07/10/2021 - 15:50

Canning Basin project gets export waiver

07/10/2021 - 15:50

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The state government is still working to clarify criteria for onshore gas projects to export, after it was revealed a Kimberley fracking proposal had been given the tick.

Onshore oil and gas is a smaller part of WA's energy industry compared to offshore.

The state government is still working to clarify criteria for onshore gas projects to export, after it was revealed a Kimberley fracking proposal had been given the tick.

Bennett Resources, which is a subsidiary of United States company Black Mountain, was given approval to export from the Valhalla field in the Canning Basin.

There’s still a long way to go on the project.

Bennett will need agreement from traditional owners, and from the Environmental Protection Authority, among others.

The EPA said in February it would undertake a review of the company’s proposal to drill 20 wells across 109 hectares, including through hydraulic fracture stimulation.

EPA documents show a final report is due to be given to the environment minister in March 2023.

Bennett was the second company given special approval to export onshore gas from Western Australia, following Beach Energy and Mitsui & Co’s Waitsia last year.

The Waitsia gas will be used in a swap deal with the North West Shelf Venture, effectively meaning it will be exported through Karratha for five years.

When the policy was announced last year, the government’s indications were that it would be the only exemption granted.

But a recent report by ACIL Allen Consulting for the Department of Jobs, Trade, Science and Innovation suggested allowing more onshore gas to be exported would help get production under way in projects and boost supplies for downstream processing.

It is understood the Valhalla export approval was granted because the Canning Basin is not connected into the state’s domestic pipeline gas network, although the company would still be expected to reserve 15 per cent for the local market.

Business News understands the framework is still under development.

Requests for exemption will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and the state government is planning to develop criteria to guide assessment of approvals to export via the WA pipeline network, Business News understands.

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