No industrial wasteland: Beach claim

BEACH Energy's chief operating officer Neil Gibbins has dismissed concerns the Penola area could turn into an industrial wasteland due to his company's dealings in the area.

Contrary to some claims made by anti-mining advocates that several thousand mines would crop up around the town if Beach progressed to production rather than exploration, Mr Gibbins said at a public information session in Penola his company was not about to do that.

"If you are hearing 4000 wells that simply is not correct," he said.

"We'll be looking at 10 wells per year, which could go up to 20 wells per year in the first few years."

But he said that was a long way off.

"We're only approved to drill two wells at this point in time," Mr Gibbins said.

The mining executive assured the community Beach Energy was taking the utmost care to look after the environment.

Environmental mon-itoring was being done at the Jolly-1 well south of Penola, with three monitoring bores.

Mr Gibbins said those practices would be used at their next site, north of Penola.

"We'll do the same at Bungaloo," he said.

It was reported there were some encouraging signs from the first well but it would take six months for the core samples to be tested and a decision made.

Mr Gibbins finished his address by outlining the importance of natural gas in the future - saying gas would continue to be an important part of the energy mix for years to come.

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