Fracking a cause for concern - Labour
Thu, 03 Nov 2011 6:17p.m.
By Tony Reid
A controversial gas extraction process has been identified as the probable cause of two small earthquakes in Britain.
Fracking, as it's commonly known, is used in many parts of the world including New Zealand.
Its technical name is ‘hydraulic fracturing’ – the process of pumping water, sand and chemicals underground at high pressure, forcing tiny gaps in the rock to expand. This releases gas, which travels up to the surface to be captured.
In the United States fracking is controversial, with claims that it leads to groundwater contamination. On one occasion a drilling mistake saw water contaminated with methane gas.
When the ground began to rumble in Lancashire in the UK where fracking was being carried out, the drilling company asked for a report.
The findings show the events were caused by fracking operations/
The findings have implications here in New Zealand – Shell, Greymouth Petroleum, and Todd Energy all carry out fracking in Taranaki.
However, industry bodies say there is as much risk of a fracking disaster in New Zealand as of the Auckland Harbour Bridge falling down, and the process is regarded as a manageable and safe one.
However, Labour MP Stuart Nash says the findings are “alarming” and let slip that fracking will come up as part of Labour’s environmental policy, due to be released on Sunday.
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5/11/2011 1:35:07 p.m.
@Bernie Napp, perhaps you should mention that you work in the oil and gas industry for Straterra.
Everyone else in NZ needs to know this a) fracking can pollute water b) fracking vertically has been used for a few years, fracking horizontally has been used for less than a year c) disposal wells from fracking cause earthquakes - scientists and geologists from US and Britain agree d) coal seam gas is considered the property of the crown - if your property has mining potential they don't need your permission to extract it (see Australian version of 60 minutes episode where greenies and farmers are working together to stop it)
4/11/2011 3:18:52 p.m.
Nice thoughts buddy, but could you please step away from your private jet which hides your Spanish style Bungalow with the Merc parked out the back. Seriously though Ning, it is us "the consumer" who want the very products that the "polluters" makes and supplies... To be honest, humans have to ALL OUT move away from the materialism we all crave so that substantial changes can be made!!!
4/11/2011 1:23:13 p.m.
Anthony - Really, the whole of the Southern Alps came out from under the sea to its dizzy heights of around 15,000 feet (until NATURAL erosion bought it down to its current level) due to earth quakes in the area. The whole of the Canterbury Plains are a result of the mountains slow (but deliberate) erosion process. Do not equate 20 million years of our planets life with our meagre 70 years life span. Really, I truly believe that some would think that the earth has always been like it looks NOW. Alarmists isn't the word for some of the scaremongering groups out there!!!
4/11/2011 12:24:16 p.m.
Ning Tan wrote:
Fracking just became an election issue. When concerned citizens raise an issue, and it's not met with transparency by certain parties, how does this benefit society? Too often, rash actions are taken to fuel our unsustainable habits. It's time we took a moment to think those actions over.
4/11/2011 10:34:13 a.m.
@Anthony, It might surprise you but I am real! The problem may be fracking but the issue is shale gas. The extreme environmental movement is afraid that shale gas may be a medium term solution for the energy crisis. If shale gas can be extracted safely and that it is demonstrably less polluting than refined oil then the world can go ahead and enjoy the relatively unrestrained use of our resources. Greenies feel threatened by shale gas and try to panic those of limited judgement to cry out against the technology. Look at all the little sheep who have bleated in this column. The world isn't going to end if shale gas comes on line seriously- it will mean that our consumerism will be sustained over a few dozen more life-times. Enjoy your SUVs, rare earth based technology, drink more wine and get a life yourselves. Much more pleasant than watching the sky fall every time some scientist prolongs our society's resources. :)
4/11/2011 9:48:11 a.m.
The disingenuous comment from the oil company executive in the news item who stated that there was as much chance of a fracking disaster here in NZ than there is of the Auckland harbour bridge falling down, is far from reassuring. That comment is similar to the belief that prior to Sept 2010 there was as much chance of a major disastrous earthquake to occur in Canterbury, than there was of the Auckland harbour bridge falling down – yet several major quakes in Canterbury occurred in the space of one year!
4/11/2011 9:43:45 a.m.
Bernie Napp wrote:
I urge everyone with an interest in fracking to research the issue carefully. Bear in mind that those parts of the US where fracking has been carried out have a history of more than 100 years of oil and gas drilling, using all sorts of technology. In almost all cases, the water contamination issues described in, say, Gasland, have nothing to do with fracking. Dodgy practices in the US have occurred, but none of the companies involved operate in New Zealand. As to the earthquake scare, some ground vibration is inevitable but please do not confuse that with the gigantic forces of nature, that have been unleashed in Christchurch.
4/11/2011 9:05:42 a.m.
The sad part is that with all the resouces at his disposal Stu (Labour) would know this is a non-issue. Labour is using alarmist politics to gain votes. I have done my research also: In NZ, fraccing is done to enhance the flow performance of reservoir rocks. This is done infrequently in rock at depths around 4km (4000m). The process involves using water pressure to locally crack the rock. Sand grains are pumped into the crack to keep it open. The "chemical" used is just starch. Drinking aquifers rarely occur at depths greater than a few hundred meters, deeper than this the water is too brackish to drink. We need leadership from our politicians not scaremongering. Bert, Stephanie et al - I encouage you to find out more. To me, polution of air and waterways is a far, far bigger concern.
4/11/2011 8:52:57 a.m.
Mr Altrout should get real - NZ is an earthquake prone country - England is not! Does he realize that exploration companies are intending to drill in the Canterbury basin, in spite of the major quakes over the past year. Fracking needs to be stopped - period! A moratorium at worse, but a complete ban at best!
4/11/2011 7:10:01 a.m.
@ Bert. If you have the results of your "extensive research" and have something that is relevant to New Zealand practices and conditions then you have an obligation to share it with the public. If not, then you sound like someone who is trying to bring PANIC!!! into the debate. I suspect that you can't separate fact from overseas Greenie politics.
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