Splitting a seam

Social, legal and health issues related to air and water toxic pollution in Australia.

Splitting a seam

Postby HVPA_research » Sun Nov 28, 2010 8:55 am

Comments on An article by Kieran Moran in the Observer
Splitting a seam

FRACTURE stimulation, hydraulic fracturing or “fraccing” is a process used to stimulate or fracture underground coal seams in order to increase the flow of gas and water.

A fluid called “frac fluid”, which primarily consists of water and sand, is pumped down the well bore into an isolated section at high pressure to fracture the coal seam. The sand holds the fracture open to provide a pathway for the gas and water to flow to the gas well for extraction.

Fraccing involves pumping fluid at high pressure into a coal seam to fracture the seam and allow gas to flow readily into wells.

Fraccing fluids used in Queensland are commonly 99 per cent sand and water. According to the government about one per cent is made up of additives such as widely-used chemicals including sodium hypochlorite, hydrochloric acid, cellulose, acetic acid and small amounts of disinfectants.

The gas companies would say that fracking is harmless, wouldn't they. The question is, did Kieran Moran do any independent research? If the gas companies are so confident about how harmless fracking is, would they be prepared to publicly account for every liter of chemicals and water that goes down and comes up from the their gas wells? I mean proper statutory accounting, just like money for taxation purposes, not some cavalier optional reporting as they do at present.

According to the companies, the risk of groundwater contamination is minimal as shallow aquifers are protected by using a steel casing or liner which is then cemented into place, isolating the surrounding rock from the producing coal seams.

In order to get into the coal seam it is necessary to drill through the higher strata that contain fresh water aquifers. That means using drilling fluid chemicals and that is done before casing the bores. Cementing bores comes afterwards and may not be always perfect. Look what happened in the Gulf of Mexico where Halliburton did the cementing!
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