Fracking the Kimberley

The Kimberley region has been identified as one of the most prospective regions in the world for shale gas production, with an estimated 229 trillion cubic feet of gas present in the onshore Canning Basin. The region is also prospective for tight sands gas.     

Whilst the unconventional gas industry is still at early exploration stages in the Kimberley, a report (page 27) for ACOLA has estimated that up to 40,000 wells could be drilled if the industry goes to full production in the region. Fracking is required both in exploration activities and to extract commercial quantities of gas in production of both shale and tight gas.

Large parts of the Kimberley are covered in gas licences and there are a number of companies involved, with Buru Energy the biggest of the listed companies working in the region. Check out a map of the location of Buru, New Standard Energy (Conoco Phillips) and Key Petroleum leases in the Kimberley. 

Buru Energy has conducted one frack program (2 actual fracks) of three staged hydraulic fractures at their Yulleroo-2 Well near the Great Northern Highway about 78 kilometres east of Broome in October 2010. The images above and left were taken at Buru's frack sites east of Broome. Buru Energy has plans to do 32 more exploratory fracks in four tight gas wells in this region. Originally planned for 2014, Buru Energy has postponed these operations till 2015.

Traditional Owners have voted overwhelmingly to oppose fracking. In July 2014 96% of Yawuru Traditional Owners voted against fracking near Broome. A significant majority of the broader community in the Kimberley and Pilbara are opposed to fracking according to a Department of Mines and Petroleum survey. Read more about the community opposition to fracking in the Kimberley here.

There are also plans to build infrastructure in the Kimberley to facilitate the full scale development of gas resources in the region. Large scale gas production in the Kimberley threatens the core values that make the Kimberley special - its vast river systems, spectacular natural landscapes and internationally significant wetlands.