Metgasco workers watch yesterday as the drilling rig used to discover a major new gas field near the Casino Airport is dismantled before being moved to another site.
Metgasco workers watch yesterday as the drilling rig used to discover a major new gas field near the Casino Airport is dismantled before being moved to another site. Jacklyn Wagner

Gas-led boom for Northern NSW

ENOUGH methane gas to power 30,000 homes for at least 656 years has been discovered at Casino.

Metgasco, a North Sydney-based gas exploration and supply company, announced yesterday the Kingfisher E1 well near Casino Airport had struck multiple gas-bearing sands at intervals between 1058 and 2067 metres below the surface.

The discovery was better than the company had expected.

“Kingfisher is a major new gas discovery,” Metgasco managing director David Johnson said. “This is the first significant conventional gas discovery in over a century of exploration in the state of New South Wales.”

Earlier this month, shares in the company were trading at about 46 cents. Yesterday, shares opened at 54 cents and reached a high of 74 cents before closing at 67 cents.

NSW Government approval for a $42 million gas-fired power station, to be built by Metgasco in Casino, is expected to be announced soon.

It is thought the power station will take 18 months to build and will employ between 40 and 60 workers during the construction phase, with a smaller number of workers being employed in ongoing roles.

The company is also proposing to build a pipeline to pump gas north for use in industries in southern Queensland.

Richmond Valley mayor Col Sullivan said the gas finds news was exciting and positive. “It means the establishment of a gas industry in Casino,” he said.

This, along with a proposal to build a $10 million rail terminal, promising to reduce road freight by 150 trucks a day, would see Casino become a ‘green’ industrial hub, Cr Sullivan said.

Methane gas is considered to be more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels.

Cr Sullivan said new industries had already expressed interest in relocating to Casino because of the option of cheaper and greener gas-fired power.

He said there were rumours of a proposal to build a gas-fired power plant three times the size of the one currently proposed, at McKees Hill, between Lismore and Casino.


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