From the unique natural and cultural landscapes of the Kimberley, to the coastal splendour of the Ningaloo Coast, and from the wheat farms and wildflower reserves of the the state's Mid West to the tourism, wine and fruit growing regions in the Swan Valley, Chittering Valley and the South West, nowhere in WA is safe from gas extraction. Many of the state's most iconic, cherished and valuable landscapes are under threat from unconventional gasfields and fracking.
Large parts of Western Australia are covered in gas licences, with active exploration of shale and tight gas currently focused across three regions of the state- the Kimberley, the South West and the Mid West. Licences also cover parts of the Gascoyne region including areas inland from the Ningaloo Coast, the Peel and some inland areas.
Fracking and unconventional gasfield development is already underway in WA, with at least 9 exploration wells fracked between 2004 and late 2015- the majority of these in the Mid West. This is what shale and tight gas exploration looks like in WA....
Shale gas always requires fracking to extract commercial quantities of gas, and fracking or other unconventional extraction methods is also required to extract tight gas. Fracking is also used during exploration for shale and tight gas.
The Canning Basin in the Kimberley has been identified as one of the most prospective regions in the world for shale gas. Buru Energy and Mitsubishi have undertaken several exploration fracking programs in the Kimberley. A report for ACOLA has estimated that up to 40,000 wells could be drilled if the industry goes to full production in the region.
Gas exploration licences cover large ares of the Gascoyne region in central-north WA, including parts of the North West Cape, inland from and adjacent to, the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage area, and also inland from Carnarvon covering the Kennedy Ranges. Unconventional gas exploration is in the early stages in this region.
Mid West Region
The Mid West overlies the northern section of the Perth Basin, a geological formation that contains substantial deposits of tight and shale gas and much of the region is covered in exploration licences. In the Mid West, development is going ahead at a rapid rate around Badgingarra and Irwin especially.
There are currently two main companies with gas exploration permits covering a large part of the region, starting from the heart of the Swan Valley, and heading north over Walyunga National Park, Bullsbrook, Chittering and beyond, as well as going north from Muchea and Guilderton on the coast.
South West/Peel Region
Gas licences and applications cover large swathes of highly productive agricultural land in WA’s closely settled South West and Peel regions. Exploratory fracking and other activities have been carried out in the Whicher Range near Margaret River, an iconic tourist destination and premier wine producing region, and in October 2017, Bunbury Energy (formerly Unconventional Resources) was granted a lease to explore around Capel, Dardanup, Boyanup, Donnybrook and surrounds (incl parts of the Cities of Bunbury and Busselton).