For­rest ven­ture stakes claims for gas

Pilbara News - - News - Nick Evans

Min­ing heavy­weight An­drew For­rest has moved in on WA’s emerg­ing on­shore oil and gas in­dus­try, stak­ing claims over more than 220,000sqkm of the Can­ning Basin in the Kim­ber­ley.

Mr For­rest’s Squadron En­ergy will team up with pri­vately held Goshawk En­ergy — chaired by for­mer Do­min­ion Pe­tro­leum chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Gar­land — to form a joint ven­ture, 80 per cent con­trolled by Mr For­rest’s com­pany, to ap­ply for “a num­ber” of on­shore Spe­cial Prospect­ing Au­thor­i­ties from the State Govern­ment.

Although the ap­pli­ca­tions have yet to be granted, Goshawk al­ready con­trols ten­e­ments in the Can­ning Basin, and was sub­ject to crit­i­cism from en­vi­ron­men­tal groups in 2013 when it won a li­cence al­low­ing the com­pany to ex­plore a per­mit that in­cluded the Broome water sup­ply re­serve, and the site of bit­ter protests over the James Price Point devel­op­ment.

In a state­ment, the two com­pa­nies said the joint ven­ture was a “com­pelling op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore and de­velop in a highly promis­ing area, and ul­ti­mately be part of Western Aus­tralia’s world-class en­ergy sec­tor.

“Pro­jects such as this have the po­ten­tial to con­trib­ute sig­nif­i­cantly to the State’s eco­nomic suc­cess,” the state­ment said.

Ini­tial es­ti­mates are that WA holds up to 280 tril­lion cu­bic feet of nat­u­ral gas in shale and “tight” rocks — enough to sup­ply the State for about 500 years.

But en­vi­ron­men­tal groups are con­cerned about the ex­trac­tion process, known as frack­ing, and its un­known con­se­quences.

Pic­ture: Michael Wil­son

An­drew For­rest has staked a claim over more than 220,000sqkm of the Kim­ber­ley.

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