Coal seam gas

A moratorium on CSG exploration and hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking") has been in place in Victoria since August 2012. A parliamentary inquiry into onshore unconventional gas was held in 2015, with a government decision on recommendations to follow in 2016.

There is no current commercial CSG production in the Gippsland Basin bioregion. For a development to be considered current in the Bioregional Assessment Programme, commercial production needs to have been commenced prior to December 2012.

In a concurrent activity to the Gippsland Basin Bioregional Assessment the Victorian Government has undertaken a series of Water Science Studies (Victoria State Government, 2015), including an assessment of potential impacts on water resources in the Gippsland region. The water science studies are to provide an initial screening analysis of the potential impacts of possible onshore gas development on water users and ecosystems. Although under the Bioregional Assessment Programme the potential for development of CSG within the Gippsland Basin bioregion is considered low, the Victorian water science studies have undertaken a conservative assessment of the potential impacts of aquifer depressurisation.

In the Victorian Government Water Science Study, the hypothetical brown coal CSG and tight gas/shale gas Gippsland Basin development scenarios applied a causal pathway approach, describing where natural gas might be, where water resources are, the physical connection between the gas and water resources, and utilising modelling and analysis to infer impacts on water users and ecosystems. The modelling of CSG development (brown coal) in Gippsland suggests the potential impact of depressurisation on groundwater resources (particularly shallow resources) in the immediate vicinity of the gas development area was moderate to high for groundwater users (i.e. by more than 15 m) and inferred as moderate for groundwater quality. Potential impacts to surface water users and ecosystems are reported as being high in areas close to the hypothetical gas development and low elsewhere. For further information on the Gippsland Water Science Study refer to Victoria State Government (2015).

Last updated:
6 October 2016
Thumbnail of the Gippsland bioregion

Product Finalisation date

22 June 2016