The positive and overwhelming economic and energy security benefits enabled by hydraulic fracturing – a tightly regulated 60-year old energy stimulation technology – continue to be realized across the nation. These benefits – affordable supplies of reliable homegrown energy and thousands of good-paying jobs – are a reality in major energy-producing states, particularly North Dakota and Texas.
And while New York was the birthplace of natural gas production, a de facto ban on Marcellus Shale production through the use of 21st century horizontal drilling technology continues to deny landowners their right to responsibly develop privately-owned, clean-burning, job-creating resources.
Facts are stubborn things, as they say. So for your edification, here are a few about fracturing.
In a Fort Worth Business Press column today, Bruce Vincent, chairman of the Independent Petroleum Association of American (IPAA) and president of Swift Energy, underscores the critical role that fracture stimulation has played, and continues to play, in safely producing homegrown, job-creating energy oil and natural gas resources over the past 60 years. Here are key excerpts from Vincent’s column, which speaks directly to the devastating consequences that bills like the FRAC Act would introduce to American consumers:
This process is tightly regulated by energy-producing states, and is subject to a host of federal laws and regulations as well. In fact, federal law mandates that these fluids – which as stated, are made up of more than 99.5 percent water and sand – be disclosed at every single well-site. Many states even provide these lists online.
In commercial use since 1949, hydraulic fracturing has been – and continues to be – the linchpin to American oil and natural gas production. With surgical-like precision, using high-pressure fluids made up of more than 99.5 percent water and sand, with a small percentage of everyday additives used to kill bacteria and reduce wellbore friction, fracturing stimulates oil and gas production thousands of feet below ground, allowing increased amounts of energy to be produced.
But is it safe, and what steps do producers take to ensure groundwater protection? The short answer: yes, and many.
Unfortunately, some members of Congress believe that they know better than Texas, and that Washington bureaucrats ought to regulate fracturing, rather than individual energy-producing states who understand the geology best and have amassed an impressive track record of overseeing this critical technology. These advocates say their legislation is about disclosure of fracturing fluids. At its core, though, these efforts are aimed at stopping fracturing altogether, which would significantly blunt the positive economic growth and job creation in Texas, as well as in other energy-producing states, and ultimately, increase the cost of energy for America.
More than 1,500 miles away from Ft. Worth, in bucolic Syracuse, NY, folks are also talking about fracturing’s long and clear record of environmental safety and effectiveness. In yesterday’s Syracuse Post-Standard, Alfred Station, NY-native Chris Kulander – who holds a Ph.D. in geophysics with a focus on petroleum seismology – write this about fracture stimulation, and the benefits this proven technology stands to help generate through responsibly developing New York’s portion of the Marcellus Shale:
No evidence directly connects injection of fracking fluid into shale with aquifer contamination. In 2004, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a study finding no confirmed instances of drinking water contamination by fracking fluids in the ground. This finding is not surprising, as fracking fluid is pumped through heavy steel pipe surrounded by a concrete liner to formations thousands of feet below aquifers.
Fracking has made production from the Marcellus Shale possible and created thousands of jobs.
An unfortunate push exists in New York to ban all fracking, purportedly until the technology can be “proven” safe, and to require federal oversight of fracking.
While a responsive state regulatory framework and vigorous, impartial enforcement of those regulations are necessary, draconian measures such as rolling moratoriums or federal oversight of fracking are not. New York is well able to regulate fracking while at the same time allowing development of natural gas and enjoying the jobs and revenue it brings.