Energy & Commerce Committee Investigates Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing

Chairman Henry A. Waxman and Subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey today sent letters to eight oil and gas companies that use hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and natural gas from unconventional sources in the United States. The Committee is requesting information on the chemicals used in fracturing fluids and the potential impact of the practice on the environment and human health….

To read the full article, click here.

http://energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1896:energy-a-commerce-committee-investigates-potential-impacts-of-hydraulic-fracturing&catid=122:media-advisories&Itemid=55

Refracking wells?

In an Q and A interview in the Williamsport Gaurdian, Richard Adams , a spokesman for Chief Oil and Gas said—
“Re-fracking is not a common event in the Barnett or any other shale field at this time and I would not expect it to be common in the Marcellus at any point in the future.”

If this were true, it would be a good thing.

If a well is only fracked once, then the number of fracks would equal the number of wells but if wells are refracked every few years the number of fracks grows exponentially larger than the well count.
Each refrack uses more water than the last, 25% more is the given figure.  Each refrack generates a new load of highly contaminated waste water. Each refrack restresses the well casings with 6000 to 8000 pounds per square inch of pressure.  Each refrack invites the danger of surface contamination by spilled or leaked concentrated chemicals.

When some folks in the Barnett Shale area of Texas were asked if Adam’s statement was true they gave these replies.

“Baloney!  I don’t have time to find references now but they are available. They don’t have to get a permit so no one really keeps track but it’s common knowledge.”

“Chk (Chesapeake) has told folks they plan to refrack many times over the life of the reserves..like every 3 or 4 years.”

“If they are on the lease side trying to say you will make lots of money…,and they refrack When they are talking about the environmental side, they say the opposite.”

“FALSE.  One of the pad sites near my home is refracked regularly due to several wells on the site. The frack trucks are also a common site on the highway. Ubiquitous is the word.”

“Absolutely they will refrack  and have already at many wells. The Industry folks I talked to relayed the probability of  every 3 to 5 years  depending on the well.”
And here’s what the industry has to say about it.

“It has been established that only 10% of GIP [gas in place] is recovered with the initial completion. Refracturing the shale can increase the recovery rate by an additional 8% to 10%. Simple reperforation of the original interval and pumping a job volume at least 25% larger than the previous frack has produced positive results in vertical shale wells.”

source:  Halliburton. Jan. 2007. “Developing Gas Shale Reserves .“ Advances in Unconventional Gas. A Hart Energy Publication. p. 28.
Focus on the Marcellus Shale By Lisa Sumi
FOR THE OIL & GAS ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT/
EARTHWORKS, MAY 2008
According to Halliburton, an oil and gas service company:
It is important to note that a well drilled in the Marcellus shale may have to be fracked several times over the course of its life to keep the gas flowing, and that each fracking operation may require more water than the previous one.

From a Devon investor report: (Devon is one of the major gas exploration companies in the Barnett shale)

In addition to the refracs, we have also drilled and completed several wells on 250-foot spacing rather than the 500-foot spacing that our existing proved reserves are based on. If the early success of the first several wells drilled on 250-foot spacing continues, there may be substantial additional reserves to be recognized in the Barnett Shale over the coming years.

Our gas drilling in the Barnett Shale and Selma Chalk continues to provide additional production and reserves as we continue to test the limits of each field, whether it is from down spacing, extending the limits of each field or refracking of existing wells. (emphasis added)

As an example of a successful refrac, Devon Energy has reported on a well from which production had declined from 2,000 mcfe/day to 500 mcfe/day after 4.5 years. A re-frac restored production to 1,600 mcfe/day initially, declining to 1,000 mcfe/day after 3 months, and has probably doubled the remaining reserves from this well.
I suppose this information speaks for itself.

Waterdog Update

Here’s an update on the Waterdog training coming up this month. Don’t forget to call Erika and let her know you are coming to the training. Contact me if you need her number.

Hello Waterdogs,

I wanted to let everyone know that I have finally confirmed the location for the Advanced Waterdog Training!!  It is Saturday, February 27, from 9-12 at the Ives Run Recreation area at the Tioga Hammond Lakes.  It will be held in the Visitor’s Center/Ranger Station.

This training is for current waterdogs only – but I only have some of the emails!!  I will be mailing out other fliers for those that I don’t have emails – so if you could please send this on to someone that you know is already a waterdog I would really appreciate it.  Also I have cards for everyone – I have redone the cards if you have already received one – they are more wallet friendly!!  So please let me know one way or the other if you are coming to the training – if you are not planning to attend the training I will mail your Id card to you.

Thank you,

Erica Tomlinson

Watershed Specialist

Tioga County Conservation District

EPA Hydrofracking Study

From a member of representative Chris Carney’s staff:

EPA Administer Lisa Jackson minutes ago finished a news conference which highlights President’s Obama’s FY2011 budget as it pertains to EPA. I thought you’d be interested to know Ms. Jackson specifically mentioned that funding for the study on the affects of hydrofracing on drinking water is included in the $847 Science allocation. You may recall that Congress directed EPA to conduct this study last fall. You can view the entire news conference on the link below. Her comments on the hydrofracing study can be found at minute 8:00.

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/4378451

Frack Act-Act Now!!!!

Congressman Carney has publicly stated that he isn’t ready to commit his vote to the Frack Act, but he might be willing to get off that fence to vote in favor if enough people – in and out of his district – tell him he should. Please consider sending him a message that he should vote for the Frack Act, which among other things will force the makers of the toxic chemical blends used to frack wells to disclose their specific recipes. This information can be critical to first responders treating those exposed to the frack fluids.

You can click on this link to get to his site: http://carney.house.gov/contact.shtml

Frac In Depth

http://www.energyindepth.org/in-depth/frac-in-depth/

Here’s a link to a site that is industry driven. It gives you the energy industries take on what they are doing and a history of Fracking…that only includes information on the bright side of the coin. There’s a lot of water and sand but the other stuff is pretty nasty. Keep in mind that after the water comes out of the well, it has all sorts of goodies in it that are not mentioned in their graph. They can control what they put in the ground but it’s much harder to determine what’s going to come back out of it.

I’m not sure if they expected the radioactive materials they found in NY. The below link contains info from the DEC about the radioactivity.

http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/23473.html

What We Dont Know

http://www.propublica.org/feature/natural-gas-drilling-what-we-dont-know-1231

End of the year story from propublica.

My Turn by Joe Sestak

Pike County Courier > Opinion

MY TURN By Joe Sestak

Published: December 24, 2009

Caution required in gas drilling

I believe in the responsible development of Pennsylvania’s energy resources, including natural gas, as part of the transition to a cleaner, more renewable and more secure energy supply. In Pennsylvania alone, there are several hundred trillion cubic feet of natural gas — enough to supply this country’s demand for decades to come. Natural gas can boost our economy and cut our dependence on foreign oil. And it also causes less than half the carbon emissions of coal, allowing us to reduce our impact on climate change in the near term.

Our abundant natural resources are a blessing for our Commonwealth. We should never have to sacrifice our health and safety, clean air and water, natural lands, and communities to companies seeking access to our natural wealth. Clear regulations and strict accountability for violators can protect us from abuse and carelessness. Reasonable fees can offset the cost of these protections and provide a sustainable investment in Pennsylvania.

Done improperly, drilling can seriously harm our health and safety, environment, and land values. It should be done only with clear and transparent reporting and strong oversight. That’s why I have written to the Secretary of DEP urging the Department to make its reports on the oversight of the drilling operations readily available to the public.

It’s also important that Pennsylvanians know that this drilling, called hydrofracking, falls under the so-called “Halliburtron Loophole” that was slipped into President Bush’s energy bill in 2005 and allows energy companies to ignore the rules of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. These protections exist for a reason. Fracking involves using huge amounts of water laced with chemicals, and it has already contaminated drinking water in seven counties across Pennsylvania. That’s why I co-sponsored the FRAC Act to close this loophole. I also helped pass legislation calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to look into threats this drilling method poses to our water supply.

Right now, the Pennsylvania legislature and the Department of Environmental Protection have the power and responsibility to protect the people of Pennsylvania from potential harmful effects of drilling. Wastewater regulations that have been proposed by DEP are a start, but much more needs to be done.

New regulations should not favor, by grandfathering, the use of older, less capable treatment processes at the expense of encouraging use of state of the art facilities. Regulations should cover all major components of fracking wastewater so that harmful substances don’t end up in our streams and rivers. Furthermore, the Commonwealth owes it to this, and future, generations to make sure drilling does not cause irreparable harm to our natural resources, especially our protected state lands.

I believe the state legislature and DEP must establish clear and effective regulation prior to further expansion of drilling in order to decide how best to protect our citizens and our natural resources. There is no doubt in my mind that if proper forces come to bare this can be done, and done quickly, so that we can move into a new era of economic prosperity for the Commonwealth while ensuring Pennsylvanians that their health and natural resources are adequately protected.

I am not convinced we currently have strong enough environmental, health, and property safeguards — and I am not satisfied that people will have the access to just compensation should even the best safeguards fail.

Let’s take a lesson from an earlier generation of energy development. Acid mine drainage is the legacy of abandoned coal mines. It has left 2,500 miles of deteriorated streams and 250,000 acres of contaminated land in Pennsylvania at an expense of $15 billion to clean up.

We have a real opportunity in Pennsylvania to benefit from the resources of Marcellus Shale, one of the largest natural gas reserves on the planet. There is no reason to allow this bounty to ultimately turn out to be a net harm for our state and our families.

Let’s not cash in on our resources today in a way that causes disproportionate harm, brings little lasting benefit, and results in a greater cost in the future. This is our state, these are our resources. Let’s utilize them in a way that is best for all the people of Pennsylvania and the generations that follow.

Editor’s note: This statement was delivered by US Senate candidate Rep. Joe Sestak (D-7-PA) At an Environmental Quality Board Public Hearing on the Proposed Wastewater Treatment Requirements Regulations:

DEP website info – what’s in the hydro fracking solution

Here is a page from DEP’s website with some good info on it. Check out the section entitled “Summary of Hydraulic Fracture Solutions”.

http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/minres/oilgas/new_forms/marcellus/marcellus.htm

Gas Execs Call for Disclosure of Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing

http://www.propublica.org/feature/gas-execs-call-for-disclosure-of-chemicals-used-in-hydraulic-fracturing-102

Here is another great article by Abrahm Lustgarten from Pro Publica. It talks more in depth about some gas company executives on the east coast making suggestions of exposing the detail components of the fracking fluid. In other words…what the heck is in that stuff! Of course they are not getting much support from their industry, especially the side of it that falls under Halliburton, but they are definitely seeing a lot of resistance from folks like us and it is causing a few of them to re-think their means to an end.

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