Anti-fracking campaigners are sceptical about a Tag Oil statement that it might not need to frack at its test well near Dannevirke.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is opposed by those who say the practice has a potential environmental impact that could include contamination of groundwater and cause earthquakes.
A Tag spokesman said yesterday the rock at the exploratory well drilled last year was already naturally fractured, which meant Tag might not have to frack at the site.
"In the simplest terms, Mother Nature may have done the job already," he said. "So that's why we're going to do some more testing and see what comes out, how it comes out and then determine whether it's a commercial well, whether anything else needs to be done, whether it needs to be developed or whether we plug it up and leave it alone."
Tag said last week an independent report had confirmed that oil was being generated in the Whangai source rocks.
As a result, it would now perforate and production test the Ngapaeruru-1 well in the coming months, the aim being to prove the concept of moveable hydrocarbons from within the source rocks.
The spokesman said the company had always known it would have to do further testing.
"That's what the next phase is about," he said. "We do one step, see what the results are, do another step, see what the results are. Then you make a decision about whether you carry on or whether you call it quits."
Frack Free Tararua member Lyn Charlton said she did not believe Tag would not frack.
" ‘May' is the word to take notice of," she said. "They may not, they said."
She said the statement would keep many people happy, "until they say ‘oh, we'll have to do this'.
"Of course they'll have to do it. It's shale. They can't do it any other way."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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