Gas Industry Myths Exposed
Myth 1: The depth of shale & tight gas deposits means fracking is safe. There is no threat to groundwater which is a concern on the East Coast where CSG is extracted from shallower coal seams.
US studies have implicated shale gas in the contamination of groundwater with heavy metals, salts and gas. Contamination can occur from well casing failure due to faulty construction, repeated hydraulic fracturing or corrosion. Data from the US shows that 6.2% unconventional gas wells fail immediately, and 50% fail over 20 years (Claudio Brufatto et al, Oilfield Review, Autumn 2003). Millions of litres of hazardous wastewater are produced during gas extraction. There are multiple pathways for contamination of surface and/or groundwater during storage, transport and disposal of this wastewater.
Myth 2: Small amounts of chemical additives are used in fracking, and these are found in familiar household products.
Chemical additives make up only .5-2% of fracking fluid but this still translates into very large actual quantities. For example, a typical 15 million litre shale gas fracking operation would use between 80 and 330 tonnes of chemicals. Many fracking chemicals have not been assessed for their long-term impacts on the environment and human health. Fracking compounds used in Australia have been shown to include many hazardous substances, including: carcinogens, neurotoxins, reproductive toxins, irritants/sensitisers, and endocrine disruptors.
Myth 3: The gas industry will create jobs and revive ailing rural economies.
The oil and gas industry is one of the smallest employers in Australia, employing less than .2% of the Australian workforce. Most gas industry jobs are required for the construction phase-they are not ongoing. The skilled workers that are needed by the industry are usually flown in from elsewhere. Those employed locally are usually poached from local industries that have spent years training them. 84% of mining profits go to overseas shareholders.