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Project Summary

SAPEX has proposed to use fracture stimulation techniques on petroleum wells in PELs 122 & 123 in the Arckaringa Basin of South Australia to create small cracks or fractures in the formations near the well and allow oil and gas to flow to the well more easily.

SAPEX intends to evaluate the size and commerciality of the oil and gas resources within target shale formations including the Stuart Range and Boorthanna Formation. Shale targets are expected to range between 700-1800m deep in both licences.

For further information on natural gas extraction in South Australia please see our the Facts Brochure on Natural Gas Extraction in South Australia.

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Statement of Environmental Objectives and Environmental Impact Report

All regulated activities conducted under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 (PGE Act) must have an approved Statement of Environmental Objectives (SEO) in place with which they comply, prepared on the basis of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). SAPEX Limited has prepared an EIR and SEO in relation to PEL 122 & 123 fracture stimulation project for assessment by the Department for Energy and Mining (DEM), in close consultation with relevant co-regulatory agencies.

Environmental Impact Report - SAPEX, PEL 122 & 123 Fracture Stimulation Activities, October 2018Statement of Environmental Objectives - SAPEX, PEL 122 & 123 Fracture Stimulation Activities, October 2018
 
Download the Environmental Impact Report (PDF 6.7MB) Download the Statement of Environmental Objectives (PDF 776KB)



For further information on the approvals process, including relevant stages and consultation requirements, please see Activity Approval Process.

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Public Consultation

All regulated activities conducted under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 must have an approved Statement of Environmental Objectives (SEO) in place with which they comply, prepared on the basis of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). If an activity is deemed by the Department for Energy and Mining (DEM), in consultation with relevant co-regulatory agencies, to be of Medium Impact according to the criteria for classifying the level of environmental impact of regulated activities then public comment will be sought on the associated EIR and draft SEO.

DEM on 7 February 2018 invited public comment on the proposed SAPEX PEL 122 & 123 fracture stimulation activities Environmental Impact Report and draft Statement of Environmental Objectives, publicly available above.

Please note, physical copies of the Environmental Impact Report and draft Statement of Environmental Objectives relevant to the proposed SAPEX PEL 122 & 123 fracture stimulation activities are available from DEM at the Energy Resources Division office, Level 4, 11 Waymouth Street, Adelaide SA 5000.

Submissions closed at 5:00pm on 4 June 2018

A number of issues were raised by internal government and the wider public in a total of 35 submissions, including:

  • potential for fracture propagation into overlying Great Artesian Basin (GAB) aquifers causing contamination, and/or aquifer depletion and/or impacts to GAB springs;
  • potential for fracture stimulation induced seismicity causing stability problems for underground houses within Coober Pedy and/or impact on tourism; and
  • potential impacts on Aboriginal heritage

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Approvals

All prospective operators, prior to any on-ground activities, must adhere to the three stage approvals process under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000, which is outlined in the Guide to the licensing and approvals process for exploration, retention and production activities flowchart.

Stage 1 - Licensing - APPROVAL GRANTED
Stage 2 - SEO Approval - Gazetted on 4 April 2019 - APPROVAL GRANTED
Stage 3 - Activity Approval - NO SUBMISSIONS AT PRESENT

The Licence Approval process (Stage 1) grants exclusive rights to an area to explore for resources but does not grant rights to undertake on-ground activities.

SAPEX Limited were granted Petroleum Exploration Licences 122 and 123 in October 2006

Further information on the Licensing process is available on the License Applications page

The Minister for Energy and Mining on 4 April 2019 approved the SAPEX Limited Statement of Environmental Objectives (SEO) in accordance with Part 12 of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000. The Department for Energy and Mining (DEM) has developed an assessment report to summarise the main findings in relation to the potential issues and environmental risks associated with SAPEX Limited’s PEL 122 & 123 Fracture Stimulation Activities within the Arckaringa Basin and how they will be managed. The source of this information is from that detailed in the submitted Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and from additional information acquired by the DEM as the lead regulator of this project. All this information along with public submissions and advice from other co-regulatory agencies was utilised to inform the approval process for the SEO under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000.

Whilst approval of the SEO is a significant step within the approvals process, this still does not provide rights to SAPEX Limited to begin on-ground works. To do this, SAPEX Limited will need to proceed to the third and final approval stage to obtain approval to commence on ground activities. This entails submission to DEM for evaluation and approval of all technical and engineering designs relating to this activity are in accordance with recognised industry standards and fit for the purpose for achieving the requirements of the final approved SEO objectives and conditions.

This Stage 3 approval process will also include, evaluation and approval of the licensee’s Environmental, Health and Safety Management Systems, monitoring plans, fracture stimulation modelling, environmental assessments, environmental management plans, rehabilitation plans, cultural heritage assessments and emergency response procedures that are critical to the demonstrable achievement of the SEO objectives. Further information on Stage 3 approvals are provided within the assessment report.

At present, DEM ERD has not received any activity notifications for approval under Regulation 19 of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Regulations 2013.

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Assessment Report

The DEM has developed an assessment report to summarise the main findings in relation to the potential issues and environmental risks associated with the SAPEX PEL 122 & 123 fracture stimulation activities proposal and how they will be managed. The source of this information is from that detailed in the submitted EIR and Draft SEO and from additional information and knowledge acquired by DEM as the lead regulator of this project. A copy of this assessment summary report can be accessed below.

Assessment of SAPEX Ltd's Proposed Fracture Stimulation Activities within the Arckaringa Basin

Download the Assessment of SAPEX Ltd's Proposed Fracture Stimulation Activities within the Arckaringa Basin (PDF 3.3MB)

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Frequently Asked Questions

The following Frequently Asked Questions resource aims to provide the public with easily accessible and comprehensive responses to a range of questions asked by the public in relation to fracture stimulation activities in South Australia. If you have a relevant questions not answered in the following Frequently Asked Questions resource, please contact the Energy Resources Division.

The Facts - Natural Gas and Fracture Stimulation in South Australia

Download the brochure about the Facts on Natural Gas extraction in South Australia (PDF 1.4MB)

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Presentations

Presentations by the Energy Resources Division in relation to the SAPEX PEL 122 & 123 fracture stimulation activities are provided below.

Presented atPresented by and title of presentation

Coober Pedy Council

7 March 2018

SAPEX Limited on PEL 122 & 123 Fracture Stimulation Activities (PDF 1.8MB)
Michael Malavazos, Director - Engineering Operations


Please note: these presentations are intended to provide general information on the Energy Resources Division, its role and regulatory functions, and proposed or current licensee projects under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 and associated regulations. Presentations should be considered in the context of the relevant legislation.

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