New Australian fracking study from CSIRO

A comprehensive three-year study by CSIRO and GISERA has found little to no impacts of fracking on air quality, soils, groundwater and waterways. 

Using thousands of air, water and soil samples taken before, during and after real-time fracking operations in Origin’s gas field in Queensland’s Surat Basin, the study shows coal seam gas production and fracking are safe, have limited environmental impacts and robust Australian regulations are working.

GISERA Director, Dr Damian Barrett, said the research was an Australian first and provided unique insights into the effects of hydraulic fracturing in Australia.

He said that until now, the only information about hydraulic fracturing was from overseas studies, which were based on different shale gas formations. 

  • More than 1000 air samples collected by scientists across 13 sites were analysed for up to 45 different pollutants along with concentrations of 25 chemicals present in 180 samples of airborne particles collected across six sites.
  • 113 water samples from creek waters, groundwater, flowback water, and produced water were collected and studied, along with 40 soil samples.

The study also found the water treatment technology we use to treat flow-back water is effective in removing hydraulic fracturing additives and other naturally occurring chemicals to within stringent water quality guidelines. This means Australian fracking operations can safely reuse wastewater.

Origin, with other industry organisations and bodies, helped to fund the study to get more locally relevant scientific information on fracking operations and to identify whether there were any improvements that might be made to industry practices in Australia.

CSIRO and GISERA have strict guidelines in place to protect the independence and integrity of their research and reporting. This means Origin has no influence over their researchers and no ability to edit or respond to the findings.

Learn more about the study here, get the facts in CSIRO’s fact sheet or watch a video about this important work.