Skip to comments.The Facts About Fracking The real risks of the shale gas revolution
Posted on 06/26/2011 3:32:41 PM PDT by Hojczyk
The U.S. is in the midst of an energy revolution, and we don't mean solar panels or wind turbines. A new gusher of natural gas from shale has the potential to transform U.S. energy productionthat is, unless politicians, greens and the industry mess it up.
Only a decade ago Texas oil engineers hit upon the idea of combining two established technologies to release natural gas trapped in shale formations. Horizontal drillingin which wells turn sideways after a certain depthopens up big new production areas. Producers then use a 60-year-old technique called hydraulic fracturingin which water, sand and chemicals are injected into the well at high pressureto loosen the shale and release gas (and increasingly, oil).
The resulting boom is transforming America's energy landscape. As recently as 2000, shale gas was 1% of America's gas supplies; today it is 25%. Prior to the shale breakthrough, U.S. natural gas reserves were in decline, prices exceeded $15 per million British thermal units, and investors were building ports to import liquid natural gas. Today, proven reserves are the highest since 1971, prices have fallen close to $4 and ports are being retrofitted for LNG exports.
Fracking contaminates drinking water. One claim is that fracking creates cracks in rock formations that allow chemicals to leach into sources of fresh water. The problem with this argument is that the average shale formation is thousands of feet underground, while the average drinking well or aquifer is a few hundred feet deep. Separating the two is solid rock. This geological reality explains why EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, a determined enemy of fossil fuels, recently told Congress that there have been no "proven cases where the fracking process itself has affected water."
Amid this political scrutiny, the industry will have to take great drilling care while better making
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
Can you say “fracking” on TV now? Times surely change, Shirley!
This is a good article....
That's the truth!
I live near the Marcellus shale. But my well is only 25 feet deep so, frack away!
Yes, it is a good article, followed by a lot of fracking dumb comments on the WSJ site.
So the anti-capitalist, anti-human Gaia worshippers lie to push their agenda.
Can you say fracking on TV now? Times surely change, Shirley!
Absofrakinglutly! And since the fraking 70’s. Ask any BSG fan!
Once again the environmentalist establishment does not like a new alternative source of clean abundant energy. Seems as soon as a new tech starts to prove itself as effective for the masses is when it goes from being “alternative” to being “dirty”.
Bump to read Later
The way to shut the enviro whacks up is to Alinsky them. Americans should just keep filing suits against the Sierra club, disrupting their meetings, taking bogus scientists t task.
Reagan taught us a lot about how to take down the enemy. We have to fight fire with fire.
Is natural gas going to go up any time soon?
They’re already trying their best to stop it in NW PA. I guess 30 years of depression era economy isn’t enough for them. Oh well, you can always live in the past . . .not!
The biggest risk in shale gas drilling, production and Fracking is that it might increase employment, directly and indirectly, by 10s of thousands with decent and very well paying NON UNION jobs in areas of the country overrun by democrats, unions and welfare leeches. There is a reason that the enviro-wackos and democrats chose NY and PA, not TX and OK as the epicenter for their latest crusade against anything related to domestic fossil fuel development.
Technically, the biggest risks are surface handling of materials and water, and good near surface fresh water isolation by mechanically competent casing and cementing practices. Both of these are VERY easy problems to make consistently safe, and in practice, are working 99.9% of the time today.
Look, we got this figured out down here. It works. You do don’t have to do anything but stay out of the way and enjoy the clean energy we can safely provide. Stop being such Nervous Nellies.
Notice that the two technologies are "established". In Texas, "fracking" has been commonplace since the fifties (over sixty years ago). And, during that history, no water well (under 200 ft depth) has been contaminated by "fracking" in vertical wells at beyond 8,000 ft in depth.
Now, in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale (as well as in Texas, in the Barnett Shale, where I reside), "fracking" is taking place in horizontally drilled wells. Again, below the 8,000 ft horizon. Use your head. Is there any reason why "fracking" a horizontally-drilled well at 8,000 ft would contaminate a 200 ft water well -- while "fracking" a vertical well at 8,000 ft would not?
Further, they say methane has been found in Pennsylvania water wells. Where might it have come from?
Is not the entirety of Pennsylvania under-lain by coal beds? Is not shallow methane always found in close association with coal beds? Are there not old wells all over Pennsylvania drilled to raise so-called "coal-bed methane"?
Net:net -- there is no scientific reason whatsoever to be concerned with "fracking" in the Marcellus Shale. No more than there is to be concerned with "fracking" in the Barnett Shale.
I live in Williamsport, PA....in the heart of Marcellus Shale drilling.
The hysteria is incredible.
The liberals, who complain about a lack of jobs in previous years, are now complaining about all these drillers and traffic in our area.
I have challenged them to cite what industries they want that would not create more traffic or more people coming to our area. Nobody can cite one.
It shows that while liberals always talk about creating jobs, they are the first ones to complain when a jobs boom begins because it changes their way of life.
I worked in the Jonah/ Mesa natural gas fields of Pinedale Wyoming.
I worked on the fracs and as a flowtester and the average depth of every well I worked on was 13 thousand feet or better
Fracking is less harmful than the depleted Missourian we release in the Middle East to protect our energy needs.
Frack baby frack!
I'm glad that we have good leadership in Harrisburg during this time of transition. I fully expect the Corbett Administration to continue supporting economic development, with consideration of appropriate safeguards. Pennsylvania can sure use the jobs and tax revenue.