Saturday, June 6, 2009

Federal Government Regulation of Fracing Shale Gas Wells?

This is an issue worth following. I imagine the average person can be quite alarmed at the idea of an oil and gas company pumping enough water and chemicals into the Earth to fracture rocks enough to produce oil and gas. This technique is referred to in the industry as "fracing" and it is a common practice, but as its use spreads more people are becoming aware of it.

The question here is do we really need Federal regulation of the process of fracing? The states already regulate this activity and it has not been a problem. Why is there this sudden concern now? Is it part of a larger overall plan to hamper oil and gas production? Aren't we trying to limit our dependence on foreign oil and gas?

House Natural Resources Committee hearing testimony on shale gas drilling today

9:01 AM Thu, Jun 04, 2009
Dave Michaels/Reporter (source)

A hearing of the House Natural Resources Committee this morning will focus on the art of hydraulic fracturing and, more broadly, shale gas production. Some Democrats, including Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado, have charged that hydraulic fracturing can cause groundwater contamination and should be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. (Gas drilling is currently regulated by state agencies.) A couple weeks ago, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson suggested her agency might reexamine the impact of drilling on drinking water. This further spooked the industry.

Even though DeGette has yet to introduce her bill, the industry has launched a preemptive strike with a coalition called Energy in Depth. Its case got a boost last week, when a report by the Ground Water Protection Council said state regulation was adequate. There are no known cases of contamination due to gas drilling in Texas, according to the Texas Railroad Commission and the Texas Groundwater Protection Committee.

The witnesses include Douglas Duncan of the U.S. Geological Survey; Scott Kell of the Groundwater Protection Council; and Mike John of Chesapeake Energy, a major player in the Barnett Shale. You can watch the hearing here

1 comment:

  1. The recent success in Barnet Shale production has increase the unconventionl gas players in the US of the large amount of potential for unconventional gas (particularly) shale gas to develop further. there is huge amount of articles/news/publication which has somewhat illustrate the confidence that these players. In recent gas conferences (global), it has been further recognised that the unprecedented development in the US has and will further change the terrain or landscape of the global gas industry. As unconventional gas supplies will represent a more significant "pie" in the country's indigenous production by 2020...i guess the government are taking the necessary steps to make the process of extracting the unconventional resources "greener" and more sustainable....thus the sudden "concern" in facing...