No fracking plans: Mitsui

Geoff VivianMidwest Times
MEPAU WA operations manager Kevin Davey and Waitsia gas project's person in charge of operations of Cameron Goodchild at the Dongara facility on Wednesday
Camera IconMEPAU WA operations manager Kevin Davey and Waitsia gas project's person in charge of operations of Cameron Goodchild at the Dongara facility on Wednesday Credit: Mitsui Energy and Petroleum Australia, MEPAU

The company that owns a gas project 14.5km east of Dongara says it has no plans to frack, and the project’s next stage has been referred to the WA Environmental Protection Authority.

“As the resource is conventional there is no need to use fracking, the gas is free-flowing,” a Mitsui Energy and Petroleum Australia spokesman said.

“The timing of the referral is unrelated to the Government's response to the scientific fracking inquiry.”

Drillers discovered the Waitsia Gas Field in 2014. It is ranked as one of the top five biggest onshore gas fields discovered in Australia.

The MEPAU issued a statement saying Waitsia had been producing about 10TJ/day of gas from the conventional reservoirs since 2016 and delivering it into the existing Parmelia Pipeline.

It proposes to upgrade the plant capacity to 30TJ/d and install a 4km lateral pipeline to connect to the nearby Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline.

The spokesman said this would also allow further reservoir testing to occur by connecting the nearby Waitsia-02 Appraisal Well, and about 20 per cent of both development and operating costs were to be spent regionally.

“This equates to generating an average $40 million a year direct expenditure in the region and an average $60 million a year as flow-on economic impact to the Mid West,” he said.

The company held a public information drop-in session at the Dongara Recreation Centre last Wednesday after the anti-fracking group Lock the Gate issued a statement calling for a full assessment by the EPA.

“There are wells in the Waitsia area that have previously been fracked,” Lock the Gate co-ordinator Simone Van Hattem said. “We know there is tight gas there, and the only way to get at it is to frack.”

Ms Van Hattem said 98 per cent of the Irwin community surveyed wanted the Shire to remain “gasfield free”.

“It seems likely that this company will want to frack, and there is nothing to stop it now the moratorium has been lifted,” she said.

“The Waitsia Gasfield will also increase WA’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

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