The coal seam gas industry is about to launch an advertising campaign to try and convince the public of the safety and economic benefit of gas wells.
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association said the public discussion of coal seam gas extraction and hydraulic fracturing had become unbalanced.
The APPEA’s member companies, including AGL, Santos, Origin Energy, British Gas, PetroChina, Shell, and ConocoPhillips, have paid for a four to six week advertising drive under the banner “We Want CSG.”
APPEA chief operating officer eastern Australia Rick Wilkinson said in a statement the campaign was “apolitical,” and aimed to give a voice to CSG advocates.
“This campaign marks the re-emergence of a fact-based energy security debate in Australia and gives voice to the many Australians who want new jobs, cleaner energy, and the revitalisation of regional communities that comes with the gas industry’s expansion,” he said.
Wilkinson said the APPEA had seen strong community support for CSG expansion.
“Our strong community feedback is that people want CSG,” he said.
But NSW Farmers Association president Fiona Simson told the Sydney Morning Herald that she was yet to meet a rural landholder who approved of the way the industry was doing business.
Over the next five years tens of thousands of gas wells are either planned or already approved for construction in Australia, the majority of them in Queensland.
In response to the rapid expansion, the Queensland Government last week announced a program to provide free legal aid to landholders in their dealings with resource companies.
That same week Clive Palmer said he had concerns about the CSG industry, but still supported it.
The NSW Greens mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham told the Sydney Morning Herald this morning there was strong community opposition to CSG expansion.
“More than 100 community groups have joined the Lock the Gate Alliance, with thousands of farmers locking the gate against the gas companies,” he said.