$25m buy back deal for petroleum exploration licences

THREE Northern Rivers petroleum exploration licences, including PEL 426 that covers much of the Clarence Valley, are on the table to be bought back from Metgasco by the NSW Government.

The offer proposes a settlement/buy-back sum of $25 million and comes after discussions that have been ongoing since July this year.

The deal needs to be approved by Metgasco shareholders, who will vote in December.

The news was met with joy by Lynette Eggins, a member of the Knitting Nannas, who have spent many hours protesting outside the office of Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis.

"It's great news, but let's hope Metgasco are honest and encourage their shareholders to accept the offer," she said.

"This is a big win for people power.

"I always hoped this would happen, but in my heart of hearts I was never sure it would."

Despite the news, the Nanna will not be putting their knitting needles away just yet.

"We will continue knitting until we are sure they are gone," Ms Eggins said.

"We are concerned the government still has a gas plan and is not paying enough attention to renewable resources.

"We will be knitting in semi-celebration outside Chris Gulaptis's office again tomorrow, hoping it will be one of our last gatherings on this issue."

Mr Gulaptis said the NSW Nationals were achieving for the North Coast through the successful PEL buy-back process, which had reduced Labor-issued PELs in the Northern Rivers from seven to Metgasco's remaining three.

"Once again the NSW Nationals team as part of this Government is showing they are serious about delivering a gas field free Northern Rivers," he said.

"I urge the PEL shareholders to accept this offer from the NSW Government, which recognises both the investment that Metgasco has made while also the community's concerns about the industry."

Metgasco's chairman, Len Gill, said agreeing to the buy-back had been a difficult decision for the board.

"The company has invested heavily in the Clarence Moreton Basin for over 10 years and has had significant success in demonstrating large gas resources," he said.

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