Broome-based conservation group Environs Kimberley is warning that a new oil and gas proposal in the region will lead to national protests if the McGowan Government doesn’t step in and rule it out.
A new plan by oil and gas company Buru Energy would see a floating gas refinery to process gas into LNG for export anchored off the Kimberley coast. This would process gas from a gasfield near the National Heritage-listed Martuwarra Fitzroy River; there would be pipelines running through the most intact tropical savannah in the world, as well as processing factories for oil condensate and LPG. The plans include options for an LNG refinery on land, a petrochemical factory, piping gas to the Pilbara and oil export through Broome.
“Oil and gas industrialisation in the Kimberley was rejected by the community ten years ago, when the Barnett Government attempted to force Woodside to process Browse Basin gas at a proposed LNG factory at James Price Point,” said Environs Kimberley’s Director of Strategy Martin Pritchard.
'No gas at JPP' protests in the sky. Photo: Damian Kelly
The campaign to protect James Price Point and the Dampier Peninsula from Woodside and its joint-venture partners’ oil and gas refineries went on for eight years, causing deep angst in the community. In the end, the companies walked away with their reputation in tatters, having spent over a $100 million on investigations, which included millions of taxpayer funds.
“We don’t want to see a repeat of the James Price Point protests, but that’s what we’re facing unless the McGowan Government steps in and rules out industrialisation of the Kimberley by the oil and gas companies,” Mr Pritchard said.
“Global institutions such as the International Energy Agency and the United Nations now recognise that we can’t have a safe climate if we keep opening up new fossil-fuel basins.
“These kinds of projects are a seriously high-risk investment proposition, given the international consensus on the need to significantly reduce carbon and methane emissions and get to net-zero by 2050. We will ensure that potential investors are aware of the reputational risk and costs of attempting to industrialise world-famous Kimberley landscapes,” said Mr Pritchard.
'No gas' banner and a double rainbow at Walmadany James Price Point. Photo: Damian Kelly