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Scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracturing in the Northern Territory



Scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracturing in the Northern Territory

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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

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BACKGROUND AND ISSUES PAPER 20 February 2017 5 3.2. What is the difference between coal seam gas and shale gas? There are also misconceptions surrounding the differences between coal seam gas and shale gas. There are significant distinctions between the development of gas from coal seams and the gas from deep shales. It is important to know what these differences are because this Inquiry is only concerned with onshore unconventional deposits of shale. The main differences are indicated in Table 1 below. These include the fact that: coal seams (usually no more than 1,000 metres deep) are typically found closer to the surface than shales (which are found 1,500 to 4,000 metres deep); the extraction of coal seam gas does not always require hydraulic fracturing, whereas the extraction of shale gas always needs hydraulic fracturing; coal seam gas requires the removal of water from the coal to unlock the gas (dewatering). Large amounts of salty water (brine) is produced (produced water) and must be treated; and by contrast, the hydraulic fracturing of shale gas reservoirs often only returns a portion of the water that is used in the hydraulic fracturing process. This returned water (flowback water) can be recycled and re used for the next hydraulic fracturing operation, or must be treated and disposed of. Coal seam gas Shale gas Source Shallow coal seams Deeper shales Depth 300 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 4,000 m Drilling direction Mainly vertical Horizontal and vertical Proximity to aquifers Shallow and therefore closer to potable water resources Deeper and therefore further away from potable water sources Surface footprint Single exploration well per drill pad (a drill pad is the area disturbed by the installation of the drilling and extraction equipment) meaning a larger number of well heads in a given area. Multiple wells can be drilled from each well pad meaning a lower number of completed well heads in a given area than for coal seam gas. Hydraulic fracturing Hydraulic fracturing in some coal seams with low permeability Always requires hydraulic fracturing Hydraulic fracturing extent (length x height) 200 300 m x 5 30 m 200 6,000 m x 30 300 m Hydraulic fracturing pressure 35 MPa or 5,000 psi 35 70 MPa or 5,000 10,000 psi Water use Requires dewatering of coal No dewatering, but water is used for drilling and hydraulic fracturing Hydraulic fracturing fluid volume per well Approximately 1 ML (0.1 3 ML) Approximately 20 ML (5 40 ML) Number of wells required Larger number of wells Fewer wells required than for coal seam gas Productivity (over lifetime of well) Lower gas recovery (0.5 2PJ per well) Higher gas recovery (2 - >10PJ per well) Source Shallow coal seams Deeper shales Depth 300 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 4,000 m Drilling direction Mainly vertical Horizontal and vertical Table 1: Typical differences between coal seam gas and shale gas. The data given in the above table will vary from case to case. Sources: CSIRO, Northern Territory Government.

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