Gas boom warning in US explosion

Gas boom warning in US explosion

12 September 2010

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USA –The explosion and gas fire in San Francisco should be a warning to Queensland amid its massive gas boom, an environmental campaigner says.

The San Francisco incident, which has claimed at least six lives, injured many more and burnt out a whole suburb, reflects the dangers that large-scale natural gas developments represent for communities, said Drew Hutton.

“Authorities are now conceding the fire was caused by the rupturing of a high pressure gas pipeline,” the Friends of the Earth campaigner told AAP in a statement.

He said uncontrolled experiment in gas development was occurring on the Darling Downs and this could have similar impacts to the US incident.

“We have had reports about wellhead leaks, unprotected wellheads where cattle knock valves and there is no doubt that with the highly plastic clay soils on the Downs there will be accidents which will also lead to leaks,” Mr Hutton said.

He said that within the last 12 months there have been a major well head leak, three pipeline leaks and two significant saline water spills.

“The Queensland government recently audited 58 gas wells near Tara and found 26 to be leaking, one a major leak, four significant leaks and 20 odd minor leaks.”

Mr Hutton said the rural residential estate outside the western Darling Downs town of Tara, home to about 2,000 people, has many gas wells, high pressure pipelines and compressor stations and, in all likelihood, will have a LNG plant in the area before too long.

“The Tara residential estate is just the sort of place where a gas accident could result in a horrific bushfire scenario which could endanger many lives,” Mr Hutton said.

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