Mining minister to focus on WA gas industry

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion has flagged new State Government safeguards to manage Western Australia’s developing shale and tight gas industry.

Mr Marmion made the announcement as he opened WA’s inaugural ‘Water Management for Shale and Tight Gas Resources’ seminar in Perth earlier this week.

“I expect the new Resource Management and Administration Regulations will come into force next month,” he said.

“WA already has some of the world’s toughest regulations and disclosure rules and these reforms will further strengthen our stringent petroleum industry controls, with particular emphasis on well integrity and water monitoring.”

The two-day seminar focused on the emerging industry and draw on experience from around the world.

“This meeting of minds in the areas of hydrogeology, geophysics and engineering is all about sharing best-practice knowledge and technology to protect WA’s water supplies,” Mr Marmion said.

“The Government supports the responsible development of shale and tight gas and that includes the use of hydraulic fracturing to stimulate the flow of gas when necessary.

“At the same time, we recognise there is concern in the community about the process.”

Mr Marmion told seminar speakers and delegates they shared a responsibility to counter deliberate misinformation about the shale and tight gas industry with sound scientific knowledge.

“There are groups which oppose hydraulic fracturing and are using scare tactics to cause unnecessary fear, especially in the Mid-West and Kimberley,” he said.

“We need to respond to those fears with facts.”
More than 4000 hydraulic fracture operations have been completed across Australia, with no confirmed cases of groundwater contamination.
The seminar is coordinated by the International Association of Hydrogeologists, Society of Petroleum Engineers and the Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists.
The new regulations follow a review of WA gas industry regulation by Bond University petroleum specialist Dr Tina Hunter.

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