Farmers celebrate after signing on to the Working Together program, which has been initiated by coal seam gas company Origin Energy.
Farmers celebrate after signing on to the Working Together program, which has been initiated by coal seam gas company Origin Energy.

Origin enlists help of farmers

A NEW milestone has been reached in attempts to better combine coal seam gas and agriculture for a productive future in Queensland.

Origin, upstream operator of the Australia Pacific LNG Project, has signed up the first participants for its new Working Together pilot program.

To be trialled for two years on Surat Basin properties, Working Together has been devised to increase landholders' stake in coal seam gas operations on their properties.

Under the program they are provided training, and then contracted by Origin to carry out land management and monitoring work around the company's gas infrastructure.

Origin's regional manager Rob Hart said the company was determined to see landholders sharing in the benefits of the industry.

"Farmers know their land better than anybody, and the idea behind this program is to draw on that knowledge" he said.

That has been happening on the Drury family's 5000-head feedlot outside Miles ever since Origin arrived five years ago to drill four exploration gas wells on the property.

"We decided from the outset to embrace coal seam gas as an opportunity," Simon Drury, one of the first signatories to the Working Together program, said.

"We've already been coexisting. Agriculture and coal seam gas can work, it can marry."

Landholders will perform a range of maintenance activities for coal seam gas infrastructure in the program.

The certification earned through training will provide formal recognition of their knowledge and skills in environment and land management.

Origin will share the results with others in the industry, and welcomes the prospect of the trial creating a new benchmark.


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