Conventional oil exploration recommended for environmental approval

Release date: 
July 2, 2021

A proposal to drill one conventional oil exploration well in the Perth Basin has been recommended for environmental approval by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), subject to conditions including a requirement for rehabilitation plans.

RCMA Australia Pty Ltd proposes to drill one exploration oil well about 11km south of Dongara/Port Denison and within the 69,161ha Beekeepers Nature Reserve. The project includes site preparation, drilling, decommissioning, restoration and rehabilitation.

The Cervantes proposal does not involve fracking and has a timeframe of up to six months. The site would require the clearing of 5.3ha of native vegetation for the well pad and road widening.

EPA Chair Professor Matthew Tonts said the EPA had considered minimisation measures proposed by the RCMA, as well as the relatively small area of disturbance.

“The EPA is satisfied that the risk of impacts such as unplanned fire, weed and disease introduction and spread within the Beekeepers Nature Reserve have been planned for and will be mitigated with the EPA’s recommended conditions,” Professor Tonts said.

“During its assessment, the EPA took into account the short timeframe of the project and measures proposed to minimise environmental impact including locating the well to avoid the sensitive dunes in the Reserve and accommodating personnel in an offsite camp to minimise clearing.

“It should also be noted that if any future production or hydraulic fracture stimulation were proposed for this site, a separate assessment and approvals process would be required.”

The proponent will also be required to obtain an exploration permit under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967 and approval from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

The EPA report and recommendations will be subject to a two-week appeal period commencing 2 July 2021 and closing 16 July 2021.

The Minister for Environment will make the final decision on the proposal. EPA Report 1702 can be found here.

EPA Media Contact: Jenni Storey on 0434 734 997

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