The government of Australia's state of Queensland intends to give the go-ahead to the development of a commercial shale oil industry. However this might only be able to happen if certain environment requirements are met.
The first move under the plan will be allowing shale oil operator Queensland Energy Resources (QER) to proceed with bringing its trial plant in Gladstone to full commercial operation. The plant has been running for a couple of years and has already demonstrated it can operate without harming the environment, according to the minister. The strategy also envisages developing other oil shale fields in the state, but first monitoring will be carried out to examine their potential environmental impact, Crips explained.
The legislation changes are intended to address the depletion of crude oil reserves and make Queensland a leading supplier of oil going forward. Besides, opening up the oil shale industry will also have a favourable impact on the economy, as it will result in the creation of thousands of jobs in the state and will see fresh money flowing into Queensland's coffers, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says.
The premier admitted that he was greatly concerned about any potential mining activities in the area since such development would have a devastating effect on the local ecosystem. Besides, the deposit is close to the Great Barrier Reef, Australia's most spectacular natural feature and the world's largest coral reef.