Shale and tight gas information flows for Kimberley communities

Broome and Derby residents give open day 100 per cent tick of approval
Date: Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Majority of community attending open days support the development of WA’s shale and gas industry. 

Recent Community Open Days held in Broome and Derby proved to be highly successful in raising local public awareness about Western Australia’s developing shale and tight gas industry.

Department of Mines and Petroleum presented the two separate events as a direct response to community calls for more information about the development of this new industry which is currently still in the exploration phase.

Petroleum Division Executive Director Jeff Haworth said attendance at both events was better than anticipated and proved very beneficial to the local participants as well as the department.

“We had about 60 people attend the Broome event and about 40 in Derby, and the majority of the community attendees were supportive of the development of shale and gas industry in WA,” he said.

“However, like with any developing industry the community wants to be assured that appropriate processes are in place to regulate the industry and protect people and the environment,” he said.

“A number of people were surprised to learn that exploration and development of this industry is driven by commercial decisions by petroleum companies and not by DMP, which is the watch dog to ensure it is developed in a responsible and sustainable way.”

The Department of Water (DoW) joined the DMP at the information sessions.

Mr Haworth said the main questions from both events were about the design and long-term integrity of wells, land access, use of chemicals and protection of aquifers, as well as accountability and transparency of the approvals processes.

“Many people were also not aware that DMP seeks independent advice from other government agencies during the approvals processes in regard to proposed activities,” he said.

“Generally, the information was well received and the communities appreciated government’s efforts to come up and listen to the concerns raised.”

The open day format got an overwhelming majority tick of approval from participants.

If people are seeking more information, DMP will have a booth at the Love Broome Expo on 9–10 May 2015.