Heat put on Alinta to end frack­ing deal

Pilbara News - - News - Daniel Mercer

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.”

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