Some coal seam gas companies have been seeking short cuts around the correct process required when negotiating with landholders over access rights to their properties, says leading legal firm Creevey Russell Lawyers.
Creevey Russell Partner Damian Bell said mining and petroleum companies in Queensland looking to enter property are required to negotiate Conduct and Compensation Agreements (CCA) with all registered owners and occupiers.
Mr Bell said the first formal stage of the CCA process requires the resource company or ‘Authority Holder’ to provide landholders with a Notice of Intention to Negotiate (NIN).
“This NIN stipulates a minimum negotiation period of 20 business days during which the Authority Holder is not allowed to access the land to carry out ‘advanced activities’,” he said.
“However, we have seen a growing tenancy for the CSG companies to skip the NIN and begin talking directly to issues such as access and compensation. This is a typical tactic to try and cut short the process and attempt to lock up the deal before the landholder is properly advised on both these key points.
“Once the NIN has been provided, and in some cases before, a landholder will be given a draft CCA. The landholder is then able to negotiate the technical terms and conditions of the agreement that will reflect the unique requirements of their property.”
Mr Bell said if negotiations on the CCA are unsuccessful, the parties can engage in alternative dispute resolution or a mediation conference coordinated by an appropriately qualified, independent person.
“If negotiations remain unsuccessful, the parties may seek a determination from the Land Court as to the terms of the CCA,” he said.
“If you have been approached by an Authority Holder and want assistance in negotiating the terms of a CCA, or need assistance with the activities of an Authority Holder, contact Creevey Russell Lawyers Resource Team on 07 4617 8777.
“With more than 40 years of combined rural and resources experience we are ideally qualified to help right across Queensland and NSW with respect to CSG negotiations.”
About Creevey Russell Lawyers
Creevey Russell Lawyers is a full service law firm which operates primarily from our Brisbane practice, with the capacity to provide superior legal services to western Queensland through our Toowoomba practice. Creevey Russell Lawyers deliver results to a variety of clients including developers, corporations, accountants, liquidators and private clientele