Shire of Irwin Community Roundtable in progress

Straight Talking at Community Roundtable

AWE is pleased the independently facilitated Shire of Irwin Community Roundtable has got off to a strong start. The Roundtable was formed in response to a range of local stakeholder views about AWE’s ongoing presence in the region, some of which showed strong support for AWE and others which showed strong concerns about the potential use of hydraulic fracture stimulation. There is a lot of information circulating about the onshore petroleum sector, particularly in the lead up to the state election; some of it is confusing, scary and in some cases inaccurate.

The Roundtable format is based on the success of the AWE sponsored Drover-1 Shire of Coorow Community Reference Group. It facilitates open discussion and aims to develop a better understanding of AWE’s planned activities and foster discussion about the various community members’ views – with the purpose that any concerns are addressed and identified benefits are maximised.

Roundtable meetings held to date have had a good cross-section of participants. Key points raised at the meetings so far are:

  • Gas from the Waitsia field is produced from the same type of conventional reservoirs that have been producing gas for domestic consumption for more than 50 years in the Mid West.
  • The Waitsia gas will gradually replace the gas that has been produced since 1971 at the Dongara and Corybas Fields. The Dongara and Corybas fields are nearing depletion and neither are currently producing.
  • Since the exciting 2014 discovery, AWE’s development plans have been focussed on the Waitsia and Senecio fields. AWE has been regularly sharing progress updates with stakeholders, especially local community.
  • Like Stage 1A, the next phase of the Waitsia Gas Project, Stage 2, will not involve hydraulic fracture stimulation.
  • Stage 2 will initially involve drilling of two appraisal wells in 2017. Planning for Stage 2, which includes a new gas processing facility and a new spur connecting to an existing pipeline, is now underway.
  • AWE only operates on land where landholder agreements have been agreed to by the property owner. Most of our activities are on cleared agricultural land so any impacts on native vegetation, including wildflowers, are negligible
  • AWE hires locally based contractors to run its facilities and intends to continue using local suppliers and service providers wherever possible. AWE is an active member of the Mid West Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and receives strong membership support from this organisation.
  • The Stage 2 development means that the people employed for Dongara and Corybas field production, and who live in the region, will continue to be employed for the Waitsia gas field production. It also provides ongoing royalty payments to Western Australia, whereas offshore gas production typically does not.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Roundtable, please contact the independent facilitator, Kris Barnes, Meet2Create, (m: 0411 700 259, e: krisbarnes@iinet.net.au). Or if you’d like more information about any of AWE’s activities, please have a look at our website or send an email (e: midwest@awexplore.com).

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