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Environment

Environment Reports

AGL engaged AECOM Australia Pty Limited (AECOM), a leading environmental services company, to undertake a range of environmental studies to assess the potential environmental impacts of the proposed Northern Expansion of the Camden Gas Project.

View all Camden Gas Project environment documents

Spring Farm 05: Pressure Safety Valve Incident Report - September 2014

On 31 August 2014, at approximately 7.05pm a pressure safety valve on the gas/water separator at SF05 activated and natural gas was released to the atmosphere from the pressure safety valve vent line.

The coal seam gas wells within the Camden Gas Project had been shut off (that is, not producing natural gas), to allow the Rosalind Park Gas Plant to undergo maintenance on Friday August 29. Over the weekend the coal seam gas wells were brought back online which allowed the gas to flow again. Pressure at the Spring Farm well built up and the pressure safety valve activated , as it was designed to, as a precautionary measure to relieve the pressure. As pressure was released, this created a loud hissing noise and released a quantity of natural gas into the air.

Fire and Rescue NSW, Jemena and AGL attended the site and fire crews’ inspections showed no detectable gas levels on monitoring equipment, or any need to evacuate residents.

AGL has cooperated with NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), the Department of Planning & Environment and the Office of Coal Seam Gas in relation to this event. AGL was requested by the EPA to provide investigation report and this has been completed.

A briefing was provided to the Camden Community Consultative Committee on 24 September to provide information on this incident to the community.

For more information please view the Spring Farm 05: Pressure Safety Valve Incident Report.

Update: 1 December 2014

The following actions have been completed and have been shared with the EPA:

  • Installation of new alarms in the Rosalind Park Gas Plant control room to provide an early warning of high pressure events at well sites;
  • Revision and implementation of an updated pre-start checklist procedure for production wells;
  • Review and update of the Rosalind Park Gas Plant standard operating procedures and maintenance plans.
Update: 6 March 2015

The EPA has concluded its investigation of the 31 August 2014 event at Spring Farm and issued AGL with a penalty infringement notice in the amount of $15,000 for a breach of a licence condition which requires all plant and equipment be maintained in a proper and efficient condition.

AGL accepts the results of the investigation and has taken corrective actions to prevent similar occurrences, including the installation of new alarms and the review, update and implementation of operating procedures and maintenance plans. AGL also notes that the incident itself did not cause any harm to human health or the environment.

AGL Fugitive Methane Emissions Monitoring Program

The 12 week fugitive methane emissions monitoring program measured the methane concentration typically experienced within and around the Camden Gas Project. In consultation with the community, 20 sites within the Camden Gas Project and five background locations were selected.  

Over the 12 week monitoring program the average methane concentration was 2.1 parts per million (ppm). This value is just above the global average of 1.8 ppm and in line with methane concentrations measured in urban areas, commonly ranging between 1.8 ppm and 3.0 ppm.

AGL Fugitive Methane Emissions Monitoring Program - Community report

AGL Fugitive Methane Emissions Monitoring Program -  Fact sheet

AGL Fugitive Methane Emissions Monitoring Program - Technical report (PDF 14.4 MB)

Appendix A (PDF 5.5 MB)

Appendix B (PDF 11.2 MB)

Appendix C (PDF 9.1 MB)

Appendix D (PDF 348 KB)

 

AGL Environmental Manager, Aaron Clifton, and Pacific Environment Senior Scientist, Justine Firth talk about AGL's Fugitive Methane Emissions Monitoring Program.

Environmental Health Impact Assessment

In early 2013, NSW Health and the local community told us that more information about the proposed Camden North Expansion Project was needed. After talking with the Macarthur community and NSW Health, AGL commissioned a comprehensive study to look into every aspect of the Camden North Expansion Project and its potential effect on human health. The resulting report, by environmental consultants Environmental Risk Sciences (EnRiskS), is known as the Environmental Health Impact Assessment (EHIA).

The report covers groundwater, surface water, air quality, noise, vibration, hazards and subsidence impacts during the construction and production of the Camden North Expansion Project.

The EHIA concluded that the risks posed to health of the community and to ground water, surface water and air was found to be low and acceptable provided best practice, current policies and Codes of Practice are met.

Environmental Health Impact Assessment Report (PDF 5MB)

Appendix A Analytical Reports – Coal Seam Gas (PDF 1.1MB)

Appendix B Noise Contour Plots – Operational and Drilling Activities (provided by SLR) (PDF 48MB)

Appendix C Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment – Hydraulic Fracturing Activities (PDF 2.5MB)

Appendix D Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment – Drilling Chemicals (PDF 10MB)

Appendix E Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment – Workover Activities (PDF 5MB)

Subsidence

As part of the Stage 2 expansion proposal, AGL commissioned Mine Subsidence Engineering Consultants Pty Ltd (MSEC), to investigate the potential for the proposed coal seam gas extraction to result in surface subsidence.

The AGL Camden Subsidence Report concluded that "the proposed extraction of coal seam methane at Camden will not create large voids in the strata, nor leave remnant pillars. The strata within the coal measures are not unconsolidated and in fact are hard and well consolidated rocks. The conditions for significant subsidence to occur are not therefore present and it is concluded that the potential for subsidence to occur as the gas is extracted is almost negligible."

How we operate

  • Establishment: A compound area is constructed to enable works to take place in a safe, controlled way. Once completed, the area is rehabilitated and reduced to the production footprint.
  • Drilling: Wells are drilled to approximately eight inches in diameter - about the size of a dinner plate – and to a depth between 300 – 900 metres. Wells are encased in steel and cement to protect the surrounding geology and water resources.
  • Production: When producing gas, our well surface locations are typically around six by four metres, or roughly the size of a four wheel drive. They will be designed and landscaped to fit in with the surrounding community and environment and will be as unobtrusive as possible.
  • Maintenance: Inspections are routinely undertaken, but major maintenance is usually needed less than once a year.
  • Rehabilitation: When the gas has been drained the equipment is removed and the site rehabilitated.

What is an Environmental Assessment?

An Environmental Assessment is a formal submission to the Department of Planning. It is the Government's way of assessing the project to ensure it meets strict NSW Government standards and that it will not have significant environmental impacts.

An Environmental Assessment is made up of:

  • A formal description of the project.
  • An assessment of the likely effects of the project on the physical, social and economic environment.
  • Identification of measures to be implemented to mitigate impacts.
  • An evaluation of alternatives and justification for the project.
  • An assessment of the cumulative impacts of the project.
  • Specialist studies have been undertaken to address a range of environmental issues associated with the proposed works, including an assessment of noise, hazard and risk.

View AGL's Environmental Assessment files in the document library.

Environment Protection Licence

AGL’s Environment Protection Licence, Incident Notification Protocol and Community Notification Protocol are located in the document library.

AGL has completed a comprehensive review of its Environmental Management System (EMS) for the Camden Gas Project to streamline and simplify the environmental management measures across the Project.

The EMS is a series of documents designed to provide an environmental management framework for the Camden Gas Project. It begins with the Environmental Management Plan which describes the EMS, setting out what we are required to do, how we will do it and the monitoring we use to ensure compliance and improve our operations

View AGL’s environmental approval, licences and documents in the document library.

Compressor Re-start Program November 2014

Following a $1.8 million upgrade of the Camden Gas Project Compressor #1, AGL Upstream Investments Pty Ltd (AGL) will be bringing the equipment back online at the Rosalind Park Gas Plant (RPGP) in late November 2014.

The Start-up period will involve Stage 1 commissioning and Stage 2 mechanical conditioning.

During the Start-up period, it is expected that there will be short periods when the Compressor #1 Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions will be above current licence concentration limits. AGL has calculated that total NOx emissions will remain below the annual load limit, maintaining a low risk to human health and the environment based on Review of the Camden Gas Continuous Emissions Monitoring System (PAEHolmes, 2012). 

The NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has granted AGL a short term licence variation for the Start-up period. 

At the completion of the Start-up period, AGL will resume normal operation of Compressor 1.

EPA Compliance Audit Report

In July 2013 the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) conducted a unannounced compliance audit of AGL’s Camden Gas Project Environment Protection License 12003.

On 17 June 2014 the EPA released the final compliance audit report, and is available on the EPA’s website.

The audit report dated June 2014 identified minor exceedances of the nitrogen oxide (NOx) licence limit at an exhaust stack which AGL had announced publicly at the time and have already been dealt with under an enforceable undertaking signed by the EPA on 8 August 2013.

The majority of the non-compliances in the audit report related to administrative matters while two others related to potential issues associated with the storage of oily water and spill containment measures in a flare pit.

View AGL’s corrective action program.

Environmental reporting

Continuous monitoring of nitrogen oxcides, temperature, flow rate, moisture and oxygen is a requirement of AGL's Environmental Protection Licence and planning consent.

Our Rosalind Park Gas Plant Annual Environmental Performance Reports for the years ending 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 state that continuous monitoring of NOx, temperature, flow rate, moisture and oxygen was successfully undertaken in those years. In all four reports, this statement is erroneous. While monitoring was carried out during this time, that monitoring was not "continuous" due to equipment limitations and breakdowns experienced during these years. AGL is working with the EPA to rectify this non-compliance.

The EP Licence Annual Returns for the years 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 should also have identified this non-compliance.

As also stated in these reports, monitoring of NOx, temperature, flow rate, moisture and oxygen was undertaken quarterly. The full results of the quarterly monitoring are available in Appendices of each of years’ Annual Environmental Performance Report for the year covered. Quarterly monitoring has demonstrated the Gas Plant's compliance with the annual load allowance and discharge limit for NOx.

Annual Environmental Performance Reports (AEPRs) and Independent Audits are part of the NSW Government's requirements under the various approvals, leases and licences for the Camden Gas Project. Copies of the AEPRs and Independent Audits are available for download in the Camden document library. Please note that these reports are provided for information purposes only.

Independent Environmental Audit 2012-2014

As required by AGL’s development conditions, an independent environmental audit was conducted for the Camden Gas Project for the period commencing 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2014.

The audit assessed the environmental performance of the Project against six Development Consents, and its effects on the surrounding environment. It found no incidents during the audit period were considered to have, or likely to have, resulted in actual or potential environmental harm.

The Report stated that ‘AGL has demonstrated substantial compliance with the relevant standards, performance measures and statutory requirements that apply to the development.’

AGL has responded to the Audit’s Recommendations in the Corrective Actions Register.

The Report and AGL’s Corrective Actions Register can be accessed below:

Air emissions testing

Quarterly and monthly air monitoring data can be viewed on the Monitoring Data page, and are also filed in the document library.

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