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Western Australia’s first tight gas project may unlock new energy supply
Thursday, 5 February 2009
Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore today visited Western Australia’s first tight gas drilling operation.
Latent Petroleum and its joint venture partners Alcoa and TranServ are providing much-needed jobs and energy diversity for the state by developing the Warro tight gas field, 250km north of Perth in the Shire of Dandaragan.
“Tight gas is found in low permeability rock and requires specialist equipment to mine,” Mr Moore said.
“The Warro field has the potential to provide more than 10 per cent of WA’s current gas consumption and there are several other formations in the Perth Basin with further potential for development.
“These could hold between nine and 12 trillion cubic feet of gas, which is enough to support WA’s needs for up to 30 years.
“They are also close to the areas of greatest energy demand in the state and convenient means of transmission.”
The Warro field is only 30km from the Dampier-to-Bunbury and the Parmelia pipelines and if the initial drilling project is successful, Latent Petroleum proposes to construct a feeder line linking its development to the main pipeline.
The company took delivery of a specialist drilling rig from the United States late last year and plans to drill two new wells during 2009.
Latent Petroleum’s founders have experience in the US tight gas industry, which provides up to 30 per cent of that nation’s total gas production.
Subject to the necessary approvals, the joint venture hopes to begin producing gas in 2010 at a rate of between 30 and 100 terrajoules per day.
“WA has the most energy-intensive economy in Australia and natural gas makes up half of its energy supply,” the Minister said.
“With other new developments such as geothermal energy, tight gas provides a genuine supply alternative for the domestic market.
“It also opens up the energy market to a range of companies and creates significant new employment opportunities in regional areas because tight gas operations are more labour-intensive than conventional gas operations.”
The Department of Mines and Petroleum has encouraged tight gas resources development through discussions with industry, workshops and the release of acreage for exploration.