The NSW Supreme Court has overturned a state government decision to stop energy company Metgasco drilling for coal seam gas at Bentley on the state’s north coast.
The case centers around a state government move in May 2014 to suspend, at the last moment before exploration work began, the company’s drilling licence.
The decision has widespread implications for other decisions by the NSW Government which has been under pressure by rural lobby groups to stop coal seam gas.
“Metgasco was within days of having the drilling rig and other services mobilised to site,” the company said in a statement. “It was forced to cancel drilling contracts, incurring considerable expenses in doing so, and Metgasco’s share price fell by 40%.”
Justice Richard Button ruled the NSW Office of Coal Seam Gas order to suspend drilling was unlawful.
The decision opens the way for a compensation claim. The company says it is reviewing the Supreme Court’s decision in detail before providing shareholders and the public with a detailed response.
Metgasco has been exploring for gas in the Clarence Moreton Basin for ten years, investing about $120 million.
Its shares are trading 40% higher at $0.08.