Bunbury Energy given permit to explore for gas in region

The permit area includes parts of the Shires of Dardanup, Capel and the northern tip of Donnybrook-Balingup. Image supplied from the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

The permit area includes parts of the Shires of Dardanup, Capel and the northern tip of Donnybrook-Balingup. Image supplied from the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

The state government awarded gas exploration permit EP496 to Bunbury Energy which will allow the company to explore for conventional gas in the region.

Department of Mines and Petroleum industry regulation and safety executive director Jeff Haworth said the title had a condition on it which prohibited the use of fracking in the program.

“The title will allow Bunbury Energy to apply to conduct exploration activities, the first of which was to conduct a seismic survey along road verges to identify possible conventional gas traps,” he said.

“Depending on what and where the activity is, further approvals may be required from other government agencies including local government.”

Mr Haworth said once the results of the seismic survey were known, potential resources may be identified under private property.

Gasfield Free South West Alliance co-convenor and Boyanup landholder Kathy Thomson said the granting of the permit was a kick in the guts to the people of the South West.

“The government promised us a fracking ban before the state election. We understood the promise meant we would be protected from encroachment by the invasive onshore gas industry,” she said.

"Instead, the government has granted a new gas exploration permit covering our area. We still don’t have any right to say no to gas companies coming on our land to drill for gas.”

Bunbury Energy chief executive officer Wal Muir said if they looked at any investigations on private land the earliest would be around 2019 and they must work with the landholder to obtain permission.

Mr Muir said the permit would only allow Bunbury Energy to undertake exploration tasks, once those tasks were  individually approved by the Department of Mines.

“This will include the collection of seismic data along existing roads which we are aiming to take place in mid to late 2018,” he said. “In the future, we may investigate the collection of seismic data on private property.

“Regulations preclude exploration drilling with two kilometres of towns.”