Coal seam gas drilling gets 'ok'

DART Energy has confirmed it will begin preparing its sites in Fullerton Cove for coal seam gas drilling after the federal government gave the ok for the company's pilot wells.

Dart energy said on Tuesday it had "received all government regulatory approvals" to drill its proposed pilot wells in in exploration lease (PEL) 458 at Fullerton Cove.

Dart's Review of Environment Factors lodged in September 2011 has been approved by the Australian Government's Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Coal Mining, and the NSW Department of Trade and Investment Regional Infrastructure and Services.

Site preparation is expected to start in the coming weeks.

The pilot wells will target the Borda and Medowie coal seams, within the Tomago coal measures, at depths of between 650 and 700 metres using horizontal well drilling technology to minimise the impact above ground. Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) will not be used.

Dart's CEO Australia, Robbert de Weijer said it was a step forward for Dart in Australia which is planning on starting its first Gas Sales Agreement with Maria's Farm Veggies, a glasshouse horticulture project at Fullerton Cove which was approved late last year.