20 Feb 2014
The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association is confident the inquiry announced today by the Northern Territory Government will reinforce the findings of previous national and international investigations which have proven that hydraulic fracturing poses minimal environmental risk.
APPEA’s Chief Operating Officer Western Region Stedman Ellis said the inquiry was unnecessary and risked delaying the exploration activity needed to encourage shale gas investment in the Territory.
“Properly regulated, hydraulic fracturing is a safe, well-established and well-understood industry practice,” Mr Ellis said.
“The process has been used in Australia since the 1950s without incident. Worldwide, more than 2.5 million wells have been hydraulically fractured and nowhere has the process been identified as the cause of groundwater contamination.
“The outcomes of the numerous inquiries, reviews and studies that have already been held in Australia and overseas should be more than enough to reassure Territorians that hydraulic fracturing poses minimal risk to the environment.
“For example, the highly-respected Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) last year released a 252-page study, peer-reviewed by the CSIRO, which is a comprehensive scientific statement on shale gas operations in Australia.
“The ACOLA study, which had been commissioned by the Commonwealth Government, found that hydraulic fracturing, if robustly regulated and adequately monitored, presents a low risk of environmental harm.
“APPEA urges the Territory Government to look to authoritative references like the ACOLA report as a starting point rather than initiating yet another ‘ground zero’ examination of well-travelled ground.”