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Fracking and flooding in Fares, Egypt


Description

The village of Fares lies in the middle of the vast Kom Ombo oil drilling concession and is home to approximately 25,000 residents. Most of UAE-based oil company Dana Gas’ drilling and oil extraction lies only 11 kilometres away in the Baraka field. One well was sunk immediately next to New Fares, six kilometres west of the village proper.

Between 2009-2010 Dana Gas set off explosive charges in the ground close by without local consent. The practice of ‘seismic testing’ is used to assess likely oil or gas bearing rock formations. The shot holes however, have been known to intercept the water table, and can lead to water flowing or seeping to the surface. The seismic explosions may also create pathways for water to flow to the surface (2).

Very soon after the explosions, contaminated waters started to rise out of the ground, destroying farms, trees, water supplies and even housing, going as high as five feet high. Mango crops, the village’s main product, have failed due to the rising water.

Over the couple years since then, the problem has become steadily worse, with no action by Dana (2). This destruction of housing and livelihoods has forced many to try move away from the village into the desert, or onto higher terrain in the mountains. Yet government officials have been preventing evacuees from reacting onto what they claim to be “private land”, thus leaving many of Fares’ residents homeless (1).

Hydraulic fracturing, often known as fracking, is currently banned in several US states, in France, as well as parts of Australia and Canada, due to the fact that the chemicals used in the process have, on some occasions, seeped into underground water supplies, causing immense environmental damage. However, another reason why fracking is banned in many countries is also due to the fact that the chemically infused water used to fracture the deep rock is often not disposed of properly leading to environmental destruction.

Currently, there are three main hydraulic fracturing wells operated by DanaGas in areas surrounding the Fares village, and resident believe that water spontaneously coming out of the village holes from “test drills” is connected to those sites.

DanaGas has provided the village with some compensation, often in the form of LE100 (15usd) to LE200 individual payoffs or donations to build facilities like a new library over the years. However, residents complain that this is insufficient in comparison to the damage that has been done (1).

Officials deny that the problems plaguing Fares are related to hydraulic fracturing. Similarly, a 2016 study published by Italian firm D’Appolonia for DanaGas posits that “there is no evidence that Dana Gas could have either introduced more surface water to the existing system, or significantly altered the drainage of such surface waters.” The study goes as far as to conclude that the Dana Gas activities neither directly nor indirectly caused the alleged flooding in Fares Village (3).

It is important to note that fracking in Fares started during the Mubarak years, which has led activists and residents to argue that Dana Gas has actively benefitted from the repression of the old regime, with less complaints from communities resulting in minimised payments for the company (2).

In 2012, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) launched a campaign to help residents of Fares get to the bottom of the issue and lobby for their rights. The demands of residents are yet to be met.

In 2014, Dana Gas sold its remaining 50% stake in Kom Ombo concession, including the Al Baraka and West Al Baraka oil fields, to Mediterra Energy, a subsidiary of Sea Dragon Energy Inc, for around $6.3 million in cash.

Basic Data

Name Fracking and flooding in Fares, Egypt
CountryEgypt
ProvinceAswan
SiteFares
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level

Source of Conflict

Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Shale gas fracking
Specific CommoditiesCrude oil
Natural Gas

Project Details and Actors

Project DetailsProduction at Al-Baraka Field is derived from 12 wells (all located in the main field area) within a total of 14 including exploration and development wells.

In 2014, the concession was producing crude oil at a rate from 350 to 400 barrels per day (bpd).
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date01/01/2008
Company Names or State EnterprisesDana Gas Egypt from Egypt
Mediterra Energy from Canada - In 2014, Dana Gas sold its remaining 50% stake in Kom Ombo concession, including the Al Baraka and West Al Baraka oil fields, to Mediterra Energy, a subsidiary of Sea Dragon Energy Inc, for around $6.3 million in cash.
Sea Dragon Energy Inc - In 2014, Dana Gas sold its remaining 50% stake in Kom Ombo concession, including the Al Baraka and West Al Baraka oil fields, to Mediterra Energy, a subsidiary of Sea Dragon Energy Inc, for around $6.3 million in cash.
Madison Petrogas from Canada - In 2014, Dana Gas sold its remaining 50% stake in Kom Ombo concession, including the Al Baraka and West Al Baraka oil fields, to Mediterra Energy, a subsidiary of Sea Dragon Energy Inc, for around $6.3 million in cash. In October 2015, Sea Dragon Energy Inc. was acquired by Madison Petrogas Ltd.,
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Petroleum

Ganope, among with the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA), is responsible for ensuring that all drilling practices performed in Aswan abide by strict environmental preservation laws.
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersEgyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)UNKNOWN
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of MobilizationLawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place

Outcome

Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Migration/displacement
Development of AlternativesEIPR demanded that an immediate moratorium be placed on the practice until Egypt had governmental institutions capable of properly overlooking the details of all drilling practices, and closing many of the potential loopholes in the bureaucratic process.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Since the flooding began, Dana Gas has refused outright to provide any compensation or support that might remedy the problem, stating explicitly that it would not do anything which might imply that it holds any responsibility for causing the damage.

At this stage it is unclear what approach the new owners of the concession will take, when dealing with the residents of Fares and their demands.

Sources and Materials

Links

(1) Is fracking responsible for the flooding of an Upper Egyptian village?
http://www.egyptindependent.com/fracking-responsible-flooding-upper-egyptian-village/

(3) Dana Gas Komombo Concession, Egypt Investigative Study of the Hydraulic Fracturing and Seismic Activities Conducted by DANA GAS
http://www.danagas.com/en-us/PublishingImages/Lists/Press%20Releases/AllItems/Komombo%20Report%20En.pdf

(2) The Flooding of Fares – are oil companies destroying an Egyptian village?
http://platformlondon.org/2013/02/13/the-flooding-of-fares-are-oil-companies-destroying-an-egyptian-village/

Other Documents

Orchard Fares Orchards in Fares are flooded (Photo: Platform London)
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Orchard_fares.jpg

School Fares School playground in Fares is flooded (Photo: Platform London)
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Fares_school.jpg

Meta Information

ContributorAWK
Last update10/01/2018

Images

 

Orchard Fares

Orchards in Fares are flooded (Photo: Platform London)

School Fares

School playground in Fares is flooded (Photo: Platform London)