Exploration survey underway

The exploration permit was granted back in 2017, extending across the Shire of Capel, Dardanup and Donnybrook-Balingup and including parts of the City of Bunbury and the City of Busselton. Photo: Supplied.
The exploration permit was granted back in 2017, extending across the Shire of Capel, Dardanup and Donnybrook-Balingup and including parts of the City of Bunbury and the City of Busselton. Photo: Supplied.

Oil and gas exploration company Bunbury Energy has reiterated it does not intend to frack as it finishes a three-day aerial survey across the South West.

The survey, undertaken by Geoscience company CGG Aviation, began on Monday, October 14, and saw a small aircraft fly over the exploration permit area at 1,000 feet above urban areas to assess the subsurface geology and refine the exploration area.

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The exploration permit was granted back in 2017, extending across the Shire of Capel, Dardanup and Donnybrook-Balingup and including parts of the City of Bunbury and the City of Busselton.

It is understood the company has been investigating the South Perth Basin for a number of years, reanalysing information obtained in the 1950s and 60s by applying new technologies.

It is understood the investigation seeks to isolate only conventional gas reserves, as previous exploration indicated the area's geology was not conducive to hydraulic fracturing.

KD.1 managing director Jodi Aitken, who is providing support services for the project, said the survey was the first activity to be undertaken in the permit area and would likely inform where the next lot of investigative work would take place.

"We're looking at the simplest, non-invasive ways to explore the area for natural petroleum and then refine that area," she said.

"It's a large area and very much a conventional gas area.

"Given the state government protocols, it's not allowed to be fracked.

"It's not a fracking geology, and it's not the intent of the company to frack.

"It's essentially revisiting old technologies and applying new technologies to determine whether we can obtain a conventional source down here that will help supply the energy resources in this area."

The Busselton-Dunsborough Mail understands it could take up to six months before the survey yields substantial results, at which time the company is expected to step up its community consultation.

Should the survey yield positive results, Ms Aitken said the company was likely to conduct a non-invasive seismic survey along existing roads.

"If there is a find and there is the ability to bring it to production, definitely local content is a real focus of the company and a really important aspect," she said.

"However, keep in mind that there are a number of activities that need to happen before we get to that point.

"We're potentially talking at least six years before we even contemplate whether we have enough of a find before moving onto a production permit."

The move has been met with opposition from the Gasfield Free South West Alliance, who said industrialised gasfields were incompatible with the region and it was time to move to cleaner renewable energy sources.

The survey will take place during daylight hours, with the noise from the aircraft expected to be no louder than 80 decibels and last no longer than 30 seconds.

For more information, contact your local government or call Bunbury Energy on (08) 9480 0604 or email info@bunburyenergy.com.au