Here at Energy In Depth, as you may know, we’re tirelessly committed to getting the facts out about hydraulic fracturing, a tightly-regulated 60-year-old oil and natural gas stimulation technology. It seems that almost every day new evidence emerges in support of hydraulic fracturing’s clear record of environmental safety, as well as the positive impact the technology is having on America’s economy. Yet there are still those who choose to rely on hyperbole rather than facts when addressing this game-changing technology.
And in Saturday’s Santa Maria (CA) Times, EID’s Lee Fuller sheds light on some of these facts:
This newspaper makes a series of claims about hydraulic fracturing that are simply unsupported by the facts. Claiming that the process is unregulated in California would be news to the state’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources, which according to its Web site has “statutory authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing under Section 3106 of the Public Resources Code.”
Hydraulic fracturing has been used more than 1.5 million times since the 1940s without a single instance of drinking water contamination.
Shale gas production is helping to create tens of thousands of jobs across the country, increasing America’s energy security, and generating billions of dollars for state and local governments, something California desperately needs. The fact that hydraulic fracturing can be performed safely and responsibly makes these economic benefits even more obvious.
Speaking of hydraulic fracturing facts, last week the American Petroleum Institute (API) released a new white paper entitled “Hydraulic Fracturing: Unlocking America’s Natural Gas Resources”, a must-read for anyone seeking credible, science-based information about this critical technology. This from API’s primer:
Clean burning natural gas is critical to American manufacturing jobs, to farmers for fertilizer, to households for heating and cooking, to businesses for electricity and fuel for transportation needs, and to society to help address climate change concerns because of its low carbon-content. But getting to the natural gas isn’t always easy. That’s where hydraulic fracturing plays an important role in America’s energy supply.
The overview also notes that “without hydraulic fracturing the US would lose 45% of domestic natural gas production and 17% of oil production within five years.”
And here’s what they’re saying about the shale gas revolution underway in America, made possible by hydraulic fracturing:
- Houston Chronicle: “The case for shale gas: Study on abundant resource points up national security advantages”: If the Obama administration needs further proof of the pivotal importance to national and global security of developing our abundant domestic natural gas resources, it will find it in a landmark study by scholars at Rice University’s Baker Institute, released last week. “Shale Gas and U.S. National Security,” coauthored by Baker scholars Kenneth B. Medlock III, Amy Myers Jaffe and Peter Hartley, offers exhaustive, objective and incontrovertible scholarly argumentation for aggressive development of this resource. The work provides a veritable connect-the-dots between development of shale gas in places like South Texas, Arkansas, West Virginia and Pennsylvania and the undeniable national security benefits such development would bring. The study calls the emergence of shale gas “perhaps the most intriguing development in global energy markets in recent memory.” (Editorial, 7/23/11)
- New York Post: “Just the fracks?”: If a new study out of Penn State doesn’t make New Yorkers breathless at the chance to allow hydraulic fracturing — a new method for extracting natural gas — absolutely nothing will. The study says Pennsylvania, which allows the process (also known as fracking), will reap a $12.8 billion bonanza this year from drilling. The spike in activity has helpedcreate nearly 140,000 jobs, both inside and outside the industry. Spending for natural-gas extraction in the Keystone State (not even including salaries) came to $4.7 billion in 2009, $11.1 billion last year and could reach $14.5 billion in 2012. … Pennsylvania may soon pass Texas as the nation’s top natural-gas exporter, producing nearly 3.5 billion cubic feet a day. (Editorial, 7/22/11)
- La. Dept. of Natural Resources Sec. Scott Angelle: Exploration of the Haynesville Shale has been a tremendous asset for our economy– generating more than $320 million in revenue from lease bonuses, royalties and rental payments to state and local governments since 2008, not including taxes and support activity. More than 2,000 wells have been permitted, begun drilling or are already producing, and the U.S. Department of Energy designated the Haynesville Shale as the most productive natural gas play in the nation this year. (DNR release, 7/22/11)
- Fmr. WVU engineering prof.: “Why fracturing is good for you”: This hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technology in conjunction with the Marcellus shale gas is a godsend we should cherish, protect and celebrate. As in any industry, there are risks and abuses that need to be controlled, but to attack hydraulic fracturing or horizontal drilling is not only irrational, but actually counterproductive. (Charleston Gazette, Op-Ed, 7/23/11)
- American shale gas “bringing wealth to the community,” keeping “taxes low during tough economic times”: “Schools are strapped financially because of cuts from the state, and if we could get some funds from something like this, it would be a godsend,” Zick said. … “It paid for three-quarters of the track, which we would have not been able to do otherwise,” Zick said. “It was badly needed. We couldn’t even have a track meet there because PIAA wouldn’t let us.” Mountain View Superintendent Andrew Chichurra said the money also was used for a new roof on the elementary school and upgrades to the high school soccer field. … Twenty miles west, near Dimock, a school district is reaping the benefits from a drilling operation on its own land. … Bush said the district has received more than $700,000 to date, and the money is being used for capital improvement projectsas they arise and to keep taxes low during tough economic times. … “I’m thrilled there was no rise in my property taxes,” said Suzanne St. Pierre, parent of a recent Elk Lake High School graduate and resident of Auburn Township. “This is bringing wealth to the community.” (Times Leader, 7/24/11)
- “Gas A Cash Crop: Public Entities Benefit From Drilling Money”: The Marshall County Parks and Recreation Board received an initial $1.5 million payment for a land lease at Grand Vue Park. The deal called for $2,900 per acre for 532 acres, along with 18.75 percent in royalties. Much like Brooke County, park officials said the money will be used for future projects and improvements at the park. … West Liberty University also has signed a gas lease deal. The school expects to receive $5,000 per acre for its 279 acres, or about $1.4 million, not including 18 percent in royalties if drilling begins. The school plans to use its money to help build a new science center on campus. (Wheelings News-Register, 7/24/11)
- “Energy Boom Fuels Hiring”:In May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were 413,500 jobs in the oil and gas extraction and support businesses in positions ranging from roustabout to tax accountant. After shedding jobs for much of the previous two decades, steady job growth returned to the U.S. industry in 2004, about the same time that U.S. energy producers began extracting natural gas from shale-rock formations. The sector has added an average of 5,920 jobs a month this year through May and preliminary data suggest that trend continued in June. Through May, there are13.6% more jobs tied to drilling than at the end of last year. By contrast the number of construction jobs in the U.S. has only grown 0.8% in that span. (Wall Street Journal, 7/26/11)
- The Oklahoman: “A wedding of demand and technology”: Enhanced recovery techniques have dramatically increased estimates of natural gas reserves in shale formations. Those estimates aren’t overhyped, as recently claimed in a New York Times story, says the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Gas production is projected to increase by 26 percent between 2009 and 2035, largely because of shale gas that can be tapped largely because of hydraulic fracturing. … Shale gas is a game changer for the nation. The question now is whether the Obama administration will change the rules of the game with a federal takeover of hydraulic fracturing oversight. … It’s been around for 60 years but is getting new attention in shale formations. It’s the wedding of demand for cleaner energy with the supply of technology to produce it. (Editorial, 7/24/11)
- Wall Street Journal: “A Tale of Two Shale States”: A new Manhattan Institute report by University of Wyoming professor Timothy Considine estimates that a typical Marcellus well generates some $2.8 million in direct economic benefits from natural gas company purchases; $1.2 million in indirect benefits from companies engaged along the supply chain; another $1.5 million from workers spending their wages, or landowners spending their royalty payments; plus $2 million in federal, state and local taxes. Oh, and 62 jobs. … [Pa.] Marcellus drilling has created 72,000 jobs between the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2011. The average wage for jobs in core Marcellus shale industries is about $73,000, or some $27,000 more than the average for all industries. The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue says drillers have paid more than $1 billion in state taxes since 2006—and the numbers are swelling. … And all of this with no evidence of significant environmental harm. (Editorial, 7/26/11)
- USA Today: “Texas bucks national unemployment trend”, thanks to hydraulic fracturing: From June 2009 to June 2011 the state added 262,000 jobs, or half the USA’s 524,000 payroll gains, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. … Technological breakthroughs have let companies extract natural gas embedded in shale deposits. Barnett Shale in Fort Worth is one of the USA’s largest gas fields, and drilling began at the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas in 2008. The number of oil and gas rigs in the state has jumped to 850 from 330 in July 2009, says Ana Orozco, economist for IHS Global Insight. Each rig employs a few dozen workers and leads to hiring by engineering firms, pipeline builders and other services. (7/26/11)