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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 4 3. Some basic facts 3.1. What is the difference between conventional and unconventional gas? The terms conventional and unconventional gas are often misunderstood and have taken on different meanings in different reports relating to the gas industry. For the purpose of this Inquiry, unconventional gas is found in source rocks such as coal and shale where the gas has been trapped in place (see the oil-or gas-rich shale in Figure 1). This is different from conventional gas, which migrates into porous, permeable rocks and is trapped under a seal. Conventional gas can typically be developed with a limited number of wells due to the accumulation of the hydrocarbons in a confined area with well-connected pore spaces within the source rock enabling effective drainage from strategically placed wells. The gas will flow to the surface under its own pressure driven by a water table (or aquifer) underneath an expanding pressurised gas cap overlying the gas (see the oil and gas accumulation below the confining layer under vertical well in Figure 1). By contrast, with unconventional gas, the source rocks that hold the gas have much lower porosity (that is, the void spaces between the grains that make up the rock are very small) and much lower permeability (that is, the interconnectedness of the pore spaces to allow the gas to move through the rock is very low). Therefore, in order to make the gas flow, artificial stimulation, such as hydraulic fracturing, must be used. Improvements have been made to the production of conventional gas and many of these techniques have been refined and applied to unconventional gas. Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have been used for decades on conventional reservoirs but better efficiency and accuracy has allowed this technology to be used in unconventional gas reservoirs making them economically viable Figure 1: Schematic showing different types of petroleum accumulations and development Source: Modified from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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