Buru Energy receives government location approval for Rafael 1 gas discovery in Canning Basin

Cain AndrewsBroome Advertiser
The Fitzroy River.
Camera IconThe Fitzroy River. Credit: Damian Kelly

Buru Energy will take the next step in developing their Rafael 1 gas project in the Canning Basin 120km east of Broome, after receiving government location approval.

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety approved Buru’s declaration of location application for the Rafael 1 gas and condensate discovery on July 4.

Discovered in late 2021, Rafael has been independently assessed to have the potential to hold recoverable volumes of over one trillion cubic feet of gas and 20 million barrels of condensate.

The approval clears the way for the future application for a production licence or retention lease which Buru has up to two years to apply for and is required for development of the discovery.

Currently, preparations to acquire a 3D seismic survey are nearing completion with acquisition planned for the third quarter of the 2023 calendar year.

The survey results will be used to optimise well locations ahead of appraisal drilling targeted for 2024.

Chief executive Thomas Nador said the approval by DMIRS of the declaration of location for the discovery was a key step along the path to commercialise the potentially significant resource.

“With full ownership of the Rafael discovery, we are focused on de-risking the resource through good planning and execution discipline, and by doing so, creating shareholder value,” he said.

The decision has come under criticism, however, with Broome-based conservation group Environs Kimberley calling on WA Premier Roger Cook to rule out the industrialisation of the Kimberley through gas fields.

“Buru Energy’s proposed gas field near the National Heritage listed Martuwarra Fitzroy River would lead to the industrialisation of the Kimberley’s world-famous landscape and we’re calling on the Premier Roger Cook to rule this out,” Environs Kimberley spokesperson Martin Pritchard said.

Buru is also in the process of looking at several options to export product from the discovery, including building a petrochemical factory in the Kimberley, constructing a floating gas factory in King Sound and a pipeline to existing gas export facilities in the Pilbara such as Woodside’s North West shelf facilities.

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