James Price Point
Nick Evans - The West Australian
Mining heavyweight Andrew Forrest has staked a claim in WA’s emerging onshore oil and gas industry, staking claims over more than 220,000 square kilometres of the Canning Basin in the Kimberley
While the applications are yet to be granted, Goshawk already controls a number of tenements in the Canning Basin, and was subject of criticism from environmental groups in 2013 when it won a licence allowing the company to explore a permit that included the Broome water supply reserve, and the site of bitter protests over the James Price Point development.
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.”
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Woodside has officially faced down Colin Barnett over his demand that the company build a supply base at James Price Point for the huge Browse gas field.
Documents Woodside released this week confirm the company will not build a new onshore supply base anywhere in the Kimberley and will instead rely on existing infrastructure
As if the Federal Treasurer did not have enough to worry about, with an economy stuck in the slow lane and ballooning government debt.
Now, one of Australia’s few economic bright spots – the liquefied natural gas (LNG) boom – is coming off the boil as well, thanks to the plunge in oil prices over the past year.
By some estimates, Australia is set to become the world’s largest gas exporter by 2018.
But the LNG price is linked to the oil price, and with benchmark Brent Crude halving since June, that will blow a sizeable hole in Australia’s expected LNG bounty.
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.
Big gas producers have more to worry about than the immediate problem of tumbling energy prices.
Mr Burns believes Woodside’s still unsanctioned $40 billion Browse LNG project off Western Australia is also at risk in the current environment, with its final investment decision already being pushed back into late 2015.
“On-shore, greenfield LNG projects are effectively dead, however there still is potential for floating LNG offshore which removes the exposure to high Australian costs,” he argued.
Environmental impact assessors are again at James Price Point on the Kimberley coast, as the State Government pushes ahead to get the site ready for use by industry.
The proposed gas hub, 60 kilometres north of Broome, saw mass protests from those opposed to its development.
The West Australian
Buru gets hands on gas with Yakka Munga deal
Oil and gas explorer Buru Energy has paid millions of dollars to secure a prized cattle station which covers 189,000ha in the heart of the Kimberley.
Buru trumped five other bidders to purchase Yakka Munga and in doing so strengthened its access to oil and gas in the shale-rich Canning Basin.
James Price Point in the Kimberley is the subject of an independent assessment of a gas hub application. Photograph: Cortlan Bennett/AAP
The WA government plans to retrospectively validate 25 contentious resource project approvals, a move the Australian Conservation Foundation says shows the proposal for “one-stop-shop” state environmental decisions is “deeply inadequate”.
The WA government is introducing legislation to provide reassurance to 25 huge resource projects which were approved by the state’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) between 2002 and 2012. EPA board members were subsequently found to have a conflict of interest, and in 2012 a supreme court ruling found that the environmental approval of a $40bn gas hub at James Price Point in the Kimberley was illegal.
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.