The petroleum industry yesterday launched a comprehensive information program on exploration for Western Australia’s shale and tight gas resources, providing valuable information on the industry’s operating practices and potential benefits.
The program was prepared by the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association and launched by Western Australia’s Minister for Mines and Petroleum, the Hon. Norman Moore MLC.
APPEA’s Chief Operating Officer – Western Region, Stedman Ellis, said: “Onshore gas has the potential to transform the state’s energy sector and help maintain Western Australia’s powerhouse economic performance. Preliminary estimates suggest Western Australia could become one of the world’s most important onshore gas provinces. The state’s onshore gas industry could follow in the steps of the USA’s shale gas sector to become a major driver of national and regional energy security and economic development.
“Exploration is currently being undertaken in the Canning, Carnarvon and Perth Basins targeting layers of shale or dense sandstone up to four kilometres underground which have the potential to provide a new source of natural gas for Western Australian consumers.
“While the petroleum industry has been operating in Western Australia for more than 40 years, we recognise that with the debate about onshore gas activities – particularly the practice of hydraulic fracturing to release gas – it is important that the industry addresses the information gap with clear and objective information.
“The information program will complement community consultation initiatives in potential areas of operation by companies undertaking exploration.”
The industry information package includes a website, a printed backgrounder and a video. The material summarises some of the differences between potential onshore gas production in Western Australia and existing shale, tight and coal seam gas production in other states and countries.
Last year, APPEA released a Western Australian code of practice for hydraulic fracturing to help put the state at the forefront of best practices in techniques for well construction and hydraulic fracturing, including promoting a transparent approach to the use of chemicals.
Mr Ellis said: “The information program covers the process used for hydraulic fracturing; the chemicals used; and the potential industry interaction with farmers and traditional owners.
“Importantly, the industry is seeking community feedback so it can address the questions, comments and concerns of people with an interest in Western Australian onshore gas.”
LNG World News Staff, April 4, 2012; Image: APPEA