Heat put on Alinta to end fracking deal
WA’s peak conservation group has Alinta Energy in its crosshairs over moves by the utility to take gas supplies from one of the State’s first planned onshore gas projects.
The Conservation Council of WA yesterday joined anti-gas group Frack Free WA to call on Alinta to walk away from a deal to buy gas from the Waitsia field near Dongara in the Mid West.
AWE is developing the project in a joint venture with giant energy provider Origin and earlier this year inked a 21⁄2-year take-or-pay deal with Alinta for 10 terajoules of gas a day.
But amid moves by private equity owners TPG to float Alinta on the stock exchange, the Conservation Council said the gas and electricity provider was “vulnerable”.
The environmental group claimed Waitsia would be the first major commercial-scale project to use the controversial technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, to extract gas.
It also argued Alinta was supporting a project in a region which had been declared “frack free” by 98 per cent of respondents to a survey.
“With the Irwin community standing united in opposition to AWE’s fracking plans, it is clear that the company does not have a social licence to operate,” CCWA director Piers Verstegen said.
“Farmers are doing everything they can to defend their properties and our water supply from gas fracking plans, but they need gas consumers in the city to take a stand with them. We will be calling on Alinta customers to support Mid West communities in protecting their farms and groundwater from gas fracking.”
Alinta rejected the claims, saying it sourced all of its gas from companies that were required to comply with the law.
“Alinta Energy does not undertake gas-production activities, and therefore does not produce unconventional gas through means such as fracking,” a spokesman said.
“We source all of our gas from independent third party suppliers, who are required to comply with relevant safety and environmental laws at both Federal and State levels.”