions,” it said in its Statement of Reasons for Decision.
“The Commission has granted a phased approval that is subject to stringent conditions which means the applicant must meet specific requirements before the project can progress to the next phase of development.”
In its statement, the Commission said it was “satisfied” the potential groundwater impacts of the Narrabri project can be effectively managed under the imposed conditions, and has also imposed a condition requiring greenhouse gas emissions in excess of the predicted levels to be fully offset.
“The Commission has accepted the Recommended Conditions of consent from the Department and imposed additional conditions which will increase the transparency of the project’s operations, improve groundwater modelling and data, increase expert involvement in the management and mitigation of impacts, offset specific impacts of the project and strengthen protective measures for affected stakeholders and the environment,” it said.
Santos said the project will create up to 1,300 construction and 200 operational jobs and will shore up gas supply for Australia’s east coast market.
“Santos is excited about the prospect of developing the Narrabri Gas Project, a 100 per cent domestic gas project that can provide the lowest source of gas for NSW customers,” said Santos Managing Director and CEO Kevin Gallagher.
“This major step forward is welcome, but we must now gain the approval of the Federal Minister for the Environment under the EPBC Act as well as other subsequent approvals.”
When all approvals are in place, Santos will undertake a 12-18 month appraisal drilling program, including expansion of its water monitoring network, which will inform its final plans for the project’s development.
Once fully operational, Narrabri will be able to produce up to 200 TJ/day, up to half of NSW’s current gas demand, with a project lifespan of at least 20 years.
Click here to read the full Statement of Reasons for Decision.
For more information visit the Santos website.
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