The Parliament of South Australia Natural Resource Committee found that at this time there is no social licence evident for an unconventional gas development in the South East region of South Australia.
It is disappointing that there was no mention in the final report by the committee of the extensive scientific proof and peer reviewed information and evidence presented in submissions and representations or evidence given by expert witnesses from Australia and abroad on the potential risks and impacts if a conventional / unconventional gas industry was developed in the South East of South Australia on private land.
The vast majority of submissions and representations to the committee were anti fracking with the only submissions in favour of an unconventional gas development in the South East of South Australia coming from companies and lobbyists engaged by or heavily involved with the oil and gas industry.
In spite of the above decision the South Australian State Government has exercised its right to issue Beach Energy with a $6 million grant to drill an onshore conventional exploration gas well near Penola, supported by the Plan for Accelerating Exploration (PACE) grant scheme stating it aims to bring new gas to the market within 3 years. What about Climate Change?
It is my understanding if you are concerned about unconventional drilling you should be equally concerned about conventional. Well bore integrity and gas leaks, contaminated water, induced seismcity, wells, and the infrastructure much the same with interconnecting gravel roads, pipelines, processing facilities to name a few.
The South Australian State Government has indicated there is a gas shortage is this a true fact?
My understanding is gas prices in South Australia have risen substantially for the reason there has been an increase in demand for gas not a lack of gas. The reason for the increase in demand for gas is that the eastern Australian gas market is now connected to the world gas market allowing domestic gas producers to sell at the export parity price which is substantially higher than current gas prices.
This link is through the Gladstone Liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities in Queensland and as these facilities come online gas prices will rise and gas production will become far more profitable with gas companies keen to expand production in previously undeveloped areas such as the South east of South Australia.
So where does this leave the southeast region, rural communities, the world-renowned agricultural, horticultural and viticultural industries, including the red meat and commercial livestock industry.
Is the South East of South Australia meant to be the sacrificial lamb? (Pardon the pun) for foreign mining and petroleum companies to make the dash for cash at our expense. There is still a high level of concern in the SE SA