The increased use of well stimulation techniques in the recovery of onshore shale, tight and coal seam gas (together known as unconventional gas resources-UGR) has prompted a re-examination of the legal regime regulating onshore petroleum activities. In particular, many communities, both within Australia and overseas, have questioned the development and use of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") as a method for well stimulation. In particular, concerns have been raised regarding the use of chemicals within this process, and the effects of this process on groundwater reserves and surface water. Many of the risks and concerns associated with the use of fracking relate to the capacity of the technique to cause damage to underground reservoirs and aquifers, thereby contributing to the contamination of ground water resources. Other concerns include the treatment of water produced from the fracking process, which often contain chemicals causing community concern, and the possibility of such produced water contaminating surface and ground water sources.
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