Community members converged outside Buru Energy's AGM in Perth this week. They were there to support Traditional Custodians to have their voices heard, and send a strong message to the company that is driving gas fracking exploration in the Kimberley's Canning Basin: that it doesn't have a social licence to operate.
Traditional Custodians Dr. Anne Poelina and Micklo Corpus entered Buru's AGM to seek answers about the company's aspirations for the region, and send the message that renewable energy is now cheaper to produce than fossil fuels (gas, oil and coal), and share their concerns about the impacts to their Country from gas fracking activities.
Canning Basin gas fracking retreat
Back in 2013, the Canning Basin in the south of the Kimberley region was ear-marked as one of the largest onshore gas basins in the Southern Hemisphere, potentially holding up to 229 Trillion Cubic Feet of unconventional shale gas (ACOLA, 2013). The report flagged that over 40,000 wells could be drilled in the Kimberley region and the highest risks that industry had experienced in America were induced seismic activity, water management and well integrity.
After the initial exploration phase of the Canning Basin by Buru Energy, half a dozen wells were drilled and they experienced well integrity issues, gas leaks and issues with water management. To add to the industry's woes: the groundswell of community opposition to the practice and lack of infrastructure led to major companies like Alcoa and ConocoPhillips' retreat from the region.
The last remaining international player is Mitsubishi Corporation, which has now taken ownership of the most prospective gas leases from the small oil and gas company Buru Energy. It has seen the writing on the wall and is consolidating its assets, to focus on the Ungani oil project.
View a map of the current exploration and production leases over the region
If the Canning Basin was to be opened up through unconventional gas fracking exploration and production, it could have significant impacts on water, Country and communities, as well as being a ticking carbon bomb—releasing millions of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.
If we are genuine about tackling climate change and all its impacts on our wilderness areas, it would be wise to keep the Canning Basin fossil fuels in the ground, and shift our power towards 100% renewable energy.
WA Labor moratorium commitments
Thanks to the huge groundswell of community support for securing these commitments, we are close to locking them in—but need your help to ensure that the moratorium and ban on gas fracking includes exploration activities as well as production.
On 15 May 2017, the Department of Mines and Petroleum advertised further acreage release areas for gas prospecting over proposed conservation reserves in the Canning Basin—which is at odds with the new WA Labor Government commitments.
Let our new decision-makers know that our community wants the above commitments—including exploration activities for gas fracking—enacted as soon as possible to safeguard our water, land and communities. Email our new leaders and make your voice heard at this pivotal moment in history!
- WA Premier Mark McGowan: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Environment Minister Stephen Dawson: Minister.Dawson@dpc.wa.gov.au
- Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnson: Minister.Johnston@dpc.wa.gov.au
Curious about meeting some Traditional Custodians on Country in the Kimberley? Apply for your spot on our 2017 Kimberley Custodian Supporter Trip today!
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