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May 7, 2021

Canning Basin fracking agreement torn up

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Environmental groups are celebrating after the last remnant of a fracking joint venture in Western Australia’s Canning Basin was torn up.

Joint venture partners Buru Energy and Mitsubishi mutually decided to dissolve their 2013 state agreement, and the McGowan government has now introduced legislation to parliament to cancel it.

State agreements are a legal contract between the state government and the proponent of a major project, and the parties share responsibility for developing infrastructure needed for the project.

Buru and Mitsubishi restructured their exploration permits earlier this year so they can separately proceed with projects in the region.

But the state government banned gas fracking in the Perth, South West and Peel regions, and placed a moratorium on fracking throughout the rest of the state earlier this year.

The companies will now have to await the outcome of a scientific fracking inquiry, instigated by the Labor government, before any further activity on the leases.

Piers Verstegen, director of the Conservation Council of WA, said the termination of the joint venture agreement was a win for communities, who have strongly resisted fracking in the Kimberley.

“The termination of this agreement should be taken as a clear indication to investors that fracking plans in the Kimberley do not have state government backing,” Mr Verstegen said.

Despite the moratorium, the Commonwealth government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund continued to support companies seeking to develop fracking projects in the Kimberley, he claimed.

“This will be strongly opposed by community and environment groups,” Mr Verstegen said.


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