Gas firm won't frack one WA site
Conservationists are celebrating an oil and gas company’s decision not to hydraulically frack a well in Western Australia's Mid West.
Gas firm AWE has exploring the possibilities of the Drover-1 well, south-east of Greenhead, as a potential CSG extraction site.
The well is near the Mt Lesueur National Park, the Mount Peron aquifer and bore field.
In an announcement to the stock exchange, AWE said its analysis of tests and core samples led it to abandon fracking plans.
AWE says the data provided “sufficient information for AWE's assessment of the shale gas potential in the southern extent of the Perth Basin acreage... [and that] no further work is required at this location”.
AWE said its decision was based on commercial considerations, not the strong public pressure imposed by angry locals.
The Conservation Council of WA's director Piers Verstegen said local communities could now breathe a “sigh of relief”.
“It means there's not going to be a fracking well in their town water supply,” he said.
“This is good news for the community, good news for the groundwater and a huge relief for the landholder where the Drover well has been drilled.
“There's very strong community opposition to gas fracking in these areas and if that is your plan, be prepared for a long hard uphill battle.
“We'll now be calling on the State Government to remove the gas fracking exploration permit from this region, following the community's calls for the area and the groundwater to be protected from this industry.”
WA Mines Minister Bill Marmion said the exploration permit would stay, especially while companies like AWE act responsibly.
“The proponent in this case, not only fulfilled their regulatory requirements, but also established a community reference group to engage with the local community,” he said in a statement.
“They should be praised.
“Western Australia has a robust regulatory framework incorporating a coordinated, multi-agency approvals process which provides significant protection to WA's environment.
“The State Government is confident it can safely regulate the shale and tight gas industry as it has done for the petroleum industry for the past 40 years.
“The process is not new or unique and has been regulated in the state for quite some time, and since 1958 Western Australia has had more than 600 wells fracture stimulated.”