Exploring for CSG under subsidiary


LAKES Oil is misleading Victorians.

Under their 100 per cent owned subsidiary company, “Commonwealth Mining Pty Ltd.” Lakes Oil explores for Coal Seam Gas in the Wellington Shire.

These facts are very difficult to find online as, although mining companies have a legal obligation under the Community Engagement Plan to communicate clearly with locals, this obligation is left until later in the processes, after exploration and is not always readily available to all.

There is not enough transparency and I certainly question the lack of company web page.

The Commonwealth Mining exploration licence, EL 5394, for Toongabbie was amended in March 2012 after locals responded to a notification in the local paper with letters to the DPI.

The CSG exploration was removed and even though they said it was never their intention to explore for coal seam gas did they then amend their other license in the Stradbroke area, EL 5333: “expires 2016 (Wellington Shire) Coal (brown or black) and Coal Seam Gas on private and, road and road reserves.”

We mustn’t forget the other company Ignite Energy, working jointly with Esso also in the Gippsland Basin, who had their Exploration Licence 4416 for coal seam gas renewed in May 2013.

The water trigger laws under the EPA act only respond to coal seam gas and not tight or shale gas, but that is not to say it is less of a threat.

There was a big effort in senate this year pushing for all unconventional gas mining to be included in national regulation.

However, it was claimed that the scientific committee appointed to assess coal seam gas mining lacked expertise on other onshore gas exploration, so it was left to the states to regulate.

Hydrologist Dr Gavin Mudd disagreed with this lack of expertise and also said, “The basic mechanisms and the production process for shale gas is basically identical to coal seam gas” – sometimes posing a greater risk.

MP Tony Burke also indicated that delicate or important wetland areas could still be protected by EPBC assessment.


In the Gippsland Times September 13, after interviews with the Lakes Oil CEO, fracking was described as “pumping a fluid, mostly water and sand, under pressure into a coal seam or rock”.

I am glad that this was clarified with “mostly”, as according to the Energy Business Review, Lakes Oil uses chemicals even near precious wetlands and Seaspray.

“On August 21, 2009, a chemical treatment was pumped into the fractured section of Wombat 2 well. This treatment was designed to free the emulsion blockage that the company’s US-based advisor had perceived was holding back the unimpeded flow of gas into the well bore.”


It seems that the only thing that will end up protected in Victoria is the mining company’s chemical recipe for fracking; their “secret herbs and spices”.

There will be no appointed independent scientist to regulate or champion the cause of our water resources and environment because, along with methane leakage or lowering of water reserves, they just don’t know how or what to test for.