Oil and Gas News

CSIRO confirms hydraulic fracturing safe for environment

A three-year scientific study by the CSIRO into the air, water and soil impacts of hydraulic fracturing in Queensland has found there is little to no impact on air quality, soils, groundwater and waterways.

The research objectives for air, water and soil impacts of hydraulic fracturing in the Surat Basin, Queensland, was conducted by the CSIRO’s gas industry social and environmental research alliance (GISERA). It was developed due to concerns about the potential for chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations.

As part of the study, CSIRO analysed air, water and soil samples taken before, during and up to six months after hydraulic fracturing operations at six coal seam gas wells in the Surat Basin.

The study also found current water treatment technology used for treating water produced from coal seam gas wells is effective in removing hydraulic fracturing chemicals and naturally occurring chemic to within relevant water quality guidelines.

GISERA director Damian Barrett said that the CSIRO research conducted via GISERA in the region was an Australian first and provided unique insights into the impacts of hydraulic fracturing in Australia.

“This new research provides valuable data about hydraulic fracturing in coal seam gas formations in the Surat Basin, Queensland,” Barrett said.

“Clearly governance, industry regulation and operational integrity are crucial in managing risk and potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing.”

Australian Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the CSIRO report should pave the way for further investment in gas exploration and development across Australia.

“It found that best practice fracking operations that have been adopted in the Basin had little to no environmental impact, even water produced directly from the wells showed no chemical residues above normal background levels within 40 days of the fracking operation taking place,” Pitt said.

With Arrow Energy announcing last week it would proceed with a coal seam gas (CSG) development in the Surat Basin, Pitt believes the report will “dispel the misinformation anti-gas activists have been spreading about the CSG industry”.

“The Coalition Government is committed to support the resources sector, which will and important role in driving our national economic recovery as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pitt added.