Sabotage confirmed at fracking gas well

A Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) investigation has found a leaking valve at a Buru Energy gas well was deliberately damaged.

WA police will now investigate the incident to identify those responsible for the sabotage, which took place at the Yulleroo 2 gas well, about 70 kilometres east of Broome.

The leaking valve was first reported to DMP by environmental group Environs Kimberley, with footage taken by anti-fracking group Lock the Gate.

The footage shows a hand held gas detector registering high readings, taken by an individual who had to jump the fence of the well site to get near the damaged valve.

Environs Kimberley claimed the gas meter reading were “dangerous enough to explode” however DMP investigators found gas leakage at the valve was below the Lower Explosive Limit for methane.

DMP executive director (petroleum) Jeff Haworth said the preliminary investigation by dangerous goods inspectors identified unauthorised access to the site and deliberate damage to the valve on the well head,” Mr Haworth said.

“No gas readings were detected on the site initially, however certified gas detectors registered meter readings when the broken valve was manipulated to cause the gas to leak.”

Haworth expressed his concern that the people responsible for making the video footage had taken equipment that was not rated as intrinsically safe into an area with a potentially hazardous gas leak.

“It is extremely dangerous to take electrical equipment that is not properly certified, such as the gas meter in the video, into a hazardous location,” Haworth said.

“It could have endangered the lives of those within the compound had the gas levels been as high as claimed.”

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