Ap­proved work to be re­sub­mit­ted

NT News - - NEWS -

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.

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