CSIRO scientists collect water samples at a CSG well site.
CSIRO scientists collect water samples at a CSG well site.

CSIRO offers to discuss controversial CSG report

THE CSIRO scientist in charge of a controversial report on CSG fracking has opened the possibility for the organisation to discuss the research on the Northern Rivers, if invited.

Dr Damian Barret is the Research Director for Onshore Gas in the Energy Business Unit at CSIRO.

Dr Barret confirmed he would be open to sending CSIRO representatives to the area if invited by a local council or community organisation, as they are preparing to do in the Surat Basin in Queensland.

"We probably would not do it online, but after physical distancing restrictions end, we normally talk directly to communities and make the talks specific to their situation," he said.

>>> CSG opponents question report conducted by industry funded teams

Dr Barret is also the director of the CSIRO's Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA).

He said the study was developed in response to community concerns about the potential risks associated with hydraulic fracturing operations.

The three-year scientific found little to no impacts on air quality, soils, groundwater and waterways.

The study analysed air, water and soil samples taken before, during and up to six months after hydraulic fracturing operations at six coal seam gas wells in the Surat Basin.

Dr Barrett explained GISERA is a CSIRO-run entity with funding from the Federal Government, plus the Queensland, NSW, Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australian governments, plus a consortium of gas companies.

"The current funding for GISERA is 52 per cent from governments, and the remainder is from industry funding."

Dr Barret said each state has its own research advisory committee.

"That committee is dominated by members of the community, and those committees decide where project funds are going to be spent. That ensure that research addresses issues of community concern," he said.

Dr Barret said gas industries did commit funds for this CSG report.

"Because we needed to access industry production fields and support from the industry, there is funding from those companies in kind as well as direct funding into the project, in addition to the funding that comes from GISERA" he said.



The executive said he understands the report is controversial.

"From our perspective, as CSIRO, the issues around the exploration and development of the gas industry onshore creates a significant degree of concern among those communities," he said.

"They have questions, and they want to have the highest quality science to address those concerns."

"It's not up to CSIRO to decide whether or not gas development goes ahead, that's for State Governments to decide, they are the regulator," he said.

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