Casino all fired up over gas

Eureka! Metgasco managing director David Johnson says the largest known gas reserves in NSW has been found in South Casino.

A flare burning in a paddock at South Casino is a beacon for the towns future: it could be the centre of a new gas industry serving the east coast from Newcastle to the Gold Coast.

Energy company Metgasco, which is now drilling in Casino, has been given independent confirmation its sitting on top of the largest known gas reserves in NSW.

Managing director David Johnson said the initial reserves had the potential to make a major contribution to local energy markets, being large enough to supply both gas and gas fired electricity to the rapidly growing population of northern NSW and south-east Queensland.

This region currently does not have access to reticulated gas and the electricity network is struggling to meet demand, he said. This area currently has no locally generated energy supply and is likely to benefit from the development of locally based gas fired electricity generation.

Metgasco is planning to build a 30 megawatt gas fired power station at Casino within 12 months.

Metgascos chief financial officer, Glenda McLoughlin, said the company has already put $9 million into the Casino project, with a significant amount of that spent locally.

We have four full-time staff in Casino and weve gone out of our way to deal with local businesses, she said. This is very exciting for the Northern Rivers region its good for business, industry and consumers, who will have access to gas at cheaper prices and a cleaner energy supply.

Richmond Valley mayor Charlie Cox said Metgascos announcement that Casino has a major gas reserve was encouraging news for the town and could generate new business.

There is no guarantee it will eventuate, but I hope it gets off the ground, he said. We see it as a benefit to the industries we already have in the town, and it could attract new industry.

Asked if Casino would be transformed from a beef capital to a gas capital, Cr Cox said the regions cattle already produced a lot of methane.

But Metgasco has found it in a harvestable form.

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