Onshore gas drilling ban in Victoria a problem, says industry

The Victorian government’s decision to extend a moratorium
on fracking for onshore wells has been criticised by some in industry.

The
Australian
and others report that the Victorian government has
confirmed work plan approvals would not be considered until further
studies were complete. This would mean any changes to
allow onshore gas extraction would have to wait until after the November state
election.

“It is clear to the Coalition government that
there is community concern around prospective onshore gas exploration under
currently held licences,” Victorian energy minister Russell Northe said.

“In the spirit of the current
moratorium the Coalition government will put a hold on making any decisions on
the approval of current onshore gas exploration work plans.

The widening of a ban on CSG drilling to onshore areas was a
negative, packaging company Orora told The Australian Financial Review.

Peter Dobney, Orora’s head of energy and resources, said
there was “no confidence” in the Victorian government “getting anywhere in
providing industry access to reasonably priced gas within the next two to three
years.”

Dobney added that there was “extreme pressure” on east coast
gas users due to LNG exports.

Victorian onshore gas wouldn’t be an immediate boon for
users, but would “certainly assist in long-term supply constraints,” said Innes
Willox, CEO of the Australian Industry Group.