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Scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracturing in the Northern Territory



Scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracturing in the Northern Territory

Other title

Scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracturing of unconventional reservoirs in the Northern Territory; Interim report into hydraulic fracturing; Final Report: Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing; Final Report Appendices: Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing; Draft Final Report : Scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracturing; Draft Final Report Appendices : Scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracturing; Summary of Draft Final Report : Scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracturing; Background and issues paper; Fracking implementation plan; Fracking implementation plan Parts 2 - Recommendations


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The report sets out the work undertaken by the Inquiry to date in assessing the impacts and risks associated with any potential onshore unconventional shale gas development in the Northern Territory. The report explains the method by which the Inquiry proposes to gather and then assess the evidence relevant to the issues that have been identified and discussed with the public. Where appropriate, the Interim Report makes some preliminary assessments about the likelihood of some of those risks eventuating as well as the methods to mitigate the risks. Finally, the report de4scribes the future work of the Inquiry that will be undertaken prior to the release of its draft Final Report by the end of the year.; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).


The Inquiry is Chaired by Justice Rachel Pepper. The panel comprises 10 eminent scientists across a range of disciplines. Includes bibliographical references : pages 161-170. Publication spans 2017-2018; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).

Table of contents

Executive summary -- Purpose of the Inquiry -- Work of the Inquiry to date -- Evidence and risk assessment methodology -- Summary of discussions at community forums and the revised list of issues -- Shale gas development and management -- Shale gas in Australia and the Northern Territory -- Water -- Land -- Greenhouse gas emissions -- Public health -- Aboriginal people and their culture -- Social impacts -- Economic impacts -- Regulatory reform -- Future work of the Inquiry -- Appendices 1-14




Gas wells -- Hydraulic fracturing; Coalbed methane -- Environmental aspects -- Northern Territory; Coalbed methane -- Economic aspects -- Northern Territory; Shale gas

Publisher name

Hydraulic Fracturing Inquiry; Northern Territory Government

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10 volumes : colour illustrations, colour maps ; 30 cm.

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https://hdl.handle.net/10070/444277; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/444275; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/444278; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/444280; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/444284; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/444287; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/444289; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/444290; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/444291

Page content

SUMMARY OF THE DRAFT FINAL REPORT - SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY INTO HYDRAULIC FRACTURING IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY 23 Recommendation 7.15 That appropriate site-specific modelling of the local groundwater system must be undertaken before any water is extracted for the purposes of onshore hydraulic fracturing for shale gas in order to ensure that there are no unacceptable impacts on groundwater quality and quantity. Recommendation 7.16 That the discharge of shale gas hydraulic fracturing wastewater (treated or untreated) to either drainage lines, waterways, temporary stream systems or waterholes not be permitted. Recommendation 7.17 That to minimise the adverse impacts of onshore shale gas infrastructure (roads and pipelines) on the flow and quality of surface waters, the Government must ensure that: landscape or regional impacts are considered in the design and planning phase of development to avoid unforeseen consequences arising from the incremental (piecemeal) rollout of linear infrastructure ; and roads and pipeline corridors must be constructed to: minimise the interference with wet season surface water flow paths; minimise erosion of exposed (road) surfaces and drains; ensure fauna passage at all stream crossings; and comply with relevant guidelines such as the International Erosion Control Association Best Practice for Erosion and Sediment Control and the Australian Pipeline Industry Association Code of Environmental Practice 2009. Recommendation 7.18 That the Beetaloo Sub-basin SREBA should take into account all groundwater dependent ecosystems in the Roper River region. Recommendation 7.19 That the Beetaloo Sub-basin SREBA should take into account all subterranean aquatic ecosystems in the Roper River region. Land (Chapter 8) The NT is internationally renowned for its vast and often spectacular landscapes, many of which have outstanding wilderness values and represent an iconic part of the Australian outback. These landscapes also have exceptional terrestrial biodiversity values, featuring a wide range of habitats and high levels of species diversity and endemism. The landscapes are especially important to the cultural practices of Aboriginal people, who retain the deep cultural and spiritual connection to country that has endured for millennia. It is also the case more broadly that people are attracted to the Territorys unspoiled landscapes, which is why most non-residents choose to visit, making their preservation fundamental to the tourism industry. Chapter 8 summarises the existing knowledge regarding terrestrial ecosystems and terrestrial biodiversity in the NT.Additionally, the Panel has identified the likely infrastructure needs of any onshore shale gas industry, using the Beetaloo Sub-basin as a case study. Both on-site (roads, pipelines, drilling rigs and water storage facilities) and off-site (roads, pipelines and gas treatment facilities) infrastructure needs are discussed. Chapter 8 provides the Panels assessment of the land-related risks associated with any onshore shale gas development in the NT relative to two land-related values: terrestrial biodiversity and ecosystem health, and landscape amenity. The Panel finds that the development of any onshore shale gas industry will only be acceptable if these values are adequately protected. This can be achieved through the following environmental objectives: that there is a low risk of impact on the terrestrial biodiversity values of affected bioregions; that overall terrestrial ecosystem health, including the provision of ecosystem services, is maintained;

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