A cleanup bill that could sting WA taxpayers millions of dollars highlights the risk of granting fracking companies open slather to explore highly speculative petroleum reserves in the remote Kimberley region.
Media has reported this morning that New Standard Energy has gone into liquidation, leaving behind one gas well that has not been plugged, and three others that have not been rehabilitated in the Kimberley.
The government acknowledges this rehabilitation work could cost up to $1.9 million.
Lock the Gate Alliance WA spokesperson Simone van Hattem said the group had long warned fracking companies could go bust and leave behind environmental damage that the public would have to pay for.
“Fracking is a high cost operation, particularly in areas as remote as the Kimberley. It’s no surprise New Standard Energy has gone bust with little cash left to clean up its mess,” she said.
“The McGowan Government has foolishly granted permission to a host of other fracking companies to explore the Kimberley. We fear similar disasters will play out time and again unless the government puts an end to this dangerous industry.
“Fracking is not going to become any more appealing to investors as the world decarbonises.
“Giving small cap fracking companies access to vast swathes of fragile country in the Kimberley now, as the world moves away from fossil fuels like fracked gas, only heightens the risk of WA taxpayers footing the bill to clean up their mess in the future.”