EK Media Release
Conservation group Environs Kimberley is calling for newly issued fracking leases in sensitive areas of the region to be withdrawn. One lease covers two national parks – Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek – and two conservation parks – Devonian Reef and Brooking Gorge. Another lease covers the Margaret River that flows into the Fitzroy.
“These parks are world famous for their incredible beauty, and environmental, historical and cultural importance. We can’t believe the Department of Mines and Petroleum have put leases for fracking anywhere near places like this,” said Environs Kimberley Director Martin Pritchard.
“We’re calling on the Minister for Mines Sean L’Estrange to withdraw these leases before companies waste time on putting in bids. There is no doubt that any attempt to frack in these areas will be met with widespread opposition,” Mr Pritchard said.
“We’re also calling on the Department of Mines and Petroleum to hold open public meetings in Broome and Fitzroy Crossing so that communities have an opportunity to ask questions about what’s being proposed for their country. The DMP’s current weeklong visit is invitation only and not advertised so the general public can’t go along.”
Director, Environs Kimberley
0427 548 075
Media release DMP
Kimberley stakeholder engagement over latest petroleum acreage release
Six onshore areas within Canning Basin released for bidding
Date: Monday, 07 November 2016
Senior staff from the Department of Mines and Petroleum’s (DMP) Petroleum and Environment Divisions are travelling the Kimberley this week to conduct stakeholder and community information sessions about the latest petroleum acreage releases in the Canning Basin.
Six of the blocks released are located in the Canning Basin ranging in size from 1,770 square kilometres to more than 8,000 square kilometres.
Executive Director of Petroleum Jeff Haworth said that the meetings and information sessions were an opportunity for Kimberley community leaders, government organisations, and business and Indigenous groups to discuss onshore petroleum exploration and development with department experts.
“DMP assesses and regulates onshore petroleum activities throughout the State, ensuring that operators apply world’s best safety, health and environmental practices,” Mr Haworth said.
“We are also committed to effective stakeholder engagement to ensure that the communities which host resource industries and the wider WA community are informed about resource activities locally and throughout the State.
“These stakeholder engagement sessions will also provide an opportunity for the department to learn more about the community and the questions that people have in regard to onshore petroleum exploration.”
During the weeklong visit DMP staff will meet with Indigenous groups, State Government department heads, Chambers of Commerce, pastoralist groups, and shire representatives to discuss various petroleum topics including the processes involved in the latest petroleum acreage release and the state of the industry.
Mr Haworth said title would not be granted until a preferred bidder is selected and they successfully complete native title negotiations.
Mr Haworth said further exploration of these recently gazetted acreage release areas would provide valuable geoscientific information and knowledge for the State.
“The geoscientific data that is collected through exploration is important. It helps provide insights into the petroleum prospectivity and potential resources of the State,” he said.
Petroleum discoveries made from such exploration activities, have the potential to enhance the State’s future energy security.
As part of the approvals process, petroleum operators are required to submit detailed environmental plans.
“Petroleum operators are also required to undertake open and ongoing community engagement activities throughout the life of the project,” Mr Haworth said.
Fears for Kimberley Coast after Oil Ship Grounding
The grounding of an oil field supply ship in the early hours of the morning at Roebuck Bay in the Kimberley has sparked new fears about the risks that oil and gas drilling could pose to the Kimberley Coast, the world’s last pristine tropical coastline.
“Today’s events are a reminder that no matter how good regulation is, people still make mistakes,” said Martin Pritchard, Director of Broome based conservation group Environs Kimberley, “In the oil and gas industry, those mistakes can mean deadly oil spills with untold damage to the environment, fisheries and communities.”
“The Kimberley Coast is pristine, and it is also a dangerous area for navigation with some of the world’s biggest and strongest tides. There is a very real risk of damage if the number of supply vessels and rigs operating near the coast is increased.”
“The Kimberley Coast is the last great pristine tropical coastline left on the planet, we can’t afford to put it at risk.”
Environs Kimberley are working with an alliance of conservation groups to secure protection for the Kimberley in a Great Kimberley Marine Park that includes a network of marine sanctuary zones.
“It is vital that the Government urgently implement proposed marine parks along the coast and ensure a world class network of marine sanctuaries to protect the Kimberley Coast.”
Plans for marine sanctuaries in the Kimberley’s state waters are progressing but as yet no protection is in place on the Kimberley Coast. Plans for marine sanctuaries in the adjacent offshore waters controlled by the Commonwealth Government have been stalled by a Federal Government review.
“The Great Barrier Reef is protected from oil and gas development and has a world class network of marine sanctuaries, the Kimberley Coast is equally as special and deserves the same protection,” said Mr Pritchard.
The worst oil and gas accident near the Kimberley Coast was the 2009 Montara Oil spill that poured oil into the ocean for 74 days before the leak was controlled. Smaller spills, or the grounding of supply vessels that also lead to damage to reefs or pollution incidents if fuel tanks or cargo are damaged, are also a risk.
Martin Pritchard 0427 548 075
Director, Environs Kimberley
Photo credit: Damian Kelly Photography
In 1996, sparked by the threat of dams to the Fitzroy River and irrigated agriculture in the west Kimberley, three people gathered around a kitchen table in Broome and launched the region’s peak conservation group, Environs Kimberley.
Traditional Owner concerns about the future health of the River and the savannah all the way to Bidyadanga, led to the formation of a coalition that eventually put a stop to the dams and the piping of water to Perth.
Environs Kimberley, or EK, is now celebrating 20 years of work protecting the natural assets of the region.
Environs Kimberley Director, Martin Pritchard, said, “It just goes to show what a small, passionate group of people can do when they put their minds to something.”
Premier Barnett has warned Broome that a crocodile attack on Cable Beach could do “immense damage” to the town’s tourism industry.
West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has singled out crocodiles and environmental protestors as threats to Broome’s future prosperity while attending the Kimberley Economic Forum.
An investigation has been launched into how a valve at a fracking gas well in Western Australia’s north came to be damaged after activists claimed dangerous levels of gas were leaking at the site.
The ABC has obtained a video of a hand-held gas metre reading at the Yullerroo 2 site, about 70km east of Broome, showing what activists said was likely to be high levels of methane.
Aboriginal rangers have found several healthy populations of a rare bird species on the Dampier Peninsula north of Broome.
Conservation groups WWF and Environs Kimberley have been working with the Bardi Jawi rangers to document sightings of the finches in the One Arm Point area.
Analyst says Kimberley gas fracking company suffering at the hands of traditional owners and environmentalists
Buru Energy’s Yulleroo 4 well site where the company plans to frack for shale gas in 2015. (file) (Ben Collins -ABC Local)
Buru Energy has sacked 30 per cent of its workforce and delayed its fracking program as the company’s share price sinks to less than one-fifth of its all time high.
Industry analyst Peter Strachan says the trouble comes largely from problems with traditional owners and environmentalists.
“Uncertainty surrounding traditional owner approvals is the main drag. The company has said that it will do nothing without community support,” he says.
A group of Kimberley traditional owners has agreed to allow oil and gas company Buru Energy to start fracking on its land.
The decision is in stark contrast to the 1970s where a clash between the Noonkanbah community and a different oil company led to riots and strikes.
Buru Energy wants to use hydraulic fracturing to test for tight gas flows in four wells, in the Kimberley’s Canning Basin, east of Broome.
The West Australian government has decided to allow Buru Energy to frack for gas in the Kimberley region without an Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) assessment.
The junior explorer plans to test tight gas flows using hydraulic fracturing stimulation at four existing wells along its Laurel Formation prospect in the second half of 2014.
The West Australian
PHOEBE WEARNE, PETER KLINGER AND SHANNON HAMPTON
Premier Colin Barnett warned the Woodside Petroleum-led Browse consortium yesterday that he would use his increased bargaining power to force them to supply WA with domestic gas as well as help fund a supply base at James Price Point.