Australia’s oil and gas industry organization Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Associated Ltd. (APPEA) commented Saturday that the Western Australian (WA) Labor Party is jeopardizing jobs and investment in the state’s oil and gas industry by supporting calls for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
The WA Labor Party conference had passed a resolution over the weekend for a public enquiry on gas fracking and a moratorium until it could be shown that the environment was not harmed, local media The West Australian said in a report Monday.
Responding to the WA Labor Party’s resolution, APPEA Chief Operating Officer (COO) Western Region Stedman Ellis pointed out that the moratorium would prevent the exploration activity needed to encourage onshore gas investment.
“It is disappointing that Labor’s State Conference has today chosen to ignore the clear evidence which shows that hydraulic fracturing is a safe, well-understood technology that has been used in WA for decades … Numerous studies here in Australia and overseas have shown that any risks can be safely managed with proper regulation and good industry practices. Importantly, the experience in Queensland over the past five years demonstrates the importance of onshore gas projects to regional communities and farmers,” Ellis said.
The APPEA COO added that Labor’s call for another inquiry made no sense when a two-year inquiry into hydraulic fracturing by a WA Parliamentary Committee was expected to deliver its final report later this year.
“The onshore gas industry has the potential to become an important driver of jobs and economic development in regional WA. Its activities are already subject to strict regulation by government and its participants are committed to high standards of health, safety and environmental management. Moratoriums and unnecessary inquiries will not only damage the industry’s development, they also tarnish WA’s reputation as an attractive destination of oil and gas investment,” according to Ellis.
APPEA said July 24 that Australia has a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to build a world-class gas industry, where there are more than $200 billion worth of new gas export projects underway despite intense competition from over 20 other countries.
“The recent collapse in the international oil price is putting all gas development in Australia under pressure. Policies which undermine our global competitiveness and our ability to attract investment will compound this pressure. Australia cannot afford to increase sovereign risk and project costs if it wishes to convert its gas reserves into jobs, royalties and exports,” APPEA Chief Executive Malcolm Roberts said in the July 24 press release.
Meanwhile, Labor Party’s Shadow Minister for Resources Gary Gray spoke in favor of natural gas development and fracking at the WA Labor Party Conference Saturday.
“While I commend Adrian Evans and Andrew Dobbs for the effort that has gone into developing this amendment (calling for a moratorium on fracking), I do not support it,” Gray said, as quoted in a media statement published Sunday on the Australian Labor Party’s website.
“Fracking has been successfully and safely used in Australia for over 50 years. Unconventional gas delivers three quarters of the gas that is burned and consumed producing electricity and driving industry on the East Coast. This is good technology.”
“I do not believe that there is a need for WA to place a moratorium on the use of fracking technology. Applying this technology has the potential to unlock significant gas resources. Good regulation based on science is critical to getting this important gas industry under way, generating low carbon energy, jobs, wealth and opportunity in Western Australia,” Gray added.