Communities have responded with concern at comments made yesterday by Lakes Oil Chairman Rob Annells that the gas exploration company will be looking to move the focus of their operations to Victoria's South West. (see http://www.heraldsun.com.au/business/in-the-black/determined-lakes-oil-shifts-focus-to-otway-basin/story-fni0d787-1227215261256)
Lakes Oil, a company in which Magnate Gina Rinehart is a major shareholder, will be looking at beginning drilling operations in their PEP163 and PEP169 licenses, which cover Geelong and the Surf Coast and the Timboon/Port Campbell area respectively.
Hydraulic Fracturing or 'fracking' is currently under moratorium in Victoria, however the company is looking to get around the restriction by using horizontal drilling techniques for two 'proof of concept' wells.
"Lakes Oil have made it explicit, they are after tight and shale gas, both kinds of unconventional gas that often require more 'fracking' than CSG and just as much infrastructure" said Victorian Lock the Gate co-ordinator Chloe Aldenhoven.
"They will drill these 'proof of concept' wells in the hope that they can sell the licenses on to a bigger company, Beach or Santos or the like. They're paving the way for an unconventional gas industry in the South West."
A community survey is nearing completion in Brucknell, close to Lakes Oil's proposed 'Morey's 1' well, asking local residents their attitudes towards the potential industry.
Landholder/resident Debbie Dalziel says they are finding that over 90% of the community wants the area declared free of any form of unconventional gas development.
“We have several resources companies holding tenements in our district. Lakes Oil and Beach Energy have both publicly indicated that they are keen to tap into unconventional gas reserves or tight gas in our area. We have grave concerns about waste disposal issues, adverse impacts to our soil and water resources and industrialisation of our important agricultural region, should gas mining companies become active in this area.
“While gas companies will be driven by investment potential and returns to shareholders, we take a much longer term view of the importance of this area as an agricultural and tourism precinct and a wonderful place to call home.
“I am concerned that Lakes Oil’s push to get work underway in this area will be the thin edge of the wedge for gas resources developments and onshore horizontal drilling, with or without hydraulic fracking.
“Given that there are so many questions and valid concerns surrounding such gas mining methods, the current state Labor Government should resist the pressure from resources companies to open up onshore gas developments. Much taxpayer money and effort has gone into public consultation processes but this does not alter risks nor alleviate concerns."
For more comment contact:
Chloe Aldenhoven 0432 328 107
Debbie Dalziel 0439 950 242