Oil and gas industry groups say they are not expecting a
surge in fracking even though the process has been given a
qualified tick by the government's environmental monitor.
The Petroleum Exploration and Production Association welcomed
the findings but said it would be business as usual, meaning
hydraulic fracturing would be used sparingly given the high
An interim report by Parliamentary Commissioner for the
Environment Jan Wright found hydraulic fracturing, known as
fracking, could be done safely in New Zealand if well
She said regulations could need to be strengthened, and
explorers had not yet gained the trust of the public by
demonstrating they had a "social licence" to operate.
Fracking has been used at onshore wells, mainly in Taranaki,
for the past 23 years.
Each well costs around $30 million to drill, and where needed
each fracking operation cost between $5 million and $7
So far this year, three wells had been fracked 11 times.
Pepanz chief executive David Robinson said explorers
preferred conventional resources where gas or oil flowed by
itself but the ability to stimulate tight gas opened up
potential in large areas of the country.
Fracking helps release natural gas and oil by pumping large
volumes of mainly water and sand at high pressure through a
wellbore into deeply buried gas-bearing rock.
"Business has been carrying on as normal so it's not as if
you're going to see a whole heap of opportunities now that
the report's come out."
Wright raised concerns about fracking on the East Coast, an
area targeted by TAG Oil.
"Given that the area is particularly seismically active, what
are the implications for well integrity and the injection of
wastewater?" she asked.
Robinson said: "If the industry is to expand into any other
areas consultation and engagement with communities is
critical. We have to do that, we know we have to earn a
social licence to operate."
Todd Energy chief executive Paul Moore said the regulatory
framework provided by the Taranaki Regional Council was
consistent with industry leading practice.
"The [interim report] contributes to public understanding of
this important issue and provides a clear and concise
analysis of hydraulic fracturing in New Zealand. We look
forward to receiving the final report."