Cancer causing chemicals found in wells

BigPond news

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 ยป 02:26am

Cancer-causing chemicals have been found in eight exploration wells for coal seam gas in central Queensland.

Origin and its Australia Pacific liquefied natural gas (Australia Pacific LNG) joint venture partner ConocoPhillips on Tuesday said traces of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX) had been found in the hydraulic fractured wells in the Surat Basin, near Miles.

BTEX can be used to help fracture rock seams and extract gas.

The Queensland government on October 5 proposed new laws banning the use of BTEX in the industry. The legislation is before parliament.

The companies said they had stopped fracture stimulating their exploration wells while the matter was investigated.

‘Comprehensive testing is currently underway, aimed at determining the source of the BTEX,’ Australia Pacific LNG said in a statement.

The companies insist they have not used BTEX during their exploration process.

‘Australia Pacific LNG does not use BTEX in its fracture fluids and the supplier has confirmed that the fluids do not contain BTEX,’ they said.

‘BTEX is found in a range of oil-based products including lubricating oil, diesel and petrol.’

The joint venture said it had advised relevant landowners, Western Downs Regional Council, and the Queensland government about the contaminants.

‘The company will undertake further testing in consultation with landholders in the coming days.’

The state government was briefed on the matter on Tuesday and has ordered an independent service provider retest the wells.

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