Anti-fracking movies blasted

Todd Energy report says mining technique is used safely in NZ.

Promised Land, starring Matt Damon, is said to have been financed by an entity controlled by the government of the UAE. Photo / Supplied
Promised Land, starring Matt Damon, is said to have been financed by an entity controlled by the government of the UAE. Photo / Supplied

A lengthy report by Todd Energy covering the science and history of fracking here and overseas also points to controversy about funding for a Hollywood movie that attacks the practice.

The Todd submission to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment says hydraulic fracturing - fracking - had been used safely and successfully in New Zealand for more than 20 years and regulations are in place to ensure it meets high safety and environmental standards.

Fracking involves injecting mainly water-based fluids to open up rock to allow oil and gas to flow through it.

The 177-page report, attacked by the Green Party as industry spin, says some of the strongest opposition to hydraulic fracturing comes from oil and gas producers such as Russian energy giant Gazprom.

"It has also been noted that the Hollywood anti-hydraulic fracturing blockbuster Promised Land starring Matt Damon, is being financed by an entity controlled by the government of the United Arab Emirates."

Conservative United States think-tank, the Heritage Foundation, latched on to the funding link, pointing out the UAE had a vested interest in keeping America more dependent on Middle East oil than on more local gas that has been produced in vast quantities by fracking.

Although the UAE funders say they back many Hollywood movies, some social media users say the film is propaganda and are pointing to a conspiracy.

The Todd report also refers to Gasland, which catapulted fracking to the worldwide public consciousness with a celebrated scene showing flames coming from a water tap, apparently the result of fracked gas leaking into the pipes.

In "independent commentary" in the report's appendices, Imperial College geologist Dick Selley says Gasland is discredited.

"Studies showed that the gas was marsh gas, biogenic methane. It had absolutely nothing to do with hydraulic fracturing," he says.

The Todd submission says conventional fracking techniques used in New Zealand were in tight limestone formations at much greater depth and on a smaller scale than techniques used to extract gas from coal and shale formations in the US.

Two views

* Fracking is long standing practice safe at great depths away from aquifer. - Todd Energy

* Turkeys don't vote for an early Christmas. It is not surprising Todd Energy is calling for its controversial practices to be allowed to continue. - Green Party

What next

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright is conducting her own inquiry and is due to release her findings on November 27.

- NZ Herald

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