In 1949, the average cost for a gallon of gasoline was 17 cents. That same year, the First Polaroid Camera was sold for $89.95. And while the Polaroid has certainly had a lasting impact on American society, it was in 1949 when hydraulic fracturing first came into commercial use.
This energy stimulation technology has been safely used to help produce homegrown oil and natural gas more than 1.1 million times. And because of the industry’s commitment to ensure environmental safety, along with commonsense laws and regulations overseeing the process, hydraulic fracturing has never caused groundwater contamination. But despite this remarkable track record of putting the nation on stronger path toward energy security, a host of claims surrounding fracturing continue to persist.
Energy In Depth’s Lee Fuller helped separate the fact from fiction in a Detroit Free Press letter this week:
Fracturing is not new and is not “exempt from federal water laws,” as Olson claims. Shale gas development is regulated under the federal Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, the Community “Right to Know” Act, the Superfund law and by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
While Olson claims that “Most states, like Michigan, have not evaluated the impacts” of this technology, your readers should know Harold Fitch, director of the Geological Survey (OGS) office at Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality — which regulates every aspect of oil and gas production, including fracturing — has said that “there is no indication that hydraulic fracturing has ever caused damage to ground water or other resources in Michigan.” Fitch notes that “OGS has never received a complaint or allegation that hydraulic fracturing has impacted groundwater in any way.”
Fracturing fluids are made up of more than 99.5% water and sand. A small percentage of fluids used to reduce friction and kill bacteria that are commonly found under one’s kitchen sink, are added. Not only is a list of these fluids mandated by federal law to be available at every well site, many organizations — including Energy In Depth — list them online.
And here’s just a quick snapshot of positive economic benefits that hydraulic fracturing is helping to bring to energy-producing regions of the country that are in desperate need of good-paying jobs and stable energy costs, as well as the commitment from the industry to be good neighbors and stewards of the environment:
- Making good on a promise; Halliburton plant creates jobs. Sun-Gazette. “When ground was broken last August on a cement mixing plant owned by Halliburton off Route 405 in Clinton Township, company officials promised they would bring jobs to this area. The company is making good on that promise, said Perry A. Harris, senior district manager for Halliburton’s northeast U.S. operations. “By year’s end we’ll have 75 to 100 (employees) and (add) another 100 to 150 next year,” Harris said during a recent tour of the plant. … Harris said the company plans to develop another 55 acres nearby that will be home to other Halliburton gas field support operations. “Between the two sites, we’ll (be hiring) 400-plus people over the next two to three years,” Harris said.
- Another Bakken in ND? KXN-TV. “Central Bottineau County is poised to become the hub of a brand new boom. We’ve all become familiar with the Bakken Shale Formation in recent years. That’s the huge oil-rich rock formation that’s triggered a major oil boom centered in the Stanley area. But now, major oil companies are making moves that suggest a second oil boom is in its infancy. Jim Olson reports. Oil wells are not new to Bottineau County. 40 years ago, several successful wells were drilled there. But the work going on this summer on drilling rigs like this could signal the beginning of a major oil rush to the region. Lynn Helms, Dept. of Mineral Resources, says “It’s going to have a major impact.”
- Our commitment to the community. Lock Haven Express, Marcellus Shale Coalition’s Kathryn Klaber. “And while Marcellus development is still in the early stages, many of these benefits are already being realized. According to a recent study released by researchers at Penn State, our industry will help create nearly 212,000 jobs across the Commonwealth over the next decade. Last year alone, Marcellus development was responsible for the creation of 44,000 jobs. To date, landowners have received more than $1.7 billion in royalties and lease payments from Marcellus producers. And this production has also generated close to $400 million in state and local tax receipts – with that number expected to double this year. Many Pennsylvanians are also seeing lower energy rates because of this increase supply, allowing consumers to keep more of what they earn.
- Natural gas fueling economy. Shreveport Times. “The Haynesville Shale is the fourth largest natural gas field in the world. Discovered in 2008, the shale rock is buried as deep as two miles under the ground and in some places can be 500 feet thick. It stretches about 5,000 square miles under most of northwest Louisiana, and experts believe it contains about 245 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to power America for 10 years. Local leaders tout the economic benefits of the shale not just because of the millions of dollars in royalties and leasing bonuses paid to local landowners during the past two years from gas companies scrambling to acquire space to drill, but also new jobs and economic growth have come as a result of the production.
- Anadarko joins team to preserve stream banks. Lock Haven Express. “The Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the Bureau of Forestry have been working with volunteers from Anadarko Petroleum Corp. this week to construct in-stream fish habitat structures along Trout Run, a tributary to Pine Creek. Last fall, Anadarko contributed $10,000 to the conservancy to purchase materials for a stream restoration project in the Pine Creek watershed. Anadarko employees volunteered to help with the installation at the time of the donation. This week, they kept their word with 20 Anadarko staff from Williamsport and Houston pounding sledge hammers , moving rock, and securing silt fabric to create the in-stream structures.
- UGI to spend $300M on drilling project. Citizens Voice. “UGI Corp. plans to invest more than $300 million over the next two years to develop natural gas infrastructure in the Marcellus Shale region, a project that includes a “major pipeline project,” the utility company announced Thursday. UGI officials outlined the move in a one-and-a-half-page news release sent out after normal business hours without providing details of exactly where the company might locate such a pipeline. The project would bring Marcellus Shale producers in the state “improved access to high-value markets,” according to the release.
- Gas Company Overhauling Some Roads. WNEP-TV. “Cabot Oil and Gas is now completely rebuilding some roads before all the trucks show up. It’s a complete transformation along Wickizer Road, a state road near Dimock. Trucks and crews are turning a narrow dirt road into one wide enough to handle big trucks coming and going all the time. Cabot Oil and Gas is doing all the work on that road and other state and township roads in Susquehanna County before there is truck traffic.