The panel has found that the risks associated with gas extraction techniques are minimal and can be safely managed.
As a result, the legislative impediment to the development of Whitebark’s fully owned Warro Project, located 200 kilometres north of Perth, is now in the process of being lifted by the Western Australian government.
The Warro Project has 4.4 to 11.6 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gas-in-place (GIP).
Whitebark managing director David Messina said: “The WA Government should be congratulated for staring down activists who were pressuring it to ignore the science and ban hydraulic fracturing.
“But it should not ignore that same scientific advice by banning the use of this safe technique in certain areas and on new acreage releases.”
The WA Government has undertaken to implement all the Inquiry’s recommendations by developing and implementing additional approvals and regulations governing the hydraulic fracturing of exploration and productions wells.
This process is expected to require many months to achieve and therefore any hydraulic fracturing activity in Western Australia may not be able to occur until 2020.
Whitebark is currently undertaking a multi-stage, hydraulic fracturing program in Canada this month with its joint venture partner.
The program is being undertaken in an active farming area within a strong government regulatory regime.
Fracture stimulation will cost 20% of a similar program in WA and the government approval process was achieved within four weeks of application.