An investigation has been launched into whether a leaky gas valve at a fracking site in the Kimberley was damaged by a “third party”.
Footage taken by the anti-fracking movement Lock the Gate last week shows a hand-held gas metre reading high levels of methane near the valve at Buru Energy’s Yulleroo 2 about 70km east of Broome.
Department of Mines and Petroleum executive director Jeff Haworth said dangerous goods inspectors investigated the alleged the leak on Wednesday but no gas readings were detected.
Further inspections revealed the valve on the wellhead had been bent and when manipulated caused a minor leak at levels below the lower explosive limit for methane, Mr Haworth said.
He said the leak posed minimal risk and would be repaired promptly.
The department is investigating the incident because of the “serious nature” of the damage.
“It appears at this stage that there has been no equipment or process failure by the company,” Mr Haworth said.
“The damage presents a serious concern if a third party has been involved.”
Buru Energy said department inspectors confirmed the well was safe and was also investigating how the valve came to be damaged.
A spokesperson for Lock the Gate said they rejected the third party tampering allegation outright.
The spokesperson said it was the department’s responsibility to keep a closer eye on the wells and it made no sense for any of the protectors who were concerned about the environment to damage them.
Broome-based conservationist Martin Pritchard said the footage showed fracking was a polluting industry and had no place in the Kimberley.