Fracking (or hydrologic fracturing)can be the key to Americas energy independence for the next century or more. Fracking
involves injecting water, with sand and other additives, into shale rock
to push oil and/or gas into accessible pockets. Improvements in
technology allow drilling horizontally from a single, above-ground well,
reducing the above-ground hit on the environment. But environmentalist are trying to outlaw fracking because (they claim) it pollutes water, causes earthquakes, male pattern baldness, and wrote all the lousy scripts for all the disappointing movies so far this summer (OK I will admit it–I made up the last two).
CBS is reporting that a landmark federal study on fracking conducted by the Department of Energy, shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process, seeped its way up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site.
After a year of monitoring, the researchers found that the
chemical-laced fluids used to free gas trapped deep below the surface
stayed thousands of feet below the shallower areas that supply drinking
water, geologist Richard Hammack said.
results are preliminary — the study is still ongoing — they are a
boost to a natural gas industry that has fought complaints from
environmental groups and property owners who call fracking dangerous.
Drilling fluids tagged with unique markers were injected more than
8,000 feet below the surface, but were not detected in a monitoring zone
3,000 feet higher. That means the potentially dangerous substances
stayed about a mile away from drinking water supplies.
Recent shale oil and gas discoveries can substantially increase onshore oil production. The Bakken oil field
located in western North Dakota, northeast Montana/Canada’s
Saskatchewan Province is pumping 225,000 barrels of oil a day (it started at just 3,000 barrels per day in 2005) with
estimates of a million barrels of oil production per day by 2020. A newer shale oil field, Eagle Ford
in Texas, is one of about 20 new fields so far that
combined could increase the oil output of the United States by 25
percent within 10 years.
The Green River Formation located within Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah
contains the equivalent of 6 trillion barrels of oil. The Department of
Energy estimates that, of this 6 trillion, approximately 1.38 trillion
barrels are potentially recoverable with today’s technology That’s
equivalent to more than five times the conventional oil reserves of
Those statistics, of course, assume that the U.S. and/or state governments does not
prevent hydraulic fracturing (my home state NY has a moratorium on the fracking depriving the state’s piggy bank of a badly needed infusion of tax revenue.
The federal government gave hydraulic fracturing a clean bill of health in 2004 and there has never been a documented case of ground water contamination owing to hydraulic fracturing. However, bowing to the envoronmentalists, president Obama has insisted that the Environmental Protection Agency,
the Department of Interior and the Department of Energy to conduct new tests on the process. This study is part of those tests.
If you want to learn more about fracking and the lies told about the process, I highly recommend you co the the Frack Nation site—they have been investigating this process for years.