Hobbits for fracking

There isn’t any place in the world greener than New Zealand – the entire nation is free range, isolated in their own little corner of the world. That includes natural gas, with 100% of the 4.1 BCM of gas used in 2010 domestic. When it comes to energy the country is of course well served by both hydro and geothermal, so much so that it must be about the only place in the world where hydro and renewables beat even oil in the overall energy mix, followed by gas and minimal coal.  

With that in mind surely no one wants to frack the pristine country made famous as the location for Lord of the Rings. Think again:

Environment Minister Nick Smith does not look likely to launch the fracking investigation the Greens are calling for.

Green Party MP Gareth Hughes has called for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing or fracking, a method used for extracting oil and natural gas which is locked in rocks underground.

But in an interesting twist why doesn’t the NZ government ban fracking?  Because as with oil and gas throughout out Europe, they’ve been doing it for years:

 The practice, which has been used in Taranaki for the past 20 years, has been banned in some countries because of environmental concerns, and Mr Hughes has called for a select committee inquiry into the issue.

 The work that’s been done in the Taranaki region has suggested that there’s been no environmental issues … the international evidence is that there are issues with fracking where it’s used in quite shallow shales for the extractions of petroleum,” he said.

“All of the fracking that has been done in New Zealand, and proposed to date, has been at a very deep levels where we can not find any international evidence of adverse environmental impacts.’

Germany embarrassed themselves last year when they banned fracking in the post France/Gasland hysteria only to have it pointed out that the practice had been used since the 1950’s in northern Germany. Fracking for oil has also been in the UK and France for years, but the big surprise to some is the target market of a Canadian based fracking company I met in Ukraine recently.How was the market in the Ukraine i asked.  Small they said.  Russia is our real cash cow.  They would have run out of gas and oil years ago otherwise. Someone forgot to tell Mr Putin of course.

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