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Qld Government approves commercial shale oil industry

Posted on 18 Feb 2013

Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps says the Queensland Government plans to approve the development of a commercial shale oil industry, but only under strict environmental conditions.

Mr Cripps says existing shale oil operator, Queensland Energy Resources (QER), will be able to progress its trial plant in Gladstone in the state’s central region to a commercial stage.

He says the plant has proved it operates well within environmental requirements.

“The new policy will allow the consideration and development of other oil shale deposits in Queensland of course, pending thorough environmental investigation,” he said.

He says as conventional crude oil supplies dry up, Queensland could fill the void.

“There is a strong opportunity for Queensland to position itself as a major supplier of oil into the future,” Mr Cripps said.

However, Mr Cripps says the previous state government’s 20-year moratorium suspending development of the McFarlane oil shale deposit near Proserpine, north of Mackay, will remain until 2028.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says the oil shale industry will create thousands of jobs across the state and provide a huge royalty stream into the future.

Mr Newman says the development of the state’s burgeoning oil shale industry will occur under strict environmental guidelines.

He says oil shale could become the next major source of liquid fuel supplies in Australia.

“I do accept the criticism about this energy intensiveness, but at the end of the day we are running out of oil,” he said.

“If this thing can work and work competitively and provide that fuel source for this state and potentially an export industry from Gladstone, which is well set up to do that, than that is ultimately a win.”

Mr Newman says other projects are likely to be developed, although the 20-year moratorium on oil shale development near Proserpine will remain in place.

“In fact I say today that I have grave concerns about any prospect of mining occuring in that area,” he said.

“Why – because it’s a wonderful pristine coastal environment and it is adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef and I don’t think it’s tenable to to in there and mine the stuff there.”

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Source: ABC News

For a tutorial on oil shale, head to our ‘Liquid Fuels’ Resources section.


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