AGL announced on 4 February 2016 that following a review, it has taken a strategic decision that exploration and development of upstream gas assets will no longer be a core business for the company due to the volatility of commodity prices and long development lead times.
AGL has implemented an extensive decommissioning and rehabilitation program for its well sites and other infrastructure in the Gloucester region. AGL are also progressively decommissioning wells and rehabilitating sites at the Camden Gas Project prior to ceasing production in 2023.
When a coal seam gas well is no longer required, it must be decommissioned and the site fully rehabilitated.
Well decommissioning is undertaken to standards set in the NSW Government’s Code of Practice for Coal Seam Gas (Well Integrity) which has been established “to ensure that well operations are carried out safely, without risk to health and without detriment to the environment”.
The code of practice requires that coal seam gas well decommissioning ensures “the environmentally sound and safe isolation of the well, protection of groundwater resources, isolation of the productive formations from other formations, and the proper removal of surface equipment".
The code of practice requires that:
In rehabilitating its well sites, AGL will ensure:
A purpose-designed cement slurry is placed to full depth in stages and allowed to set, filling length of entire well.
The first 200m-long cement plug is injected and allowed to set for at least six hours. It is then pressure-tested before adding the next cement plug. Cement then placed in additional stages to full depth and allowed to set.
Well casing cut to at least 1.5m below ground level.
Information plate welded to well casing, sealing it. This data, including coordinates, is sent to relevant government agencies.
Site rehabilitated to the satisfaction of the landholder and in accordance with licence conditions.
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