Limestone Coast locals have welcomed Beach Energy’s decision to mothball its Katnook gas plant operations, and say it’s further proof the Morrison Government’s gas-fueled recovery plan is a black hole for taxpayer money.
Beach’s Katnook facility received a $6 million taxpayer-funded grant from the Commonwealth Government’s Gas Acceleration Program, and the company also received more than $17 million from the previous State Government for a variety of projects around the state. Beach says it will suspend the facility due to field decline from existing connected wells.
The Morrison Government also recently signed a $1 billion energy deal with the SA Marshall Government, which sets a gas target of an additional 50 petajoules per year by the end of 2023 and a stretch target of 80 petajoules per year by 2030.
Questions also remain over the impacts of a contamination event at the facility last year, when petroleum hydrocarbons were detected in groundwater as a result of a leak in the wastewater pond’s polyethylene liner.
“This decision by Beach demonstrates the risk the Morrison Government’s so-called gas fired recovery poses to the nation. The government wants to throw billions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars into a gas-fired, polluting black hole,” said Limestone Coast Protection Alliance co-chair Angus Ralton, who lives near the Penola site.
“It is now clear for all to see that millions of public dollars were wasted trying to prop up this dirty, polluting plant.
“Yet rather than reading the writing on the wall, the Morrison and Marshall governments continue to throw taxpayer money at the outdated and polluting gas industry.
“While we are happy this plant will not operate for the foreseeable future, we remain concerned about the pollution event that occurred at the plant, as well as the threat of any future gas exploration in the region.”
The decision to suspend operations at the Katnook facility comes after Beach Energy revealed a decrease in production over the last quarter of five percent due to reduced reservoir performance and natural field decline, predominantly from the Cooper Basin Western Flank oil fields.