Approved work to be resubmitted
MORE than $350 million in approved onshore gas exploration work which was suspended following the ban on hydraulic fracturing will have to be resubmitted before it can proceed.
In the wake of the Gunner Government’s decision to adopt all 135 recommendations of the scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracturing headed by Justice Rachel Pepper, exploration work approved before the moratorium came into place will now have to be amended to meet the new regulations.
At the introduction of the moratorium in September 2016 about 10 wells involving fracking had been approved to three companies – Origin Energy, Pangaea and Santos.
This advanced work may form the basis for the earliest exploration to proceed under the new regulatory system including being charged for water usage.
Santos indicated in its February 2018 submission to the Pepper Inquiry it plans to “recommence exploration” at the Tanumbirini-1 well site which is located about 500km southeast of Darwin, with “diagnostic fracture injection testing”.
This would be followed by three hydraulic fracture stimulation stages across different zones in the Velkerri Shale. Tanumbirini-1 has already been drilled to a total depth of 3.9km.
Santos also indicated in its February submission it was ready to move on exploration if the existing regulatory regimen had stayed in place by October this year.
This work would have involved three fracture stimulation stages. It planned to expand this to drilling a further two horizontal wells followed by horizontal fracture stimulation and testing.
This work is now unlikely to start before next year’s Dry.