Dart Energy slashes costs amid CSG [CBM] changes

Dart Energy slashes costs amid CSG [CBM] changes by Kim Christian, April 02, 2013, The Australian
DART Energy shares have tumbled to record lows as the company cuts costs and slashes jobs in response to government crackdowns on coal seam gas projects. Dart will close offices and axe 70 per cent of its workforce, taking the number of employees to 50, as it aims to slice costs by nearly two thirds. It is also suspending field operations at Fullerton Cove, near Newcastle in NSW, and switching focus to developing CSG projects in Britain and China. The moves come after the NSW government announced tough new coal seam gas regulations, including a ban on CSG drilling near homes. The federal government also plans new environmental laws covering coal and CSG projects amid public concerns about their impact on water resources. Dart’s shares tumbled by more than a third after it revealed its restructure plans on Tuesday. Chairman Nick Davies said he was disappointed with the uncertainty created by government decisions. “The consequence is that investment is leaving the country, field operations are being suspended, Australian jobs are being lost, and the impending energy crisis in NSW is not being addressed, and indeed, will only get worse,” he said. He said this was in direct contrast to Britain’s approach to CSG projects. Dart’s decision to suspend operations at Fullerton was made despite the recent lifting of a court injunction on the company sinking exploratory wells there. Anti-CSG group Lock The Gate Alliance welcomed the suspension, saying it would protect local drinking water supplies. “The people of Fullerton Cove have fought bravely to defend their community from a global gas company, and for now at least, they have won,” said alliance coordinator Steve Phillips. Meanwhile, Dart has cancelled plans to float its international arm. And in a management shakeup, Dart will have just one chief executive heading the entire company instead of separate bosses for its international and Australian arms. The head of Dart’s international operations, UK-based John McGoldrick, will become the company’s new chief executive. [Emphasis added]

Controversial gas developer Dart Energy fights to stay afloat by Friends of the Earth, April 2, 2013
Friends of the Earth Scotland Campaigns Co-ordinator Mary Church said: “Dart Energy have been in rough waters for some time and this looks like the last desperate moves of a company that is about to go under. It is ironic that the company are telling Australian shareholders that their fracking and coalbed methane plans in the UK will save them, given that their proposals at Airth are deeply controversial and the planning decision has already been delayed twice. Communities living near Dart’s development at Airth will wonder whether this company is really up to the job of delivering the controversial coalbed methane project, and particularly whether they will be around in the coming years to deal with the clean up if anything goes wrong.” The news comes following allegations that Dart are misleading the public or shareholders about its plans to frack for shale gas in central Scotland. Dart Energy told the Australian Stock Exchange that they plan to exploit shale gas in central Scotland while telling communities and planning officials in Scotland that they have no plans to frack. Church continued: “Yet again Dart are telling international investors that they will frack for shale gas, while telling Scottish communities that they will not. Dart cannot get away with this kind of duplicity.” Dart Energy has had to suspend its activities at Fullerton Cove in Australia following the New South Wales Government introducing a ban on all unconventional gas activity within 2km of residential areas. The development faced strong community opposition and was recently the subject of a legal battle. If a similar ban were in place in Scotland Dart’s development at Airth could not go ahead. Friends of the Earth Scotland are calling for a ban on all unconventional gas extraction and fracking because of its devastating impacts on the climate and local environment. [Emphasis added

[Refer also to:

New South Wales sets up coal seam gas exclusion zones

The People vs Coal Seam Gas [CBM]: the birth of Coal Seam [Coalbed] Gas Free Communities

Metgasco closes Northern Rivers CSG [CBM] wells, Farmers and The County Women’s Association protest CBM

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