Fracking: A Sensible Response to Peak Conventional Oil? Paul Bruce
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Fracking: A Sensible Response to Peak Conventional Oil? Paul Bruce



A presentation by Councillor Paul Bruce to Simpson Grierson lawyers in Wellington, August 2012.

A presentation by Councillor Paul Bruce to Simpson Grierson lawyers in Wellington, August 2012.



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Fracking: A Sensible Response to Peak Conventional Oil? Paul Bruce Fracking: A Sensible Response to Peak Conventional Oil? Paul Bruce Presentation Transcript

  • Paul Bruce, Greater Wellington Regional Councillor         
  • Why Fracking? Capability to assess shale gasusing directional drilling and fracking
  • —  Bans in many countries—  PAI expose revealed widespread industry ties to pro-fracking reports in the US—  Opposition from NZ Councils—  PcE Dr Jan Wright “substantive case under the Environment Act”—  GWRC plans to use Report for its Natural Resource Plan
  • Fracking: The deeper you dig, the darker it getsEvidence of poor waste disposal and consents breachedLitany of incidents, accidents and pollution from lax processes4 million hectares where fracking could occur“These oil companies are like legal party drugs,” laments Michael Selp, a South Taranaki District Councillor. “As soon as one shuts down another starts up and you’re left legislating about things when the damage is already done.”“My mother sang for the Kapuni choir. Half the choir over the last few years have died of cancers. My mother was one of those. They all drank in the area. Over the past 5/6 years they were just popping off.”
  • Fracking in Taranaki—  TRC report of 28 wells fracked but unable to reveal chemicals used (LOGOIMA request – Sarah Roberts, award winning farmer)—  Swift Energy conducted 17 operations using diesel containing (BTEX) benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenesis—  1, possibly 3 blowouts, not acknowledged by Bernie Napp or David Robinson: high by international standards (1:5200 Calif)—  Inconsistent use of linings in pits, not stored in metal tanks—  Employee reveals to Sarah Roberts waste fluids sprayed onto farmland—  Shell Todd Oil Services Annnual Report indicates 10 contaminated sites at Kapuni, not acknowledged by TRC
  • Waikato—  Solid Energy fracking in 2007 in Waikato without consent—  WRC gave permission to continue with no public notification Southland—  Two fracking wells in Ohai, Southland 1995 for coal seam gas—  Environment Southland unaware of fracking operation, environmental monitoring ceased with project—  11 million litres waste water including chemicals dumped in stream—  Permit to dump waste was non-notified
  • —  Gisborne District Council has granted this year resource consents for site establishment works for drilling platform Te Karaka—  Not publicly notified, and expects to approve related applications for exploratory drilling later this year Wairarapa—  NZEC completed 2 D seismic Castlepoint/Ranui permits Wairarapa—  4 core wells drilled, expect to drill exploration well at Castlepoint first half of 2013, possibly using fracking
  • Health risks at every stage • Massive water use • Toxic chemicals • Air pollution • Climate change • Waste disposal • Health impacts • Truck traffic
  • US/UK studies—  US study on implications surface water/terrestrial ecosystems —  Wells close to surface water increases risk to aquatic ecosystems: —  Water withdrawal —  Contamination —  Excess sediment —  Integrity of complete well assembly vital —  Well casing, steel tubes set in cement, essential barrier between well and aquifers —  Separate warnings from US Geological Survey & US Protection Agency—  UK Royal Society study highlights —  Well construction is greatest risk of groundwater contamination —  Risks likely to scale up in a national shale gas industry —  Robust monitoring before, during and after based on entire lifecycle of operations, through to abandonment of wells —  Identifies need for more research on carbon footprint created by shale gas extraction
  • In areas where there is hydraulic fracturing or drilling, Tom Myers model shows, man-made faults and natural ones could intersect and chemicals could migrate to the surface in as little as "a few years, or less.”—  late 2007 to late 2010, one well integrity violation was issued for every six deep injection wells—  upwards of 2 million abandoned, plugged gas wells—  Sealed shut with cement, but studies indicate seepage up well structure and breakdown of concrete—  60% of well casings fail within 20 years of construction
  • —  Last twelve months have been the US’s hottest since record keeping began in 1895 (NOAA)—  High temperature records to cold temperature records in a ratio of 10 to 1 confirmation of climate change—  Scientists warn it’s the ‘new norm’ - worst drought in 800 years—  0.8 deg C rise causing far more damage than expected Over heated earth?
  • Fossil fuel industry dumps waste carbon dioxide for free, rather than invest in zephyrs and sunbeams
  • Ice loss - IPCC projections•  third of summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone•  record Greenland ice melt•  oceans are 30 percent more acidic
  • Haumoana Hawkes Bay 17 March 2005Present path sea level will reach Pliocene levels of 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was 50 feet higher than now (James Hansen)
  • —  Methane emissions more greenhouse intensive in short term—  Potential leakages identified (Howarth et al 2011), but large uncertainty in quantifying leakages—  GHE increases, implies 6 degree temp incr. this century—  Fossil fuel consumption five times higher than max for 2 deg—  Five biggest oil companies have made more than $1 trillion in profits since the millennium
  • —  Climate Change Response Act 2002—  NZ Emissions Trading Scheme—  Resource Management (Energy and Climate Change) Amendment Act 2004—  NPS for Renewable Electricity Generation—  New Zealand Energy Strategy—  New Zealand Energy Efficiency & Conservation Strategy—  NZ Transport StrategyEnvironment Court excluded climate change effects—  Approval can be granted without consideration of contribution to climate change—  Further weakening of ETS—  A case of trying to have your cake and eat it!
  • —  Objective 18 —  Risks and consequences to people, communities, their businesses, property and infrastructure from natural hazards and climate change effects are reduced—  Objective 20 —  Communities are more resilient to natural hazards, including the impacts of climate change, and people are better prepared for the consequences of natural hazard events—  Objective 9 —  The region’s energy needs are met in ways that: —  Improve energy efficiency and conservation —  Diversify the type and scale of renewable energy development —  Maximise the use of renewable energy resources —  Reduce dependency on fossil fuels…………
  • — Climate change is identified as an ‘overarching matter’— Climate change effects are taken into account in planning and decision making
  • EthicsWhat is unfolding is deeply threatening to human life and the failure to address it adequately at the political level raises disturbing questions about our capacity to act ethically as societies. For climate change is at base now an ethical question.It is to do with the way our actions impact on the lives of others both now and in generations to come. Jim Renwick
  • —  TAG Oil thinks NZ Government is very friendly—  National reviewing Crown Minerals Act to make even more friendly—  Little support for transition to renewables—  Fracking is high cost non-conventional oil and gas—  Big increase in “tight” oil US production, but still only accounts for 5% of consumption—  Annual well decline rates of 53%, offset by increasing number—  High spend on capex compared to cash flow – Ponzi Scheme?—  “Not a renaissance or revolution, but a retirement party”
  • Easy oil gone
  • THE PROTOCOL Nations shall aim to reduce their oil consumption by at least the world depletion rate of conventional production The Oil Depletion Protocol: A Plan for a Sensible Energy Future
  • Tar sands have an EROEI of 5.2:1 – 5.8:1 and oil shale of 1.5:1 to 4:1
  • Some $2.4 trillion in oil industry capital expenditures from 1994 to 2004 increased the worldwide rate of oil production by 12 million barrels per day.However, the $2.4 trillion in capital expenditures spent from 2005 to 2010 resulted in a decrease in the rate of oil production of 200,000 barrels per dayInvestment in fossil fuels is removing capital from projects that might still allow a return to a stable climate and sustainability
  • —  Consent authority is legally obliged to consider any consent application on its merits—  Captured by section 15(1)(d) and possibly sections 15(1)(a) and (b) of the RMA. The fracking activity needs a resource consent, unless it is expressly allowed by a rule in a regional plan.—  Without evidence of adverse effects, it may be difficult to justify notification based on special circumstances—  The power of deferral contained in section 91 of the RMA is discretionary rather than mandatory—  Future stages will also need to (should) be considered on their merits—  A frack-free declaration by a regional council would be effective if the declaration coincided with the introduction of prohibited activity status for the relevant activities in the councils regional plan—  Alternatively, a council might be able to argue around the lack of reassuring evidence, in terms of "the risk of acting or not acting if there is uncertain or insufficient information about the subject matter of the policies, rules, or other methods" (RMA section 32(4)(b)).It is difficult to imagine how a fracking might be consented under the RMA, when the information required for making an accurate assessment of environmental effects is simply unknown before the project starts
  • —  Net imports of oil comprise 60% of NZ total oil consumption—  Future energy security depends on risky deep sea oil and fracking—  Each person on Earth has just 110 tonnes each of co2 to emit into the atmosphere before 2050—  At NZ’s current rates, we will use our quota by about 2023—  Soaring oil prices and plummeting real energy yields from liquid fuels have already left economic carnage in their wake, as a fragile global financial system perched on a Matterhorn of debt has been dealt blow after blow by the failure of the real economy to expand as expected” Richard Heinberg—  “Fracking is worth one job per million dollars GDP, farming 15 jobs per million $, and hospitality 33 jobs” MP Gareth Hughes
  • —  Energy efficiency—  Renewable Energy—  Urban form (transit-orientated development)—  Transport patterns—  Farming practices—  Forest carbon sinks—  Store carbon in biomass including char
  • Great Harbour Way
  • —  High quality—  High capacity—  Electric rail spine—  Extend “golden mile”—  Low running cost—  Oil free, eco-friendly
  • Innovation —  Internet shopping —  Video conferencing —  Telecommuting —  Flexcar —  Green bikes —  Ride-sharing —  Free weekend buses —  Fuel tax
  • Fun - liveable cities!
  • —  Transition offers a different story, one that is about living more within our means, connecting to place, returning power to people and communities, building resilience at the local level (Rob Hopkins)—  Renewable energy and conservation produce more long term jobs at lower cost than investment in fossil fuels—  Our fair share means halving our current emissions by 2020
  • If climate change is “the greatest market failure”, let’s make sure our response is New Zealand’s greatest success – for our environment and for our economy