Over 44 percent of wells are leaking in an Australian gasfield overseen by UK Treasury director Baroness Hogg, according to the Queensland government (see p4 of linked pdf).
Almost half the wells tested at the Tara field in Queensland show some sign of leakage, reports the Queensland Mines Department. Over 5,000 coal bed methane (CBM) wells have been drilled in Queensland over the last few years, and tens of thousands more are planned.
The Tara field is owned by BG Group, on whose board sits Baroness Hogg. The Baroness is also a non-executive director at the UK Treasury, where she was appointed by Lord John Browne, chairman of UK fracker Cuadrilla Resources. Browne himself also works in the Cabinet Office.
An independent report into the leaks at the Tara field prompted the the Sydney Morning Herald to comment last year “Vast amounts of methane appear to be leaking undetected from Australia’s biggest coal seam gas field”.
Leaking wells are a common feature of Australia’s gasfields. A searing documentary by ABC’s Four Corners team shows gas leaking into rivers, as well as government duplicity in approving drilling permissions. It also includes interviews with people who live close to the Tara field and who – to their dismay – find gas bubbling up all around them.
The fact that gas wells leak is nothing new to the gas industry – or for people living near them. The UK recently discovered this truth when a leak at Canonbie in Scotland was discovered at wells owned by Dart Energy. Locals have reported periodically finding gas in their water since the test wells were drilled.
Worldwide, Archer, a well service company, estimates 19% of operating wells are usually shut down due to leaks (see p4 of the linked pdf).
Baroness Hogg, meanwhile, maintains a studious silence from her office in Whitehall.