The North American oil companies beginning seismic exploration in Hawke’s Bay next year say they can’t rule out fracking to mine natural resources in the earth.
Canadian company Apache Corporation has entered into a joint venture with Texas company Tag Oil and the two discussed their government-granted permit to conduct seismic surveys to Ngati Kere at Rongomaraeroa marae in Porangahau yesterday.
The companies’ two-hour technical presentation on the three-year survey between Porangahau and Dannevirke was cut short when staff realised people just wanted to ask questions about the environmental and cultural impacts of the work.
The Government was criticised for giving an exploration permit without consulting the public.
There were also questions around the scope of Apache’s work in other areas such as Australia, Argentina and Egypt and when the hui heard the company had plenty of work in progress around the world one speaker said “well you don’t need to come here then”.
Others didn’t care about the money the companies were set to make if oil was found, but wanted assurances over the long-term health of the land and rivers.
Apache’s liaison officer Alex Ferguson said the companies would still have to satisfy the regional and district councils in Hawke’s Bay before work could begin.
“These are the same questions, concerns and anxiety we hear from other areas and it is not surprising when you work in an area where there is less knowledge about what we are trying to do,” Mr Ferguson said.
Mr Ferguson said initial studies suggested fracking or hydraulic fracturing – where fluid is injected at high pressure into rocks – might not be needed in Hawke’s Bay.
“It would be great if we didn’t have to do fracking but we can’t say to everyone here that we’re never going to do it,” he said.
Mr Ferguson said before joining Apache he had worked in British Columbia where fracking had been used on many sites without any problems.
He said cases where fracking had not been “done correctly” had raised “the anxiety level” with the public.
“But it’s that kind of anxiety and mistakes that forces the industry to pay more attention to these things because if it wasn’t for this kind of pressure, companies wouldn’t be pressured to do things better,” Mr Ferguson said.
– Homepage image / AP
– Hawkes Bay Today and APNZ