A new fracking project in the Great Sandy Desert area of WA’s Kimberley region that will require nearly 18 million litres of water is the thin edge of the wedge as the McGowan Government continues to roll out the red carpet to the oil and gas industry.
The WA Environmental Protection Authority today published Theia Energy’s proposal to drill two “exploration” wells on the company’s tenement south east of Broome, giving the public just six days to respond.
While the application is for one vertical and one horizontal well, with plans by Theia to frack the horizontal well, the company has previously flagged intentions to build thousands of wells across its tenements, by comparing the Kimberley’s resources to that of the Eagle Ford Shale in the USA, where 24,000 wells have been drilled since 2008 (see attached).
Media has also reported previously that the company is targeting “as much as 57 billion barrels of oil in the desert location”. If such a plan was realised, it would make Theia Australia’s largest oil producer.
The company’s new plan also reveals the exploratory drilling project would result in the creation of nearly eight million litres of “flowback” or waste water from only two wells.
“This is typically what we expect from fracking companies - they start off with a handful of exploratory wells, and once production approval is granted, they build frack fields that spread like spider webs across the landscape,” said Lock the Gate Alliance WA spokesperson Claire McKinnon.
“It’s extremely concerning that for just one exploratory well, Theia plans to use 18 million litres of water from a local aquifer beneath a desert. The amount of water that would be required for a fully fledged fracking industry in the Kimberley is truly terrifying.
“Fracking projects leak massive plumes of climate-heating methane into the atmosphere. The fugitive emissions from Theia’s frack field will fuel the climate crisis even before the gas or oil is burnt.
“Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth, and the place where Theia wants to frack is among the driest places in Australia. Water is so very precious here - it should not be sacrificed to dirty, polluting fracking companies.
“It is madness the McGowan Government is even considering these fracking projects. They must be rejected.”