A new framework for resource development released by Queensland's Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps focuses on the use of deep oil and gas projects to further bolster the Sunshine State's economic prospects.
“Queensland is potentially rich in deep and oil resources and tapping these would build on the State Government’s commitment to growing the resources sector and creating more jobs for families in the regions,” said Cripps.
In addition to the immense export potential of Queensland’s fossil fuel deposits, Cripps also touted the advantages conferred by energy independence.
“This industry has enormous potential to increase the state’s domestic and export gas supplies, while delivering the substantial economic benefits for Queensland that come from having a secure energy supply,” he stated.
He said the Newman government has made fostering the development of the state’s fledgling deep oil and gas industry a key part of the its three decade plan for the resources sector, as embodied by its ResourcesQ initiative which was launched in May.
The 12 recommendations contained by the new framework will help further this goal in areas including improvements to geoscientific understanding of deep oil and gas reserves and collaborating with local landholders and communities.
Cripps said one key recommendation related to the development of a long-term industrial strategy for the resource-rich Cooper Basin, whose deep gas potential has already been demonstrated by exploitation activities across the border.
“The Cooper Basin already has deep gas production on the South Australian side of the border, as well as a long history of conventional oil and gas development,” he said. “The Cooper Basin Industry Development Strategy will take a big-picture, long-term view of how all resource projects in this area can operate collaboratively in a way that’s best for the local community and economically viable.”
Not everyone is happy with the Queensland government’s push to develop its deep oil and gas resources, however, due the potential environmental impacts of new exploitation technologies such as fracking.
Dr Bob Morrish of the Cooper Creek Protection Group is concerned about the effects of fracking and other deep mining techniques on Queensland’s scarce water reserves.
Morrish points out that deep oil and gas mining will require copious amounts of water, which will presumably come from the aquifers of the Great Artesian Basin, potentially leading to contamination or depletion of these critical reserves.
“There’ll be totally new and untried techniques working out how to get deep shale gas, which will, by all accounts, require a lot of hydraulic fracturing,” he told ABC Rural.