SOCIAL license to operate was again a theme of last week’s APPEA conference and this year the industry organisation seems to have moved a little further along the way, with a new marketing division and a CEO happy to engage with activists.
To that end new APPEA CEO Andrew McConville, who replaced Malcolm Roberts two months ago, told Energy News he is "absolutely happy to" meet with activists groups, including the anti-fraccing group and stalwart onshore industry critic the Lock the Gate Alliance, which sent a small coterie of protesters to the first day of the conference.
"Whether that's an olive branch or a handshake… but to sit down with these guys and have a conversation," he said.
"It's not just enough anymore for APPEA to be a policy organisation. We have to engage in the right way with the voices that might be different to ours."
Lock the Gate has driven strong opposition to Santos' Narrabri CSG project in New South Wales. Santos' managing director Kevin Gallagher used much of his address spruikng Narrabri to a packed room full of the sympathetic, suggesting again the proejct could supply 50% of the state's gas needs, with much of that going to manufacturers.
The organisation this morning accused Strike Energy of covertly planning to frac its West Erregulla-2 well in the Perth Basin, despite the company repeatedly reiterating it was after conventional gas, hoping to prove up the Waitsia trend discovered by AWE's huge 2017 Perth Basin find in its own acreage.
"If you take Lock the Gate, they obviously have concerns about land access," McConville told Energy News.
"We have a framework… we've recently agreed on some principles with the National Farmers Federation, which is supported by Agforce and New South Wales farmers and others."
"Is that something where we can sit down and say, well ok, how far apart are we? That would be a good example with an outcome that might be negotiated."
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Source: Energy News Bulletin