SA-BEST candidate for Giles, Tom Antonio, says his party will be calling for a moratorium on proposed fracking in the Arckaringa Basin, east of Coober Pedy, following concerns from residents of the opal mining town.
Residents living in the underground town of Coober Pedy were given only 4 days’ notice for a meeting to discover that the South Australian Government is considering issuing approvals to fracking company Tri-star to drill test holes under their water supply at the Great Artesian Basin, east of the town.
Community members attended the public forum on 7th March where State Government Officers and representatives from SAPEX presented their respective positions on the proposal for simulation fracking for hydrocarbons in the form of gas and oil in the Arckaringa basin.
A company representative has stated, “Tri-Star is proposing to complete a multi well drilling program within PEL123 (and potentially EL122) to test unconventional reservoirs within the Arckaringa Basin. The program will likely consist of both vertical and horizontal wells and a multi stage stimulation program to enhance formation permeability and test oil production potential. In order to permit a stimulation program, Sapex has drafted an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Statement of Environmental Objectives (SEO) for Fracture Stimulation.”
Tri-star told the meeting that they could not provide any guarantees. “What is this Government thinking?” said residents after the meeting?
A petition and a facebook page “UNITED AGAINST FRACKING” has been set up at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2054423058170286/ to garner support against the frackers potentially damaging underground homes and polluting the Great Artesian Basin that the far north local and pastoral communities rely on.
Judy Cram who initiated the local lobby said, “This group is about coming together to save our town from the frackers at our door.”
Tom Antonio said, “Before any drilling commences, a full environmental impact statement needs to be carried out and residents must be consulted.”
“The area does have a record of seismic activity. Residents fear that drilling could trigger seismic activity that could in turn, result in the risk of dug-out homes collapsing on top of them,” he said.
“There also needs to be assurances that underground water supply will not be contaminated by hydrocarbons.”
“No studies have yet been carried out on the effects of fracking in areas prone to seismic activity and near where the majority of residents live underground. Eighty per cent of Coober Pedy residents live in dug-out homes,” said Mr. Antonio.
“This is quite an unusual situation facing Coober Pedy and the residents have every reason to ask questions before any go ahead is given by the government.”
Tom said along with an EIS, expert opinion from seismologists should be sought. “This would then need to be put to the residents and traditional owners in a plebiscite to gauge if there is broad community support for fracking in the basin.”
“Until we get that, there should be a moratorium imposed. That’s what I will be pushing for If I am elected and SA-BEST wins the balance of power at the elections on Saturday,” Tom said.
Further information: Linc Energy that went into administration in April 2016 has been purchased by Tri Star Petroleum, and an application to amend the current mining approvals attached to the previous drilling program has been made by SAPEX a subsidiary of Tristar.
The proposal is to drill at a deeper level of strata in what is thought to be Shale deposits holding Hydrocarbons which consist of gas and liquids East of the Oodnadatta road and probably East of the William creek Road.
The exact extent of the drilling is yet to be determined. The proposal is however to undertake a Fracking program below the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) in relatively hard shale deposits above the Stuart Range formation (relatively impervious) at a depth of 700m to 1700 m and within a zone the applicant considers is stable and will not influence the GAB.
The fracking is anticipated to be 400m below the GAB.
Fracking is undertaken generally by drilling and casing and cement sealing to the zone of fracking. The trials will likely be a combination of Vertical Drilling combined with Horizontal Drilling. The fracking trials are to be undertaken by water pressure injection with a detergent and sand injection to prop the cracking and provide a route for the trial extraction of hydrocarbons.
The Drilling program is described in the documents as analogous to the Cooper Basin Gas fracking program and if successful would potentially be brought full production over a long period in time. The key difference between this project and Cooper Basin is the drilling is under the GAB.
Further reading: Arckaringa Basin Drilling EIR (Draft)