There has been little discussion about a shale gas industry in Australia, but it seems that may soon change. With breakfast this morning came the story that could be soon dwarfed by a shale gas industry that could be six times larger.

Shale gas is found in more remote basins:

in northwest Western Australia, the Cooper Basin in the northeast corner of South Australia and into Queensland, as well as smaller reservoirs in the Maryborough Basin. Exploration is also under way in central Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

For this reason, and because it is deeper and hence separated further from aquifers used for agriculture and other domestic purposes, shale gas is held to have a lesser environmental impact. But it is also anticipated that all of the possible 150,000 wells will need to be fracked. The water requirement could be 11 million litres per well, or an annual requirement equivalent to Melbourne’s water consumption.

This must cause concern.

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