Fracking ignorance on full display
The signatories to the full-page advertisement advocating a ban on fracking in WA (The West Australian, 8/11) are comprised predominantly of rock stars, novelists, entertainers, with a few sportsmen and professors.
What they have in common is a total ignorance of the subject of their condemnation.
Fracking has been a standard practice in the oil and gas industry for over 80 years and in Australia since the 1960s, the first decade of commercial hydrocarbon production in this country.
In the Barrow Island oil field, which to this day remains the largest onshore oil discovery in Australia, every producing well, almost 300 in number, was fracked.
Had a fracking ban existed at that time the field would not have been developed and the economic benefit to this country would have been lost.
At the time of the discovery at Barrow Island in 1964 almost every barrel of oil used in Australia was imported from overseas.
What has changed in the last decade or so, principally in North America, is the fracking of horizontally drilled wells whereas previously it had been limited to vertically drilled wells.
This technique allows extraction of oil or gas from impermeable source rocks over a much larger productive zone.
The development of this process in Texas and other States in the US has resulted in that country just surpassing Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest oil producer.
This increased production has resulted in a lowering of oil prices world-wide. It has also given the US the lowest petrol prices in the Western world (about 25 per cent of the prices being asked in Eastern Australia).
It has driven the US economy to be the most dynamic of the G8 nations.
As for the Kimberley, fracking operations in three vertically drilled wells have delineated a significant gas resource.
However, to market this resource would require a pipeline of about 1000km to the Dampier hub and the Dampier to Bunbury pipeline.
At present it is most unlikely that this gas would be competitive with gas from the huge offshore fields of the North West Shelf, already connected to the Dampier hub and bearing in mind that the WA Government has reserved 15 per cent of offshore gas for local consumption.
What is far more likely for development in the near future is a very large resource of unconventional gas in the Cooper Basin in south-west Queensland and north-east South Australia.
This area is already connected by pipeline to all Eastern States capitals and there is a shortage of gas for local consumption.
Neither Queensland nor South Australia has a ban on fracking.
In November 2015, the WA Government released a report on fracking after an exhaustive inquiry by a cross party Upper House committee.
The conclusions were that under adequate regulation there was no reason that fracking could not be carried out in WA. The possibility of contamination of aquifers was negligible.
Why the McGowan Government, in a time of financial stringency, saw fit to conduct a further inquiry on fracking is a question for it to answer.
John Geary, Busselton
(Our correspondent is a retired petroleum geologist).
After reading the story on the statistical improvement of drivers in WA (News, 9/11) I could not help but think of the the old saying regarding statistics.
Could it be that fewer people have been stopped due to there being fewer police on the roads? Chris Woods, Rockingham
I’ve just spent several weeks working in Geraldton. I lived there some 24 years ago. During my return visit I was astounded at the tasteful, functional foreshore development.
Geraldton now boasts a marina, 5km of spacious landscaped public open space with beachside cafes, public barbecues, public conveniences, a water playground for the kids, lookout areas and plenty of public seating.
With a population of less than 40,000, Geraldton city has excelled.
My place of residence is Rockingham. With over double the population, my home city has dropped the ball.
Mayor Barry Sammels and his councillors should take a trip to Geraldton.
I think Tourism WA has hit on a winner with WA: The Road Trip State. One of the trips I recommend is a drive up to Geraldton
Bill Miller, Safety Bay