Blowout raises concerns

ARROW Energy’s gas well blowout on Sunday has once again raised questions about the transparency and provision of good information by liquefied natural gas (LNG) companies.

On Sunday morning, Arrow Energy contractors were installing a down-hole pump into a new well when water and gas began to flow to the surface spouting a mixture of gas and water more than 30m into the air.

The incident was a blow for Arrow Energy. It also raised more questions about the industry as a whole and its provision of timely, reliable information following the exploration company taking more than two hours to report the blowout to the property owner.

Capricorn Conservation Council’s (CCC) Coordinator Michael McCabe told The Observer the government needed to consider bringing a halt to CSG to LNG production until further investigation.

“There has been illegal clearing of land, concerns over gas wells and ongoing uncertainty of hydrological pressures on the artesian basin and now the recent gas well blowout,” Mr McCabe said.

“What level of event would have to occur for the government to put a holt to projects before we destroy the environment?

“Even before the projects have reached Gladstone we have seen a whole raft of problems occurring.”

The Minister for Employment, Skills and Mining Sterling Hinchliffe told The Observer questions had been raised about why it took Arrow Energy more than two hours to notify authorities and the landholder of what was a significant event.

“While the incident occurred at 8.20am, email notification was sent at 10.20am and a follow-up phone call made at 4.30pm,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“In a situation like this, an email on a Sunday morning two hours after the event occurred is clearly not an adequate response.

“If Arrow has done the wrong thing, there will be consequences.”

An Arrow spokeswoman said an investigation into the incident would take a fortnight.

“Arrow will also assist in any government review of the incident and ensure that a summary of its investigation will be shared with stakeholders.”

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