What has Bunbury Energy done to consult with the community about its project?

Since being awarded preferred tenderer in early 2015, Bunbury Energy has consulted widely with Traditional Owners regarding its planned exploration activities. The company has also worked closely with the Department of Mines and Petroleum to progress the requirements of the exploration permit.

The company has also directly engaged the elected representatives of three local Shires of Dardanup, Capel and Donnybrook-Balingup and continues to liaise closely with them on an extended community engagement programme.

Bunbury Energy wants to do the right thing, be a good neighbour and conduct ourselves in a way that does not interfere with anyone’s rights.

What information has Bunbury Energy released about its plans?

In this early stage before the permit has been awarded, Bunbury Energy’s focus has been working closely with the Department of Mines and Petroleum and local Shires.

We have met with the three local Shires of Capel, Dardanup and Donnybrook-Balingup and are continuing discussions on a regular basis.

How can the community find out more?

People wanting to know more about Bunbury Energy can find a list of contacts and communications channels under the “Contact us" section of this website.

We would also encourage people wanting to understand how the industry is strictly regulated to visit the Department of Mines and Petroleum’s website.

Can Bunbury Energy guarantee that exploration will not have any negative impacts on the Yarragadee Aquifer?

The first phases of exploration – aerial and seismic surveys – are very low impact and do not involve any drilling below the surface.

All exploration activity is strictly regulated under WA’s multi-agency approvals process. Department of Mines and Petroleum and other government agencies, such as the departments of Water, Environment, Parks and Wildlife, Health and EPA, all consider environmental, health, water and safety regulatory requirements.

As part of Bunbury Energy’s discussions with the community, we will be talking at length about how gas exploration activities protect ground water to ensure that there is no possibility of aquifers intermingling or being contaminated as a result of the Company's activities.

What measures will Bunbury Energy put in place to manage the environmental impact of its exploration?

As part of its approvals process, Bunbury Energy is required to identify environmental impacts and risks associated with the proposed activity and how each of these risks would be mitigated or managed.

Bunbury Energy will prepare an Environmental Plan for each phase of its exploration program, which is a legally binding management document, assessed by the Department of Mines and Petroleum and other State Government agencies.

Bunbury Energy’s Environmental Plan must be approved by the Department of Mines and Petroleum before exploration commences.

What benefits will Bunbury Energy bring the local community, and how can you be sure these will be kept in the region?

Bunbury Energy has met with the Bunbury Chamber of Commerce and will continue its engagement with this important regional group to ensure local companies play a role in Bunbury Energy’s activities.

Bunbury Energy estimates that over 95% of all expenditure will be on Western Australia companies and local suppliers and looks forward to providing opportunities to local businesses.

What is Bunbury Energy’s view on claims by online activists that the South West should declare itself gas free?

Bunbury Energy encourages people to keep an open mind on all possible economic development opportunities for the region. A new gas discovery in the South West would make a positive contribution to the South West through new jobs, investment and greater energy self-sufficiency of the region. Some of the South West’s largest employers are also very large gas users and play a vital role in the local and broader WA economy.

There is a lot of information on the internet that - if not questioned - can cause people significant concern. It is our responsibility to provide factual information on our specific exploration program. We are fully committed to doing this.

We believe that a small gas development within a small footprint (100m by 100m) could be delivered and coexist with other industries in the region much the same as heavy, medium and light industry already exists alongside tourism, agriculture and lifestyle development.

Is Bunbury Energy the same company as Unconventional Resources? Why has the name changed?

Unconventional Resources was renamed Bunbury Energy in 2015. Unconventional Resources was thought to be a confusing name given the company is pursuing conventional gas which does not require hydraulic fracturing. The name Bunbury Energy is much more reflective of the company’s activities and geographic focus.

Do you acquire seismic on the verge of the road or on the road itself?

Seismic studies along existing public roadsides will be undertaken on the verge as a first preference.

Where there is not sufficient room, the survey trucks will survey the road. The seismic method is very low impact and does no harm to the road surface.

Seismic surveys can be safely completed on both gravel and sealed roads.

What is the weight of the trucks and the pressure of the vibrating plate? Can they damage roads?

The Hemi 50 model trucks that we anticipate using have an axle weight of around seven tonnes per axle. The plates do not damage roads. Seismic has been acquired along roads for many years.

If a conventional gas discovery is made, what footprint will be required for its development?

In exploration, especially in an area which has never been explored before, the probability of finding any gas is low. While we are making considerable investments in the region with the aim of discovering a local supply of natural gas for the south west, it is an accepted fact that most oil and gas exploration is unsuccessful. In the Perth Basin, from Geraldton to Leeuwin, more than 300 exploration wells have been drilled. In the South Perth Basin (south of Perth) 46 wells have been drilled and 1 non-commercial discovery at Whicher Range has been made.

In an area the size of Bunbury Energy’s permit area (668 square kilometres), if any discoveries are made at all, it would be unlikely that more than two would be found. In the entire onshore section of the Perth Basin from Geraldton to Leeuwin (an area of 45,000 square kilometres), 31 discoveries have been made. This equates to around one discovery for every 1500 square kilometres. Recent gas fields that have been discovered are being accessed from a single well pad of 100m by 100m (1 hectare) by using angled drilling techniques. Any gas plant required would also fit onto the same pad. Thus, the land required for gas development is very small, especially when compared to mineral extraction and mining operations.

Would you acquire seismic through vineyards or orchards?

No. Bunbury Energy will avoid seismic studies on high value agricultural areas such as vineyards and orchards. We have a range of options and can be flexible with acquiring seismic data and therefore we will avoid areas of importance to local farmers and the community.

Does the seismic vibration frighten cows?

No, seismic surveys cannot be heard or felt from over 15m away.

How much does it cost to drill a well?

An average well costs between $7-10 million, with no guarantee of success.

How will you work with landowners throughout your exploration programme?

The first phase of seismic is very non-invasive and low impact and is planned to be on public roadsides only. No access to private property will be required.

Bunbury Energy’s goal is to be a good neighbour and conduct ourselves in a way that doesn’t interfere with anyone’s rights. An oil and gas company cannot enter onto any private land in WA without the landholder’s permission.

In our experience, access will usually be granted once the landowner is informed about the true impact of our activities and appropriately compensated for any disturbance or inconvenience. In an effort to make this process as simple, reliable and transparent as possible, the industry has worked with the peak farming groups to generate “standard forms” and explanatory notes setting out the landowner’s rights. Bunbury Energy is in full agreement with this protocol and will follow it.

Oil and gas companies work to accommodate a farmer’s requirements whenever possible and often have quite a bit of flexibility to alter things to suit both parties. The CEO of Bunbury Energy, Wal Muir, has been talking to landholders and explaining the exploration process for more than 30 years. In all that time, he has never failed to get the agreement of landholders to come onto their properties.