Theia Energy’s plan to drill two exploration wells in the Canning Basin, including through fracking, will be subject to the highest level of scrutiny by the environmental regulator.
South Perth-based Theia Energy’s plan to drill two exploration wells in the Canning Basin, including through fracking, will be subject to the highest level of scrutiny by the environmental regulator after drawing 2,360 public submissions.
According to documents lodged with the EPA, the oil and energy company plans to drill two exploration wells and undertake hydraulic fracture stimulation within a site permitted for petroleum exploration about 155 kilometres south-east of Broome.
The plan, dubbed 'The Great Sandy Desert Project', involves an extension of the existing well site, accommodation facilities and access tracks within a 14 hectare development envelope.
In a statement released by the EPA this morning, chair Matthew Tonts said the proposal had the potential to impact groundwater, could lead to contamination of soil and groundwater and affect surrounding flora and fauna.
Further, Professor Tonts raised concerns about the detrimental impacts of construction and operation noise, vibration and traffic as well as increased greenhouse gas emissions.
Following the receipt of 2,360 public submissions during the seven-day public consultation period, more than 85 per cent of which pushed for some level of assessment, Professor Tonts said the project should be subject to a public environmental review.
A PER is the highest level of assessment undertaken by the EPA.
In justifying his decision, Professor Tonts said a detailed assessment was required to gauge the extent of the proposal's impacts and how, if at all, they could be managed.
The decision is not appealable.
The decision comes just two months after Theia Energy signed an MOU for the supply of gas to the proposed Derby Fertilisers and Petrochemical Complex Project.
More to come.