The 12 month suspension of PELAs also includes Petroleum Special Prospecting Authority applications (PSPAs). The move follows on from an earlier 6 month freeze announced on 26 March 2014.
Both PELAs and PSPAs will not be processed until 26 September 2015. Petroleum Assessment Leases will be available to companies with existing PELs or those who applied before the freeze.
Minister for Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts said the extended timeframe will allow the Office of Coal Seam Gas (OCSG) to properly examine current PELAs and assess the application process for petroleum titles.
Minister Roberts also highlighted comprehensive regulations the NSW Government have put in place to “ensure that gas extraction from coal seams is done in a way that is safe and has minimal impacts on the environment and other industries”.
Since March 2014, The NSW Government has refused 10 PELAs across the State. In most cases, companies have been required to give further information around environment, exploration and production reporting, community consultation and work programs.
“The NSW Government is committed to increasing our domestic supply of gas and is working to ensure only safe and sustainable gas supply projects proceed,” Minister Roberts said.