What is fracking?
From John Pfahlert Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of NZ Executive Office Gisbourne Herald 3 march 2011
Hydraulic fracture stimulation, or “frac’ing”, is used to stimulate underground hydrocarbon-bearing reservoirs to increase the flow capacity of the rock to gas and oil. “Frac fluid”, which primarily consists of a water or hydrocarbon base and sand, is pumped down the wellbore into a designated section of the well at high pressure to fracture the reservoir rock. The sand is a washed and sieved quartz sand or man-made ceramic particles. The sand is used to hold the fracture open to provide a pathway for the fluids to flow into the wellbore for extraction at the surface.
Frac’ing currently being undertaken in New Zealand is at depths well below the deepest groundwater aquifers that are used for drinking water or irrigation. Therefore, any proposed frac’ing operations cannot affect groundwater. Shallow aquifers are protected by installing a steel casing or liner into the wellbore below the depth of the deepest freshwater aquifer to be encountered by the wellbore. The casing or liner is cemented into place, isolating the surrounding rock and aquifers from any of the fluids entering the wellbore.The East Coast of this country has the exploiters quite excited
March 30, 2010 - New Zealand oil and gas producer and explorer TAG Oil Ltd. (TSX-V: TAO) announced today that the first stratigraphic well in TAG's initial three-well Waitangi Hill program has been drilled to a total depth of 171m. The results, including "free oil" in core samples, further indicate Waitangi Hill as an area of active oil and gas generation and expulsion. The Waitangi Hill-2 well is located within TAG's 530,000-acre permit area in the northern East Coast Basin of New Zealand, where TAG is pursuing both conventional and unconventional fractured oil shale prospects. The objective of these Waitangi Hill stratigraphic wells is to begin collecting the modern data needed to enhance the Company's ability to appraise a conventional development of the historical Waitangi Hill shallow oil discovery, and more importantly, to further assess the viability of the underlying Waipawa Black Shale and Whangai Shale source rock formations as unconventional targets.Who are TAG Oil?
TAG Oil Ltd. is a Canadian-based company with international operations in New Zealand. The Company holds a drill-ready prospect inventory that covers more than 3,500 sections of land in the Taranaki and East Coast basins, including a 100% interest in the producing Cheal oil and gas discoveries now under appraisal and development. In the East Coast Basin, TAG is planning a drilling campaign to further investigate the major unconventional resource potential that has been demonstrated in the Waipawa and Whangai fractured shale source-rock formations that are widespread across the Company’s acreage. The geological characteristics of these formations compare favourably to oil-rich shale formations such as the Bakken Shale in the Williston Basin and Liassic Shale in the Paris Basin.Check this video out from TAG Oil - they are very excited about 'the whole area'. Not just Waitangi Hill but all of the Waipawa and Whangai country.
We should be very alarmed by this as this letter writer to the paper in Gisbourne has said
You seem to be missing the point, John. You have a lot of facts about this oil and gas business yet you have no facts about the East Coast people (iwi/hapu) who live in these areas and may be affected by any mining or drilling.
I’ll tell you some facts. It is a fact that two of my rangatira Koia-uru-te-rangi and Rawiri-Rangi-Katia signed the East Coast Treaty (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) and the Treaty they signed with the Crown protected the people, culture, lands and sea.
They did not sign a Treaty that would allow their people to be murdered, their lands stolen, their culture destroyed and their rights as tangata whenua taken away.
Governments have never honoured the East Coast Treaty because they are not worthy. Instead, through history, they have changed Acts and laws to justify their mistreatment of the Treaty partner.
Today we are still protecting our culture, lands and sea, John, because Maori are the land, mountains, rivers and sea. That is the culture that makes us who we are.
Mining and drilling may place our way of life at risk.
This crazy National Government has forgotten the written agreement between Maori and the monarch of Britain. But us Coasties have not forgoten, John. It is our right under Te Tiriti o Waitangi to say NO to drilling and mining along the East Coast. Just because an out-of-control government gives out permits does not mean they can trample over a legal document between a Queen and East Coast Maori.
All of us must support iwi and hapū fighting against mining and gas and petroleum exploration. And we will join them in stopping this abomination. What consequences can we expect if they go ahead - they say it is safe, they say the water will be protected, they say no one will even notice. They say lots of things and they say them so that they can exploit and make money. The consequences are too high to contemplate. This award winning documentary teaser for Gasland doesn't pull any punches.
Won't happen here? Can't happen here? Just watch them go hard to make more money and destroy more land and people. The only thing stopping them is us.
Hat tip - Archive Fire