Gas science program leaves positive legacy for Victoria

One of the state’s largest ever programs of science has now concluded with the Geological Survey of Victoria releasing the fifth and final Victorian Gas Program Progress Report.

The Victorian Gas Program has delivered the most comprehensive scientific studies about onshore conventional gas ever undertaken in the state. The program has set the path for the restart of onshore conventional gas exploration and development from 1 July 2021.

A suite of geoscientific, technical and environmental studies have provided a great evidence base for decision making as well as a significant assessment of environmental assets, land uses and landscape features across the south west region and Gippsland.

The headline finding of the program was that an onshore conventional gas industry will not compromise the state’s environmental and agricultural credentials. The scientific studies have also helped establish the potential for more underground gas storage and offshore gas development.

The data collected is a valuable reference point for the state and provides a baseline for assessing any impacts of gas development in the future.

The studies were overseen by Victoria’s Lead Scientist, Dr Amanda Caples, who chaired an independent Stakeholder Advisory Panel including farmer, environmental, industry and local council representatives.

The Geological Survey of Victoria has led extensive regional engagement activities across the state to ensure the science was shared with the community. This helped identify the need to improve the regulatory provisions for greater engagement when the industry restarts.

The restart of onshore conventional gas exploration and development from mid next year is set to deliver further economic and community benefits with projects having the potential to generate around $300 million annually and create about 6,400 jobs over three decades.

Industry can begin on-the-ground exploration and development activity again from 1 July 2021, once the best practice regulatory framework is in place. Consultation regarding the new regulations will take place in early 2021.

The restart does not include fracking or coal seam gas which are permanently banned in Victoria.

A new animation tells the Victorian Gas Program story and it is available, along with technical reports and the individual scientific studies.

As noted by Head of Resources John Krbaleski:

“The Victorian Gas Program has delivered important work that underpins the creation of new jobs and benefits for the state’s energy supply.”

“I would like to thank the thousands of people and organisations that have engaged with this program of work over the last three years.”

“Further updates will be provided in the new year as we move through the regulatory process towards the restart of the onshore conventional gas industry on 1 July 2021.”

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