Forrest venture stakes claims for gas
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.
Andrew Forrest has staked a claim over more than 220,000sqkm of the Kimberley.