The Gold Coast Bulletin

Icon Energy will stop fracking and go clean

- KATHLEEN SKENE kathleen.skene@news.com.au

AFTER years of falling share prices and a failure to attract investment partners to extract gas from its land, Bundall’s Icon Energy has flipped its focus to “blue hydrogen” in a move it says will protect the environmen­t.

Icon said it no longer planned to use fracking methods to extract gas from its ATP855 tenement in southwest Queensland, instead opting to draw it from areas which had natural fractures in the rock.

Mining and energy stocks have taken a battering in recent years as major funds turn to more sustainabl­e companies on behalf of increasing­ly environmen­tally conscious investors.

The news, released as part of Icon Energy’s quarterly results last week, had no immediate impact on the company’s share price.

However, Icon was issued an ASX speeding ticket this week after its shares shot up 72 per cent from 1.8c to 3.1c.

The ASX queried the reason for the jump after more than 12 million shares were traded on Tuesday. They closed trading on Wednesday at 2c.

Managing director Ray James said new technologi­es had the potential to use the high-pressure, high-temperatur­e conditions in the tenement to Icon’s advantage, where they had previously been a dangerous deterrent to gas extraction.

The company said new “plasma methods” were in developmen­t that would split the hydrogen from the methane carbon without releasing carbon dioxide.

“Because the pressure is very high, it will enable us to remove the carbon dioxide simply and efficientl­y because it will always remain in a liquid form in the separation chamber once separated from the methane,” he said.

Mr James said hydrogen was already in demand as a clean fuel and that the liquid carbon dioxide also had potential industrial uses, including for carbonatin­g drinks.

Icon announced it had produced a “road map to commercial­isation” for ATP855, which has been in expensive limbo since a joint venture with Chevron and Beach Energy fell over in 2015.

The company said it would not renew its other Queensland tenement, near Quilpie, which remained without an investment partner and expired on April 16.

It said the future of its other tenements in Victoria, where fracking has been effectivel­y banned, also looked uncertain.

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