Fact Checker

Hydraulic fracturing – a primer

Hydraulic fracturing – sometimes called fracking – has been used more than 2.5 million times worldwide since 1947 – not only in oil and gas wells, but also in geothermal energy wells and in some cases, to increase flows in water bores.

In Australia, hydraulic fracturing has been used to recover oil and gas since 1969. But only recently has the term “hydraulic fracturing” entered the public’s vocabulary, a function of the enormous opportunities that the application of fracturing and horizontal drilling are making possible all around the world through the development of abundant resources from shale.

So what’s this technology all about? And how does what you may have heard about the process square with the facts as they actually exist? In this section, we highlight – and correct – some of the most pervasive myths that have come to surround the debate over fracturing.

Get the facts here:

Understanding hydraulic fracturing – July 2014 (pdf)

See what America’s top regulators have to say about the safety of hydraulic fracturing [infographic]

CSG in context

Across Eastern Australia there are claims being made about the science, technology and processes that underpin the development of the coal seam gas industry.

With this fact sheet, we’re providing some context, giving you an evidence led, fact based backgrounder to the industry.

What is CSG – July 2014 (pdf)

Groundwater protection

Responsible developers of oil and gas resources go to great lengths to protect the environment they operate in – and this includes ensuring that local groundwater sources and aquifers are protected at all stages of the exploration, production and decommissioning process.

Download our fact sheet on groundwater protection – and see what the experts have to say:

Groundwater Protection – July 2014 (pdf)

Industry regulation

The Australian oil and gas industry is one of the most heavily regulated in the country.

There are a myriad of regulatory and legislative requirements that must be followed.

Our factsheet provides an overview of the primary regulatory framework that applies in each jurisdiction:

Regulation – July 2014 (pdf)


Well integrity

Gas wells are designed to ensure that the gas stays contained within the wellbore, and that the surrounding subsurface layers, including aquifers, are protected.

In Australia, there are a number of safeguards and measures that are put in place when drilling and completing a well. Responsible developers act in accordance with strict technical guidelines, and operate natural gas wells to ensure there are no uncontrolled leaks.

There’s more detail in our fact sheet: Well Integrity – July 2014 (pdf)

Our analysis of a recent study which claimed well failure rates based on a series of disproven facts and claims provides valuable information about well integrity.

Coal Seam Gas Well

Find out more information about well integrity.

Understanding seismicity

There’s a widely held belief that some of the processes used in the exploration and production of natural gas can cause earthquakes.

It’s a claim that causes unnecessary alarm among local communities.

The concept of induced seismicity has been extensively examined and studied in the United States and the United Kingdom – and the bottom line is that hydraulic fracturing does not pose a major risk of causing earthquakes.

Read about it in our fact sheet to get the real story – and to see what Australian and international experts have to say:

Understanding Seismicity – July 2014 (pdf)




Methane in water

It’s an image used in documentaries, on websites, and in anti-industry fact sheets and publications around the world.

Pictures of flames shooting out the end of garden hoses, of householders and farmers being able to light up water coming from their taps – they all look ominous, but is it caused by oil and gas activity?

The answer is – probably not.

Download our fact sheet to find out the real story:

Methane – July 2014 (pdf)

Gas and farming can coexist

There are many examples of gas companies working closely with farming communities to develop mutually beneficial partnerships.

For example, in NSW AGL is working with farming communities around Gloucester to use treated water for stock and fodder, and has recently signed an agreement with the industry group Dairy Connect to examine ways for the industry and farmers to work together