WWF slams ‘ethical’ fracking, WWF South Africa CEO Dr Morné Du Plessis has argued against fracking by Duncan Alfreds, September 10, 2012, News24
Cape Town – Ethical extraction of shale gas leaves many questions around the process of hydraulic fracturing or fracking unanswered, an environmental activist organisation has said. … Shell told News24 that the company was committed to ethical fracking practices as it has a long history of business in SA and was concerned about its reputation. “Don’t forget that we are not a fly-by-night. We have been in this country for 110 years as a company so we have a reputation that we have to protect here which obviously we don’t want to damage,” Jan Willem Egginck, Upstream (Exploration) Shell South Africa told News24.
According to the WWF, though, there were many questions around the feasibility of the extraction process that included flow back of the gas. Flow back is the process where the fluids used in the process are allowed to flow out of the wells and captured after treatment. “If any gas company says that it will extract shale gas in an ethical manner, WWF would want to know whether they can show us any examples where the flow back that happens” results in no damage to the environment, said Du Plessis.
According the WWF, the average methane loss amounts to 1.6% of the total resource and this had a harmful impact on the environment. “This is not entering into the mindset or equation of any gas company at the moment because they don’t calculate that as part of the carbon footprint,” Du Plessis said.
Shell has said that most of the reports of water pollution from the fracking process were related to unscrupulous operators that didn’t not seal the gas wells properly or did not drill down deep enough to reach the shale. Typically, gas wells should be sealed with cement at regular intervals in the drilling process and pressure tested to ensure the well’s integrity. … “We feel a little bit bullied by the big gas companies that put their big propaganda machinery in place and it’s very easy to ignore some of the facts that counter some of these glib statements.”