The Australian Securities Exchange has halted trading on troubled unconventional gas company, Dart Energy. The announcement comes shortly after HSBC froze the substantial loan facility which Dart enjoyed, citing delays with their coalbed methane project at Airth near Falkirk.
The company has experienced plummeting share price recently following the decision of the government in New South Wales, Australia (where the company holds significant interests) to ban all coalbed methane activity within 2km of residential areas. In April of this year Dart suspended it’s operations in New South Wales and slashed it’s workforce there by 70%.
Their flagship project at Airth faces strong community opposition and has been beset by
delays. The company has appealed their application for 22 new wells, a gas and water treatment facility and a network of new pipelines, to the Scottish Government on the grounds of non-determination. A public enquiry is expected to begin in the second half of October.
Commenting on the news of the halt in trading, Friends of the Earth Scotland Campaigns Co-ordinator Mary Church said:
“This latest blow to Dart Energy’s coalbed methaneplans at Airth shows a company on the brink of collapse.
“With shares suspended at 10 Australian cents, investors are right to be wary. Dart was kicked out of Australia this year, and opposition to its unconventional gas developments in Scotland is mounting daily with its flagship Airth project stuck in a public inquiry process.
“Dart should give up now before it wastes any more of its investors money. Unconventional gas is not wanted and not needed here in Scotland, or anywhere.”
Friends of the Earth Scotland are calling for a ban on all unconventional gas extraction because of the climate and local environmental and health risks associated with the industry but the UK Government is keen to encourage unconventional gas exploration. Late last year Chancellor George Osbourne announced the creation of a single office for unconventional gas and tax breaks to encourage shale gas extraction.