Rock Around the Clock

How does the United States start down the path of seriously addressing its nation’s energy crisis, reduce its deep and growing dependence on unstable regions of the world for energy, and at the same time maintain our competitive edge in the global marketplace? And oh, how do we put tens of thousands of Americans back to work who are struggling during one of the most drawn out economic downturns in a generation?

Loaded question, you say. In reality though, because of the 60 year old oil and natural gas stimulation technology called hydraulic fracturing – coupled with advancements in horizontal drilling techniques – these difficult and long-debated national problems are being addressed before our eyes.

Here’s what they saying about job-creating unconventional oil and natural gas production in America enable by fracture stimulation technologies:

Hollywood, National Media “Trying to make an issue out of something we’ve been doing since the 1940s”

  • “There is no Bakken without hydraulic fracturing”: Engineers have used fracking to increase well production for more than 60 years, but it has become especially effective recently in combination with horizontal drilling and other technological developments. … Industry officials insist the process is environmentally sound and provides a windfall to land and mineral rights owners who otherwise wouldn’t see their properties fully developed. … “It’s a little bit frightening that the national media and Hollywood are trying to make an issue out of something we’ve been doing since the 1940s,” said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council. “In North Dakota, hydraulic fracturing goes on at a depth of two miles beneath the surface, and they have yet to find any clear evidence of an issue” concerning impact on ground water, he said. Ness said the “rhetoric” concerning fracking “is something of an attack on fossil fuels.” … “The bottom line is there is no Bakken without hydraulic fracturing.” … “The states have regulated this process for decades,” he said. “The EPA has never proven to be as effective at regulating as the states, and we have one of the top regulatory agencies in the nation.” (Grand Forks Herald, 11/17/10)
  • Utah Lawmaker: “Students should learn that the [fracturing] practice is safe”: Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, recommended sending the video to environmental groups that deal in “misinformation.” He dismissed growing concerns about the chemical drilling injection known as “fracking” for natural-gas production. Draxler said the full Oklahoma video does address fracking and Utah students should learn that the practice is safe. “It’s just a public perception problem,” he said. (Salt Lake Tribune, 11/18/10)
  • Why Here, Why Now, Is it Safe: The oil and gas industry steadfastly defends the process of Hydro Fracturing as having been proven safe over many years as well as necessary to keep the nation on a path to energy independence. Studies have “consistently shown that the risks are managed, it’s safe, it’s a technology that’s essential … it’s also a technology that’s well-regulated,” said Lee Fuller, director of the industry coalition Energy In Depth. Just several years ago, an EPA study declared the fracking process posed “little or no threat to underground sources of drinking water.” (Press & Sun-Bulletin Op-Ed, 11/15/10)
  • “Natural gas key to solving energy woes; Shale revolution to open up vast quantities”: John Richels, chief executive of Devon Energy, showed the audience a small piece of black rock that’s the source of controversy over extraction of natural gas through a drilling process called hydraulic fracturing or fracking. To the industry, fracking is the key to unlocking vast reserves of gas hidden in the dense rock. … Richels said more than one million wells have been drilled using the technique and resistance has been mostly from places not familiar with energy drilling. (The Oklahoman, 11/17/10)

A Cleaner, More Secure Energy Future

  • “U.S. can slash carbon emissions with natural gas: report”: The shale gas boom could help the United States reduce greenhouse gas emissions even if Congress does not pass broad climate legislation, according to a Deutsche Bank report. U.S. natural gas prices have fallen sharply over the last two years as supplies expanded due to the unexpectedly swift development of technologies to tap the fuel in shale formations a mile or more underground. Lower natural gas costs have also already helped raise the proportion of U.S. electricity generated from the fuel to 23 percent from 20 percent two years ago. (Reuters, 11/17/10)
  • U. of MD Environmental Researcher: “A sensible shale gas policy”: Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and other Appalachian states all have a rich vein of Marcellus shale, buried thousands of feet underground. Locked in the shale is a huge quantity of natural gas. Combining two technologies — hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling — allows energy companies to free these valuable reserves. … In Pennsylvania and other Marcellus states, including Maryland, shale gas can be a boon — a catalyst of a clean, sustainable energy sector that creates lasting employment — as long as states don’t buy into the boom-town mentality. Controlled growth, embedded in a comprehensive plan for a clean energy sector, offers the best chance for states to see the economic benefits. … Natural gas is the cleanest of fossil fuels, causing only half as much CO2 emissions as coal burned in a power plant. It’s domestic, versatile and can enable a clean, sustainable energy sector. It’s too good to waste. (Baltimore Sun Op-Ed, 11/15/10)

Hundreds of Jobs in Rural America at a Time When They’re Most Needed

 

  • “Texas gas firm opens Tunkhannock (PA) office”: Southwestern Energy, headquartered in Houston, Texas, will move its Northeastern Pennsylvania operations office from a rented space in Tunkhannock to a new office on state Route 92 in Lemon Township. The company does not yet have a solid timeline of when it anticipates the office will be completed, Appalachian Asset Manager John Nicholas said, but employees will move to temporary offices by the end of November. Nicholas said his company outgrew its leased offices, with 11 employees working in a space designed for six. He said the company anticipates 25 to 35 employees will work out of the new office as the company’s operations expand. … “You hear a lot of things about (gas industry) workers being imported from other places,” Nicholas said, “but today we have 11 people working there and there’s only one transfer from Alabama. The rest are local hires.” (Wilkes Barre Times-Leader, 11/11/10)
  • Oh Canada: “Canadian fracturing firm plans 200 jobs in PA”: A Canadian gas well services firm plans to hire more than 200 people for a new complex being built in southwestern Pennsylvania to serve Marcellus Shale wells. Calfrac Well Services Corp., based in Calgary, Alberta provides hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as well as coiled tubing and cementing services for oil and gas well drillers. John Grisdale, president of the company’s U.S. operations says Calfrac is building a full-service facility in the Fayette Business Park in Georges Township, about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh. The facility should open late next year and Grisdale tells the Herald-Standard of Uniontown, “Our expectation is to add 200 or more jobs.” (Associated Press, 11/17/10)

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