Sunday, October 20, 2013

Tourism mecca's water supply on fracking alert

Tourism mecca's water supply on fracking alert

Fresh from fighting off Australia's biggest gas hub, the people of tourism mecca Broome now face another challenge: fracking in their water supply.

Fairfax Media can reveal an oil and gas company is negotiating with native title groups after the West Australian government issued it exploration rights over a 3750-square-kilometre patch of the Kimberley, including most of Broome's groundwater reserves.

The company, Goshawk Energy, has compared the area's geology with the Bakken formation in America's Williston Basin, that country's largest oilfield and the centre of its controversial fracking boom.

The recently released petroleum title is believed to contain conventional reservoirs where oil and gas can be easily pumped from the ground and unconventional reservoirs, where the resources are trapped in rock seams. It is the trapped oil and gas that requires fracking, the high-pressure injection of water and chemicals underground.

Environmentalists are concerned about the risk of potential fracking to Broome's water supply. ''We see problems from all over the world with fracking for shale gas and there is so much concern that some countries, like France, have banned it because of risks of contamination to water supplies,'' said Environs Kimberley executive director Martin Pritchard, who is calling for a moratorium on fracking in the environmentally sensitive area.

But Goshawk Energy, owned by geologist Will Barker and former Woodside manager Andrew Leibovitch, says progress is in the ''very early stages'' and the company needs to better understand - possibly through seismic testing - the area's geology.

''We wouldn't do anything until we did a full environmental review and got full regulatory and government approvals,'' Mr Leibovitch told Fairfax.

Read more:

No comments:

Post a Comment