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Moratorium on coal seam gas (CSG) industry

Australian environmentalists on Wednesday called for an immediate moratorium on coal seam gas (CSG) industry following the discovery of cancer-causing chemicals in eight exploration wells at a central Queensland CSG operation.

Four toxic chemicals — benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX) – had been found in the hydraulic fractured wells in the Surat Basin, near Miles in Queensland State of Australia, Australia’s Origin Energy Limited and its Australia Pacific liquefied natural gas (Australia Pacific LNG) joint venture partner ConocoPhillips have revealed.

Australian national environmental organization, Friends of the Earth spokesman Drew Hutton said the latest contamination scare proved the industry was dangerous.

“The fact that these chemicals have been found in eight wells shows there is some sort of pattern here,” Hutton told Australian Associated Press (AAP).

“Everyone needs to take a deep breath. There needs to be an immediate moratorium to allow time for proper research and environmental impact studies,” Hutton said.

The Queensland government on October 5 proposed new laws banning the use of BTEX in the industry. The legislation is before parliament.

Origin and Australia Pacific LNG said they had stopped fracture stimulating their exploration wells while the matter was being investigated.

The government has ordered an independent service provider to retest the wells.

The Department of Environment and Resource Management will assess the results.

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