Lock the Gate Alliance President Drew Hutton says that coal seam gas is bubbling to the surface along a 5 km stretch of Queensland’s Condamine River near Chinchilla.
Though naturally occurring methane gas was a possible cause, Hutton claims that local residents and farmers have not experienced the phenomenon before, and says nearby fracking operations may be the culprit.
Origin Energy, operator of Australia Pacific LNG, claims the bubbling gas is not linked to their mining activities in the area.
They assert that according to local knowledge naturally occurring gas has been a phenomenon in the Queensland Western Downs region for more than 100 years.
They are also aware of a local fishing spot, known as the ‘coal hole’, which has gas seeping from a belt of coal that is close to the surface.
Origin’s nearest gas well infrastructure, one kilometre away, is made up of four pilot wells which are not in operation.
Mr Hutton said that the fact that it is occurring along several kilometres of the river suggests a major leak finding its way to the surface through cracks created by fracking – a gas drilling process that uses high volumes of water, chemicals and high pressure to fracture the underlying rocks.
“I don’t think there is any doubt this extensive leak is linked to the coal seam gas drilling, and probably fracking, that is occurring in nearby wells,” Mr Hutton said.
According to the ABC, the Queensland Government’s LNG Enforcement Unit says it is investigating the claims.
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