29/11/2017 - 15:34

Canning Basin state agreement terminated

29/11/2017 - 15:34

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The state government has moved to terminate a state agreement with Mitsubishi Corporation and Buru Energy that was enacted in 2013 when there were high hopes that fracking in the Kimberley’s Canning Basin would lead to development of major onshore gas projects.

Canning Basin state agreement terminated
Mark McGowan says the government appreciates the community concern surrounding fracking.

The state government has moved to terminate a state agreement with Mitsubishi Corporation and Buru Energy that was enacted in 2013 when there were high hopes that fracking in the Kimberley’s Canning Basin would lead to development of major onshore gas projects.

The agreement was meant to provide certainty of tenure over five exploration permits in the Canning Basin, with Mitsubishi and Buru intending to develop a domestic gas project together.

However, earlier this year, the companies restructured ownership of the permits and will proceed separately with projects in the region.

The companies have agreed to await the outcome of the independent scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracture stimulation.

No fracking will be conducted while the fracking moratorium is in place.

Premier Mark McGowan said the government appreciated the community concern surrounding fracking.

"We have been working closely with Mitsubishi Corporation and Buru Energy to ensure compliance with the moratorium, while awaiting the outcome of the review,” he said

"The termination of this state agreement allows both companies to pursue their own commercial interests."

Buru released a statement confirming the termination of the contract.

“The termination agreement will come into operation once it has been ratified by an act of the parliament of WA, which is expected to occur in 2018,” the company said.

“This process was commenced today in the Legislative Assembly.”

The Conservation Council of WA welcomed the government announcement with director Piers Versyegen saying the termination of the agreement was a win for communities who have resisted fracking in the Kimberly.

"This agreement was a bad idea when it was created and is a worse idea now," he said

“Maintaining this State Agreement while there is a statewide moratorium on fracking in place, and widespread community opposition to the practice, was clearly untenable.

“The termination of this agreement should be taken as a clear indication to investors that fracking plans in the Kimberley do not have state government backing."

Buru released a statement on Thursday saying it was business as usual.

"The termination of the agreement has no effect on Buru’s current operations or in relation to any of the Company’s activities, apart from fraccing," the company said.

"Buru expects that the inquiry will return a similar finding to the numerous previous inquiries in Australia and internationally, that fraccing is safe if properly regulated, which it is under the current WA regulatory regime.

"The Company will be carrying on its current operations including drilling for and producing oil and exploring for conventional oil and gas while the current moratorium on gas fraccing is in place."

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