August 04, 2011

Water the fracking is happening?

Plenty of other people have blogged about the 1987 EPA study showing, at least in one case, that fracking for oil or gas can contaminate water supplies.

I have just a few takeaways to add.

From page 3 of the story:
State inspectors and drilling experts suggested in interviews that the contamination in Mr. Parsons’ well might have been caused when fracking pushed chemicals from the gas well into nearby abandoned wells where the fracking pressure might have helped them migrate up toward the water well.

This well was fracked using gas and water, and with far less pressure and water than is commonly used today.
OK, so if LESS pressure and water were used today, all the oil/gas industry excuses, such as the fracking chemicals migrating through abandoned mines, water wells, etc., a one-time incident, are suspect.

That said, there's this page 2 comment:
Even critics of fracking tend to agree that if wells are designed properly, drilling fluids should not affect underground drinking water.
But, what does "designed properly" mean? Has the Environmental Protection Agency, or the U.S. Geological Society, or any oil and gas company, done any modeling to determine what "designed properly" means?

Assuming such modeling is about nonexistent, then the increased water and pressure usage of today means that oil-gas industry attempts to explain away issues carries even less weight. It's possible that frack jobs are enough better designed since 1984, the date of the contamination-causing job, to offset the potential problems from using more water under higher pressure. But it's certainly not guaranteed.

And, do local or state governments, or the feds, in light of Deepwater Horizon, require posting of bonds of sufficient value to deter shortcutting on what is theoretically a "designed properly" frack job?

Given that the story talks about a 2004 EPA study of fracking in coal-bed methane that was found to be industry-influenced, I think we know those answers.

So, let's ignore this comment, and let's assume reXXX from eXXXon knew better all along:
“There have been over a million wells hydraulically fractured in the history of the industry, and there is not one, not one, reported case of a freshwater aquifer having ever been contaminated from hydraulic fracturing. Not one,” Rex W. Tillerson, the chief executive of ExxonMobil, said last year at a Congressional hearing on drilling.
After all, if it's eXXXon and the truth, their relationship is pretty nebulous at best.

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