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'Methane' bubbling in river

BUBBLING in the Condamine River in south-west Queensland is "unlikely" to be the result of nearby coal-seam drilling according to the Queensland Government.

Instead, investigations by the government and gas well owners Origin suspect it is methane that is rising from beneath the river bed.

Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps said the four gas wells in the area were "cased" so there were no pipelines nearby.

The closest is 1.4km away.

Mr Cripps said the department's LNG Enforcement Unit and Origin Energy have investigated.

"The LNG Enforcement Unit began investigations after a landholder raised concerns about the possible causes of bubbling gas in the Condamine River about 6km downstream of Chinchilla weir," Mr Cripps said.

"The Queensland Government takes any such reports seriously and the Enforcement Unit is being regularly updated by Origin Energy."

Mr Cripps said Origin Energy will give the Government results of the most recent testing conducted in the area, today.

"Origin has carried out additional investigations and sampling in the area and yesterday confirmed that the leaking gas was methane," Mr Cripps said.

"Origin advised the gas may be naturally-occurring coal seam methane rising through the underlying geology in the area.

"I am advised that similar such occurrences are not unusual."

Mr Cripps was disappointed that anti-CSG groups appeared to be using this incident to push a political agenda.

"Speculation about the actual cause of bubbling gas in the Condamine River based on limited information is unhelpful and irresponsible and does not contribute to informed commentary on this industry," Mr Cripps said.

"Inspectors from the LNG Enforcement Unit and NRM Petroleum and Gas will continue to conduct gas testing in the area and liaise with Origin about its ongoing investigations."

Earlier today anti-CSG group Lock The Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton said a methane release was possible, no local farmers he spoke to had heard of it happening before.
"I don't think there is any doubt this extensive leak is linked to the coal seam gas drilling, and probably fracking, that is occurring in nearby wells," Mr Hutton said.

A short video on YouTube appeared to show bubbles rising in the Condamine River and a Lock The Gate campaigner using gas-detection equipment to suggest it was a gas leak.

Topics:  condamine river, csg, methane, origin


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