Unconventional Gas Seminar Highlights

Coal Seam Gas Lawyer Melanie Oliver spoke at a recent Legalwise Seminar about Land Access and Make Good Agreements for onshore gas. The conference was attended by various lawyers from all over the state both face to face and online via webinar. Most of the speakers at the conference were from the gas sector; however Melanie spoke on behalf of her rural and landowner clients and gave a different perspective.

The key note speaker at the conference was John Cotter, the Gasfields Commission Chairman. Melanie Oliver spoke about the Make Good Framework under the Water Act and gave some tips on common provisions that should be included in Make Good Agreements. Melanie also spoke about the “reasonable endeavours test” and about some issues in the drafting of the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act.

“There are various problems in regard to the current wording of the legislation” she said. “Unfortunately the compensation regime is still unclear and uncertain and it has not been changed in the government’s new proposed Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill 2014 which has just been presented to parliament.

The same problem is with the election notice provisions in the Act and so the conferencing process sometimes does not work in the manner it was probably supposed to.”

Melanie Oliver spoke about her experiences as a rural lawyer or a landowner lawyer about the effects of different types of wells she had seen in agreements and the different impacts on her clients. She gave examples from her experience in regard to Tight Gas Wells, Coal Seam Gas Wells and measuring or testing techniques that can have further impacts on clients.

“I was very pleased to have John Cotter speak to me after my paper about some case examples that I gave during my paper. He asked me to contact him in regard to suggestions about changes that could be made through his office and I was very happy that he was interested in some of the things that I had to say. I hope to get in contact with his office and help out where I can” Melanie said.

John Cotter spoke about his previous roles as Agforce President and where the relationship between company and landholder has come from and where he hoped the relationships could be made better.

“There was even a rural lawyer from Moree in NSW at the conference. She attended because she wanted to know how to advise her rural clients about the CSG industry. I hope that I was able to give her some valuable tips to take over the border.”

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