Western Australia bans hydraulic fracturing

Western Australia, home to several giant liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, has announced a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing as it examines the potential risks associated with the drilling technique.

The government of the largest state in Australia has implemented its ban on fracking for existing and future petroleum titles in the South-West, Peel and Perth metropolitan regions.

A moratorium has also been placed on the use of hydraulic fracturing or fracking throughout the rest of Western Australia.

The future of fracking in WA will be decided following an independent scientific inquiry, chaired by Environmental Protection Authority chairperson Tom Hatton.

“The McGowan Government recognises the need to protect the State’s environment from risks associated with extracting petroleum products using fracking,” said Environment Minister Stephen Dawson in a statement.

“We appreciate there is a level of community concern around fracking in WA, which is why we are commissioning an independent scientific inquiry,” he added.

The move comes despite a growing gas supply crisis in Australia, where a large portion of supply in the continent’s east is drawn from coal seam developments.

The state of Victoria has banned fracking as well as shale and coal-seam gas exploration, while the Northern Territory, New South Wales and Tasmania have moratoriums.

More than $380 million worth of investment in new onshore gas projects had stalled since Labor imposed a moratorium on fracking, said chief operating officer of Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association WA, Stedman Ellis, in a statement.

One company was now looking to Canada rather than risking its future in WA, according to Ellis.

He said politically-motivated bans and restrictions not only damaged the onshore gas industry, they also undermined WA’s reputation as a safe place to invest and do business.

“The facts clearly show that fracking is safe. So it’s likely this inquiry, like all the others before it, will conclude that any risks can be managed with proper regulation,” Ellis said.

“It is vital, therefore, that this new inquiry report back to the government as quickly as possible and that it results in the removal of the fracking moratorium,” he added.


LNG World News Staff