Metgasco receives the all-clear from ICAC

Metgasco has been cleared by the Independent Commission Against Corruption which advised it will not be proceeding with an inquiry into the company.

Metgasco welcomed the news from ICAC saying the public referral of the gas company to the commission had caused major reputational damage.

NSW Resources and Energy Minister Anthony Roberts revealed he had referred Metgasco’s PEL 16 exploration licence to ICAC on the same day he suspended the drilling licence just days before the program was set to commence near Lismore.

Roberts said he referred some aspects of Metgasco’s licence to the ICAC “following receipt of information concerning shareholdings and interests” in the company.

The referral is said to be based on a link between the current ICAC investigation which centres around political slush funds and allegedly corrupt business deals.

“We were shocked and extremely disappointed that the Minister chose to publicly name Metgasco. We are pleased to clear the company’s name so quickly,” Gill said.

Permission for the company to drill its Rosella-E-01 exploration well remains suspended.

Metgasco said the decision by the Office of Coal Seam Gas to suspend the licence “without notice or justification” represents an “extraordinary breach of process”.

In a letter to shareholders, Gill said the suspension came as a complete surprise to the company, who had mobilised equipment and workers, with plans to start drilling the Rosella exploration site just days after the decision was handed down.

He said the suspension would result in a direct loss of $3 million.

Shares in Metgasco have almost halved since the suspension and Gill warned investors risked losses of around $18 million.

In announcing the suspension Roberts said Metgasco would need to prove it has undertaken "genuine and effective consultation" with the community.

Metgasco said it provided this information to the Office of Coal Seam Gas and the submission is still being evaluated.

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