A fake press release was sent to North Coast NSW media outlets this morning, stating gas explorer Metgasco intended to cease work in the area.
Using the Metgasco logo, and signed off by CEO, Peter Henderson, the release said the company “will cease conducting unconventional gas in communities where we are not welcome”.
“We take the issue of social license seriously and it had become clear to us that communities in the northern rivers are overwhelmingly opposed to the development of industrial gasfields,” the fake document said.
The phony release come just a day after more than 2000 people gathered to protest the company starting exploratory gas drilling near Lismore.
Henderson said he was less than impressed with the con.
"I do take exception in the company's logo being used and will be pursuing appropriate avenues in response," Henderson said.
"Metgasco looks forward to continuing its exploration program for conventional and unconventional gas."
The Northern Star reports the press release was sent from a high school student's email account.
Last year, Whitehaven Coal had $314 million temporarily wiped from its value after a fake press release, purported to be from ANZ, claimed the bank had withdrawn a $1.2 billion loan to help develop the Maules Creek project.
Activist Jonathan Moylan was charged over the hoax and plead not guilty in a Sydney Supreme Court. He will stand trial on June 30.