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Hydraulic Fracturing Hub Page

This page is dedicated to hydraulic fracturing (fracking or fraccing) in New Zealand's oil and gas industry.

All about fracking can be found on NZP&M including FAQ about hydraulic fracturing in the NZ O&G industry.

This page is really useful and provides:

  • An explanation of fracking,
  • The chemicals used in the process, 
  • Regulations involved, and
  • Addresses public concerns such as its potential links to earthquakes as well as matters of environment.

Download the Hydraulic Fracturing fact Sheet from the NZ Government.

How hydraulic fracturing works can be viewed in the following video:


Venture Taranaki's economic analysis report on hydraulic fracturing in New Zealand:

Unlocking the Potential: Economic impact analysis of hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells in New Zealand.

Venture Taranaki’s report quantifies the economic implications of hydraulic fracturing for the New Zealand economy.

The practice of hydraulic fracturing has the potential to deliver almost $800 million in annual GDP and over 7,000 jobs under a growth scenario, or fail to deliver $215 million in GDP and up to 2,000 jobs if a moratorium, a new report has found.

“To date discussions around hydraulic fracturing have focused on the environmental and health and safety impacts,” says Venture Taranaki Chief Executive Stuart Trundle.

“This report seeks to inform discussions about the future of the process in New Zealand with rigorous economic analysis.”

It looks at the economic outcomes of three scenarios for the practice – a moratorium, a business as usual scenario, and an expansion into emerging areas of oil and gas exploration and production. “These are three plausible futures for the practice in New Zealand, and each scenario has implications for production and consequently revenue, royalties, GDP, exports, expenditure and employment.”

Read the full report here


UK Lifts hydraulic fracturing ban

The UK have lifted their suspension on hydraulic fracturing with respect to shale gas.

Read about this reversal and the supporting documents here


Release of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Report (PCE report) on Hydraulic Fracturing: 

Evaluating The environmental impacts of fracking in New Zealand: an interim report (November 2012)

The PCE report has been released and can be viewed here:


Todd Energy - Submission to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) report on hydraulic fracturing

Todd Energy's submission to the PCE report on hydraulic fracturing is an extensive document covering the history and concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells, its  process and science, regulatory environment, potential environnmental effects and mitigation. The report details Todd Energy's experiences of hydraulic fracturing - where they have utilised hydraulic fracturing, their processes and systems.

Download Todd Energy's report: Hydraulic Fracturing - submission to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment


Assessment of Hydraulic Fracturing - Shale Gas - undertaken by The Royal Society and the Royal Society of Engineering 2012

Read this UK report concerning the health, safety and environmental risks associated with hydraulic fracturing  as a means to extract shale gas undertaken by The Royal Society.

Their report recommendations were reviewed by the Taranaki Regional Council (TRC).

TRC's comments on the Royal Society Report on Hydraulic Fracturing as it relates to Shale Gas are here.

View the video which summarise the report findings:


of Hydraulic Fracturing and its impacts on Air Quality in Taranaki (2012)

The flaring of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) fluids has minimal effects on air quality even very close to wellsites, a Taranaki Regional Council investigation has found. While hydrocarbon exploration operators normally recover such fluids for off-site disposal, flaring is sometimes required for the safety of workers or to protect equipment. The investigation took place in February 2012 and the results were reported to the Council’s Consents and Regulatory Committee 5 June 2012.

The Council’s Director-Environment Quality, Gary Bedford, says the latest report brings robust and scientific data to the public discussion about hydraulic fracturing. Concerns have been expressed overseas about its potential effects on air quality, and these are now being echoed in New Zealand.

A similar study was carried out at hydrocarbon sites in 1998, and field measurements were augmented with computer modelling. But given the current preoccupation with fracturing fluids, the Council wanted to ensure it captured any possible implications of the use of fracking additives.

In the latest investigation, emission and ambient air samples were collected at and downwind of a flare that included the biocides, gelling and gel-breaking agents, inert proppants such as sand or microscopic ceramic beads, and ‘wetting’ agents used in hydraulic fracking.

The samples were tested for tiny particles known as particulate matter (PM); dioxins and furans; polyaromatic hydrocarbons; aldehydes (including formaldehyde), volatile organic compounds (including benzene, toluene, xylene and ethyl benzene); methanol; and the more conventional products of combustion – oxygen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and sulphur dioxide.

Results included:

  • PM levels at or below those generally found in the region.
  • No trace of dioxins or furans.
  • Polyaromatic hydrocarbon levels lower than those found in central city areas.
  • Volatile organic compound (including benzene), aldehyde and methanol levels well within Ministry for the Environment guidelines.
  • No trace of carbon monoxide, and minimal levels of the other conventional products of combustion.

Critically, every downwind measurement satisfied the relevant Ministry for the Environment health-based ambient air quality guideliens.

“It’s important to note that on some measures, the air downwind of the flare was better than that found in most New Zealand cities,” says Mr Bedford.

“In simple terms, mowing your lawns with a two-stroke mower would have more effect on the quality of the air you breathe than standing downwind of a flare.

“While we have previously investigated emissions from flaring, this is the first time we have looked specifically at the compounds associated with fracking. The results are reassuring for the public and for site operators, and for the Council. They will be very useful for us as we set standards for activity by the industry.”

He says that while exploration and production companies endorsed and co-operated with the project, its design and implementation were completely independent of any influence or direction from the companies. The design of the investigation and reporting of results were also subject to independent peer review.

The full report on the investigation can be found online at:




Hawkes Bay update

The Hawkes Bay Regional Council  have recently travelled to Canada to learn more about hydraulic fracturing. The results of their fact finding tour is here (refer to item 7 on the agenda).  The report highlights that if the well completion is done to best practice standard, and the well is proven to have good integrity, the risk to groundwater is minimal in the geological context of the proposed Hawke’s Bay exploration zone.


Hydraulic Fracturing and Water

Download the Taranaki Regional Council's report on the Hydrogeological risk assessment of hydraulic fracturing for gas recovery in the Taranaki region. This report provides an assessment as to whether fracking has affected water ways.

View TRC media release: This highlights the results of ground water and spring-water testing around Cheal sites in Taranaki. The test showed no contamination of water around the TAG Oil's Cheal sites.  View second round of water sampling results in Taranaki that confirm the good quality of spring water, surface water and ground water surrounding the TAG Oil (NZ) Cheal sites. In all cases no contamination and nothing unusual was detected.


Hydraulic Fracturing and Earthquakes

Download Taranaki Regional Councils report on the effects of hydraulic fracturing on seismicity on the Taranaki region. This report, by GNS, for the TRC examines data for any evidence of seismic activity associated with hydraulic fracturing.

Industry links

Straterra have a really useful page with plenty of information about fracking. View here

PEPANZ (Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of NZ) has a web site with information dedicated to hydraulic fracturing. View  here


Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) to review Hydraulic Fracturing

An investigation into hydraulic fracturing has been initiated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE), Dr Jan Wright. The PCE is an independent body and ther study has been instigated in light of its contentious nature and high level of public interest. The report will be tabled before Parliament by the end of this year. 

Read the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Envrionment (PCE) media release on the investigation into hydraulic fracturing (fracking) here

Read about the purpose, powers and function of the PCE here