Posting in Energy
The USGS has found that natural gas reserves in the Northeastern US may have been significantly inflated in previous estimates.
A new report by the United States Geological Survey has found that reserves of recoverable natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation fall dramatically short of previous estimates, raising questions about the energy industry's influence over government.
The findings are likely to rebalance the equation on recoverable gas versus cost, the availability of water, and other environmental issues. The USGS estimates that there is 84 trillion cubic feet of natural gas available for extraction, conflicting sharply with the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) figure of 410 trillion cubic feet.
The EIA’s methods will likely come under scrutiny, and some members of Congress are investigating its ties to the energy industry, according to reports.
The Marcellus Shale is a geological formation that spans the Appalachian Basin; it has attracted significant interest in energy development. Oil and gas companies use a controversial mining technique called hydrofracking to extract the gas.
The process is known to cause serious groundwater contamination, and is a potential threat to municipal drinking water supplies. Several states, including New York, have either banned on placed restrictions upon the process.
Here’s how hydrofracking works: a borehole is dug deep into the ground to inject a proprietary chemical mix that breaks up and opens channels in rock formations; gas is then expelled from the rock and collected. Fracking firms have no been not required to disclose what chemicals are used in the process, and some have admitted to pumping diesel fuel into the ground during the Bush administration’s era of regulatory neglect.
Energy industry trade groups claim that their members dig wells safely and below the water table. They have vigorously contested claims that the practice is unsafe.
Related on SmartPlanet:
- There’s no fracking way polluters won’t be bad actors
- Hydro-frackers to EPA: We used diesel - tough
- Controversial mining practice may return to the Empire state
- Scientist: gas industry is withholding hydro-fracking contamination data
Aug 26, 2011
I've never seen an industry mount such a campaign of misinformation, as I have the gas industry with respect to fracking. They should all be so ashamed. It's a widely accepted fact that diesel fuel is one of the many poisonous fracking agents that's injected into the ground, and it's awfully convenient that the pass that Bush-Cheney gave the industry makes it difficult to prove it. You realize what you're saying? The industry is allowed to keep fracking agents secret, so we can't prove it? If you really think it's industry know how that they were wanting to keep secret and not the terrible poisons that NO ONE would want pumped into the ground anywhere near them, I have a bridge to sell you. Let's face it, there are probably hundreds of fracking agents you wouldn't want anywhere near your children or grandchildren. Fracking threatens the water supply of over 100 million Americans. It is a pending disaster that will make the recent Gulf spill look like a hiccup. It could ruin the ground water across large swaths of America - a disaster that would be permanent on a human scale - all for just a little bit of natural gas. The frackers claim that their wells are much deeper than the aquifer, but all it takes is a problem with the casing going down into the well, or a problem with their catchment pond, their waste disposal methods, etc. for their poisons and natural gas to leach into the water table. They can't promise that it won't happen, and it's almost guaranteed that it will, over and over again, as it already has happened many times. When someone sinks a water well and draws water from it for 50 years without a problem, and then the frackers come along and within a year that person's shower is exploding, you just can't tell him it's from "naturally occurring" natural gas. C'mon now! It should be criminal. I hope when the dust settles, the people that are responsible for poisoning the environment all go to jail, but right now the gas companies are exempt from the same laws that you and I have to observe, thanks to the Bush administration. Here's a link to a petition that asks that the oil, gas and coal companies all be required to observe the Clean Water Act just like the rest of us. They are no above the law... www.change.org/petitions/require-the-oil-and-gas-industries-to-observe-the-clean-water-act After all, that was the whole point of passing the law.
I say stop the fox from guarding the chickens. We need the people representation to ensure accountability, and (hopefully) tranparency.
Just what exactly are the alleged water problems and the purported solutions? Flaming faucets, yes, but from what cause -- is this from methane migrating into the groundwater, or from the fracking fluid? Other than dumping its waste in the river via municipal water treatment plants, what solutions (or at least reasonable hopes) are out there needing development? Who is working on it, and what do they say? Has anyone thought about just being honest about the problems and inviting solutions from outside the petroleum industry and the government? Even if the estimates were inflated, there is still a lot of gas, which we'll need on standby to back up the deployment of wind and solar. It's a resource we might safely exploit, if only the happy talk would cease and real creative problem-solving begin.
Enough with the yellow journalism, Mr. Worthington. Horizontal drilling and fracturing has never been shown unequivocally to contaminate groundwater in any of the shale gas plays, period. There have been instances of surface water contamination by fracturing fluid wastes, but that's another matter.
Wow, David, Very interesting, but after reading the following is this a scientific report or a political commentary? "Fracking firms have no been not required to disclose what chemicals are used in the process, and some have admitted to pumping diesel fuel into the ground during the Bush administration???s era of regulatory neglect." Unless you can really back the statement "Bush administration's era of regulatory neglect" up this is really just a lame opinion piece with an agenda.