A Narrabri farmer, who has worked with Santos for several years, has spoken of the positive relationship he has with the company.
In a short video released today, Anthony Brennan said the industry can bring benefits to the local area.
Mr Brennan highlighted the Agreed Principles of Land Access in which Santos publicly committed to only drill wells on land where the landholder agrees to work with us, as a “key stroke”.
“That basically put at ease a lot of my concerns anyway because if I wasn’t interested in working with them or partnering with them, well, they would be happy to go elsewhere. I really can’t get a better option than that,” Mr Brennan said.
Santos Landholder Relations Adviser Mark Rodgers said Santos has been working with landholders across Australia for more than 50 years has formed lasting partnerships along the way.
“Off farm income is not easy to find in rural Australia. So being able to reinvest in your farm from natural gas is seen as a real positive,” Mr Rodgers said.
“When a landholder agrees to host Santos activities, we work with them to ensure they are comfortable with every aspect of our work on their land. We negotiate a land access agreement and a farm management plan which includes details of the location and timing of activities and takes into consideration the landholder’s lifestyle and business interests.”
Santos has a compensation framework in place that was developed in consultation with farming groups and landholders. Landholders who host Santos activities receive a land-value based payment as well as a $30,000 annual service fee.
Mr Rodgers who has been a farmer all of his life, also highlighted the extensive safeguards that Santos has in place when drilling wells to ensure water and the environment is protected.
“Drilling is not new to farmers, they do it all the time. In fact I used to drill myself. The difference is we drill a lot deeper and we use several layers of cement and steel casing,” Mr Rodgers said.
“The things that farmers are most concerned about, is the integrity of their water supply because the water supply is the life blood of the country. If there is any question about damaging that supply, it is not going to work. Our processes that are in place assure farmers that this is a safe process.
“Santos is a company of integrity. We take the time, we spend the money and the research to get this right every time.”
Mr Brennan said he believes Santos can drill safely without impacting water resources.
“I can’t see why we can’t drill a well, encase it and have it safe. There are huge numbers of wells all across the country for all different reasons. It’s a matter of engineering and we do the most incredible things with engineering these days,” Mr Brennan said.