Santos Manager of Narrabri Operations Todd Dunn has spoken of the state of the art engineering practices that Santos employs to ensure natural gas is extracted safely and the environment is protected.
Speaking in a short video, Mr Dunn said Santos adheres to the most strict and stringent rules and regulations in the world when drilling wells and takes great pride and care in every aspects of its Narrabri operations.
“The engineering processes that go into the design of all of our equipment is something that we are really proud of,” Mr Dunn said.
“Integrity for us is not focused on one area or one process. We are considering it from the drilling process, through to the surface facilities, through our pipelines, our ponds and then with the equipment that we use.
“This ensures the safety of our people, the assets and the community and landholders that we work with.
“The people we work with are local farmers, they are friends and we want to ensure the integrity of our equipment so we are not putting any of their land, their water supply at risk.”
Santos is proposing to develop the Narrabri Gas Project which could supply up to half of the NSW natural gas needs.
When drilling wells to extract this natural gas, Santos must comply with the NSW Government’s 2012 Well Integrity Code of Practice for Coal Seam Gas. The code has been peer reviewed by the Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer and the design, construction and maintenance standards set out in the code are the highest in the world.
All Santos’ wells are drilled in accordance with the Code and are designed to ensure they are safe, environmentally sound and protect the underground aquifers. All wells contain at least two layers of steel and cement which isolate the target coal seams from aquifers and other geologic formations.
Santos General Manager of Energy NSW Peter Mitchley said the two layers of steel and cement ensure that the water sources accessed by farmers and the community are not impacted.
“At a minimum there are two layers of steel between us and the groundwater that is used by farmers and agriculturalists, so we are very confident that through the seal and the concrete and the tests that we take, that we are not going to ever be connected to that water,” Mr Mitchley said.
Respected former CSIRO water expert Dr Richard Cresswell said while the method of drilling natural gas wells is similar to that used by a famer to drill farm bores, natural gas companies must comply with more strict and stringent regulations.
“When a farmer is putting a bore down for water, he is drilling under the provisions of the Water Act, when a gas company is putting down almost exactly the same bore to get to gas, they are drilling under provisions of the Petroleum (Onshore) Act and under that act they have much more strict and stringent requirements for the quality of that bore and the protection of all of the rocks that it goes through,” Dr Cresswell said.