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New technology makes coal seam gas exploration safer
13/07/2012 - A Brisbane company says it has the solution to one of the main environmental concerns surrounding coal seam gas (GSG) exploration. Nathan Paull
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Environmental groups have protested against coal seam gas for its potential to cause aquifer "cross communication".
This is caused when coal seam drilling and production trigger water to spill in or out of nearby aquifers.
WellDog chief technology officer Quentin Morgan says using his company's downhole pressure sensors in observation wells, CSG companies can detect changes as small as 5mm in aquifer water levels.
Morgan said the company has so far installed 18 sensor packages in five wells for Arrow Energy in the Surat Basin in central Queensland.
"We anticipate that this technology will become the new standard for CSG companies," Morgan said in a statement.
But anti-CSG group Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton said the new technology should be treated with some scepticism.
"I would have thought the best protection against having aquifers depleted by coal seam gas or having them badly damaged by coal seam gas is to not put coal seam gas anywhere near an aquifer that might be affected that way," he told reporters.
Hutton and his wife, Queensland Greens spokeswoman Libby Connors, will leave for the US on Saturday for a three-week tour to study the adverse impacts of CSG and shale gas mining.
Dr Connors said some US communities where gas drilling had occurred had "suffered severely".
"The US Environmental Protection Agency has found that surface aquifers in Wyoming have been contaminated by fracturing so this is an excellent case study for Queensland agricultural communities," she said in a statement.
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