25 Nov 2011

Fracking report finds low contamination risk

8:31 am on 25 November 2011

A Taranaki Regional Council report has found the risk of contaminating the area's underground water supply through use of a controversial technique to extract oil and gas is very low.

The council has assessed the risks of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The technique squirts a mix of water, sand and chemicals into wells at extreme pressure to break open cracks in rocks that bear oil and gas.

The council assessed 43 fracking activities at 28 wells in Taranaki from 2000 to 2011.

The report says it is unlikely, but not impossible, that chemicals used in fracking will contaminate freshwater aquifers.

It says the risk is higher when fracking is done at shallow depths.

Since August, anyone wanting to carry out fracking in the Taranaki region has had to get a resource consent.