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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/10070/444282; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/444284; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/444287; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/444290; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/444291

Page content

BACKGROUND AND ISSUES PAPER 20 February 2017 12 6. The current regulatory framework The principal piece of legislation that regulates the petroleum industry, including all unconventional gas, in the Northern Territory is the Petroleum Act 1984 (NT). The Petroleum Act is administered by the Department of Primary Industry and Resources. Supporting the Petroleum Act are the Petroleum (Environment) Regulations 2016 (NT) (the Petroleum Regulations) and the Schedule of Onshore Petroleum Exploration and Production Requirements 2016 (the Schedule). The aim of the Petroleum Regulations is to reduce the environmental impacts and risks associated with onshore petroleum activities, including the hydraulic fracturing of unconventional shale reservoirs, to levels that are both acceptable and as low as reasonably practicable. The Petroleum Regulations require that any activity that may have an impact on the environment, such as hydraulic fracturing, is subject to an approved environment plan. A plan will only be approved if the Minister is satisfied that the gas company has demonstrated that all risks associated with the proposed activity will be reduced to the required levels. Key features of the Petroleum Regulations are that they: are objective-based, rather than prescriptive; give effect to the principles of ecological sustainable development by requiring the Minister to consider those principles when the Minister decides whether or not to approve an environment plan; ensure transparency and accountability by requiring the publication of environment plans and the Ministers reasons for approving a plan; require stakeholder engagement as a precursor to the submission of an environment plan; and require the Minister to consider any recommendations made by the Environment Protection Authority (the EPA) when making a decision about an environment plan. The Schedule is also relevant to activities involving unconventional gas. The Schedule includes provisions dealing with operational matters relating to seismic surveys, drilling, and well integrity. The Schedule was amended in July 2016 to remove references to environmental management because these matters are now dealt with in the Petroleum Regulations. Petroleum activities are currently exempt from the application of the Water Act 1992 (NT). The Panel understands that the government is proposing to remove this exemption, which means that petroleum operators will require a licence under the Water Act where they use ground or surface water. The water trigger contained in the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) applies to coal seam gas development, but does not apply to shale gas development.