Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Disappointing; water drillers smeared with CSG asbestos drilling mud

by Ian Hansen
With regard to the asbestos being found in drilling mud, I find it very disappointing and irresponsible that Mayor Ray Brown finds a need to place the water drilling industry under the same umbrella as the CSG drilling industry with his statement "the same mud is used in many water bore drills".

The drilling mud additive in question is ‘nutplug’ consisting of mainly ground walnut shells used in the drilling process to stop lost circulation.  This is where the mud is lost to porous formations.  Whereas this product and others similar are freely available to all in the drilling industry it is not favoured by most water drillers as they tend to block the aquifers and make it difficult to develop a bore to its full potential. 

Mayor Ray Brown Western Downs Regional Council outside a gas fired power station in his electorate. Photo sourced AFR

I have been drilling water bores within the artesian basin of Queensland for more than 36 years and have never had the need to use these products in any of the formations within the GAB.

Also with current restrictions on town water supplies after major flooding in the recent past, and a moratorium stopping towns people drilling bores to supply their own water, people are becoming increasing frustrated watching millions of litres of precious ground water from CSG production being wasted in evaporation ponds. 

This is after the original big sales pitch by the CSG industry that there would be abundant water for industry, urban and some agriculture needs.

With Origin applying for 100m/l of allocation per year from the Huttons to supply their power station and Miles being granted 800m/l per year from the Precipice sandstone, would it not be more beneficial to first utilize the CSG water rather than placing only more pressure on our ground water supplies?

Could Mr Brown as Mayor of the Western Downs and also a Gas Fields Commissioner, please explain why CSG water isn’t being used. Is it because of CSG companies demanding cheaper options; is it because the quality of the water can’t be guaranteed or is it because consistent volumes can’t be supplied?

Why is it necessary for the CSG drilling industry to use lost circulation products, such as "nutplug", when water drillers have been able to construct water bores in these same formations without it.
 I find it very disappointing that Mayor Ray Brown sees the need to try to involve the water drilling industry into this issue

Previous article by Ian Hansen

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