Metgasco delays court date

Court date: Push back for Metgasco

Australia-listed Metgasco has pushed back the first court hearing of its legal action against the New South Wales government.

The date of the first court appearance will be pushed back from 13 June to the 27 June.

Metgasco said the decision was made as the NSW government appealed to the company that it was making its best efforts to make a decision on the drilling of the Rosella-1 conventional well.

The government confirmed it would make a decision by 25 June.

Metgasco was made aware of the suspension of drilling on 14 May by the Office of Coal Seam Gas (OSCG) without any prior notice.

Earlier this month, the company filed for a judicial review of the suspension decision in the Supreme Court.

“The grounds for Metgasco’s claim are that the decision was unlawful because it was not authorised by legislation, and was made without affording Metgasco procedural fairness,” the company said.

“Furthermore, the Minister has claimed that he exercised his power to suspend because of Metgasco’s alleged failure to engage in community consultation.”

The company will argue that it complied with community consultation obligations, meaning the government should not have used its powers to suspend drilling.

Metgasco is making a claim for damages for the company’s losses from the suspension of its drilling approval.

Late last year, Metgasco confirmed plans to drill the conventional well after the company's coalbed methane operations were stalled because of government legislation.

When Metgasco first revealed plans to drill the well, managing director Peter Henderson said the announcement reflected positive “regulatory and political” developments.

“Six months ago, Metgasco suspended field operations when the NSW government announced major changes to regulatory and administrative procedures,” he said at the time.

“Like Metgasco, major industry players also chose to suspend activity in NSW at that time.

“However, recent regulatory and political developments, particularly since the September federal election, have encouraged Metgasco to initiate the activities necessary to enable field operations to recommence.”

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