VICTORIA will wait to see if fracking works in other states before it gives the green light to the contentious industry practice, Premier Denis Napthine says.
Pressure is building on the state government to make up its mind on the controversial mining method that involves injecting high-pressure water, sand and chemicals deep underground to rupture rocks and extract gas reserves.
Companies have previously hoped to use the method in the south-west but have withdrawn plans.
The government is still stalling on a decision to lift the moratorium for the practice which has been in place for more than a year.
With brown coal and offshore gas propping up Victoria, Dr Napthine said there was no urgency for the government to make a move.
“We don’t have to hurry down this track like other jurisdictions who don’t have the energy resources we have,” Dr Napthine said.
“We’ll be looking at what happens internationally and in other states. I can assure the people of our region, and the people of Victoria, our government will not be pursuing any onshore gas processes unless we are absolutely satisfied of the environmental protections and that it can be done in a safe way. We’re happy to sit back and watch what happens in New South Wales and Queensland and learn from that process.”
Lakes Oils NL hopes to have the fracking ban overturned so it can tap into unconventional tight gas wells in Gippsland.
Tight gas is separate to coal seam gas, which involves extraction of gas beneath coal reserves. But both still require the fracture method for extraction.
The company has several conventional gas wells in the south-west. Chairman Robert Annells said it had “no intention to do any fracking in that area at all”.
But he said the ban had been a knee- jerk reaction to opponents who say the method threatens to contaminate water supplies.
“There’s plenty of data. I’m quite confident the science will win out in the end,” Mr Annells said.
Mr Annells said Australia could be facing a looming gas shortage with the opening of Queensland’s export terminals potentially leading to companies supplying the international market, where prices are higher for the resource.