AGL Energy Limited (AGL) today announced that the Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water Population and Communities has approved Stage 1 of the Gloucester Gas Project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act).

The EPBC Act approval contains 36 conditions relating to protecting matters of national environmental significance, such as the Giant Barred Frog, Green and Golden Bell Frog and Small Flower Grevillea, as well as for the protection of groundwater. The EPBC Act approval is valid until 2062.

In February 2011, the Gloucester Gas Project received planning approval under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Mike Moraza, Group General Manager Upstream Gas, said that the Gloucester Gas Project will be an important development to secure critical new natural gas supplies for New South Wales homes and businesses.

"AGL will now work on satisfying the conditions of the EPBC Act approval and the New South Wales planning approval.

"Coal seam gas is one of the most stringently regulated industries in Australia. AGL will continue to use the best available science and technology to explore for and extract natural gas safely, and without harm to the surrounding environment."

In late 2012, AGL lodged the necessary petroleum production lease application under the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 for Stage 1 of the Gloucester Gas Project, as well as a pipeline licence application under the Pipelines Act 1967.

The Gloucester Gas Project has the potential to meet the annual gas needs of more than a million New South Wales homes. It is located approximately 100 kilometres north of Newcastle near Stratford.

The project is wholly owned and operated by AGL. Stage 1 will include up to 110 gas wells and associated infrastructure. The project currently provides 12 local jobs and will create significant local employment opportunities during construction and operation.

Visit the AGL Gloucester website to learn more.

About AGL

AGL is one of Australia's leading integrated renewable energy companies and is taking action toward creating a sustainable energy future for our investors, communities and customers. Drawing on 175 years of experience, AGL operates retail and merchant energy businesses, power generation assets and an upstream gas portfolio. AGL has one of Australia's largest retail energy and dual fuel customer bases. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including hydro, wind, landfill gas and biomass. AGL is Australia's largest private owner and operator of renewable energy assets and is looking to further expand this position by exploring a suite of low emission and renewable energy generation development opportunities.