Legal action delays shale deposits sale

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

LEGAL action appears to be delaying the sale of shale deposits linked to the owners of the Stuart Shale Oil Plant at Yarwun.

Queensland Energy Resources (QER), who own the Stuart plant, are refusing to become embroiled in the debate over the shale oil deposits owned by the plant's previous owner Southern Pacific Petroleum (SPP).

QER is investigating constructing stage two (Stuart Two) of the Yarwun plant.

QER has refused to comment on the issue and it is not known if the acquisition of the shale deposits has any bearing on stage two of the plant.

The 25% of shale deposits which are for sale (part of the Rundle deposits) are currently owned by previous owners of the plant, Southern Pacific Petroleum (SPP).

However global energy group ExxonMobil, who own 50 per cent of the total Rundle deposit, have moved to block the sale of the 25% stake.

ExxonMobil say it should have been consulted about who it wants as a partner in owning the Rundle deposits.

However in a letter acquired by The Observer, it appears QER will retain the 25 per cent stake in the deposits held by Central Pacific Minerals, who operated the Stuart Plant in a joint venture with SPP (SPP/CPM).

Despite the uncertainty of QER buying SPP's stake, a letter written by SPP administrator Peter Geroff suggests it will acquire CPM's 25 per cent stake by February 9.

It is also been discovered that QER has asked the Environmental Impact Statement for Stage Two be deferred. A statement on the Department of State Development website said the decision was based on environmental issues.

'In April 2004, the new owners of the Stuart resource, Queensland Energy Resources Ltd (QERL) requested that the Coordinator-General defer evaluation of the Stage 2 Environmental Impact Statement material until such time as additional investigation and analysis of potential environmental impacts could be completed,' the website said.



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