What's At Risk?
The Mid West region of WA covers nearly one fifth of the state or 468,712 square kilometres and yet has a population of less than 60,000 people. Mining, agriculture, fishing and tourism are the major economic drivers in the region, with manufacturing also making a big contribution to the region’s economy. Read more about the important values and attributes under threat from fracking in WA's Mid West here.
Gas Projects and Prospects
Unconventional gas exploration and fracking is already underway in Western Australia with at least nine exploration wells fracked since 2004. The majority of these fracking operations were located in the Mid West-Gascoyne region, which is ground zero for fracking gasfield development in WA.
The Mid West overlies the northern section of the Perth Basin, a geological formation containing shale and tight gas. Tenements cover large parts of the region, from the Swan Valley, outer suburbs of Perth, north to Geraldton. Development is going ahead at a rapid rate around Badgingarra and Irwin. Click here for a map of gas tenements and operators in the Mid West.
Transerv Energy's Warro Project
The Warro Gasfield, near Badgingarra, 200km north-east of Perth contains large reserves of tight gas. The only way to get the gas out of the ground is to frack a series of deep underground wells. Around 300 fracking wells are planned for the area.
The company behind Warro is Transerv, which owns a majority share in the project. Alcoa, owns the rest and is providing the money for the venture. So far the rate of gas flow from the Warro 5 and 6 wells, which have both been fracked, has been lower than expected.
Transerv is now going back to Warro 4, a well it fracked in 2011 and then plugged after running into massive amounts of water. The company also has plans to develop the Dandaragan Deep field. Seismic testing earmarked for the area includes the Kolburn bore field supplying Moora’s only drinking water.
AWE Limited Projects
The other big gas player in the Mid West at the moment is AWE Energy, which is working on the Waitsia field, around 15km east of Dongara. Around 20 wells are expected to be drilled in a 50 sqkm area of the gasfield.
Waitsia includes a large conventional gas resource found by accident when a tight gas well was being drilled. The gasfield sits nearby several other unconventional gas reserves that AWE plans to co-develop in conjunction with the conventional resource. The gas from this area is destined for the Perth domestic market after gas retailer Alinta signed a deal to buy gas produced in the field earlier this year.
If the additional tight gas fields are co-developed with Waitsia then Perth consumers could soon be using fracked gas to light their stoves. The first gas is expected to flow from the Waitsia field in August this year.