Where’s our champion of the Snowy?

Industrial gas plant threatens Snowy Estuary

The EPA is currently investigating the spilling of 1000 litres of oil in three separate incidents at the controversial OMV gas and oil processing plant. This plant sits smack-bang on the edge of Corringal Creek in the lower Snowy River flood plain.

Despite community meetings and growing concern about this plant’s location, the ‘Champion of the Snowy’, local member Craig Ingram, has been deafeningly quiet on the dangers it poses to this heritage river’s estuary. Even Peter Hall, National Party member, has been pressuring the company to make public their emergency response plans. So why is there such silence from Craig Ingram? Does he supports this particular company and its gas plant, despite the threat to his beloved river?

State Planning Minister, Mary Delahunty, has agreed that OMV needs to find a more appropriate site for future operations and expansion plans. There has been an alternative site suggested for relocation of this plant in fairly degraded bush on high ground near the Princes Highway at Newmerella.

The two wells that are currently supplying gas are now producing toxic water – much earlier than expected. This adds to processing costs and dealing with the subsequent toxins before discharging the water. The wells have so far proved to be unreliable and costly to process the gas containing high levels of sulphur toxins. This means the company’s ability to sell the gas at a premium price is much reduced. Would BHP want to pay top price for an unreliable supply of gas or oil?

The above suggests that the Patricia, Balleen and possibly the new Sole gas field will not be economically viable in the long term.

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