Most of the water used in the fracking process is retrieved from well immediately and the rest eventually flows up with the natural gas and oil
The waste water is usually transferred to a treatment pond where it is treated so that it can be used again. Another option for waste water is to place it in an isolated well where it evaporates
Hydraulic Fracturing, along with horizontal drilling technology, helps energy company’s to tap previously unobtainable sources of the natural gas from shale Natural gas - Colourless, highly flammable gaseous hydrocarbon consisting primarily of methane and ethane. It commonly occurs in association with crude oil (Merriam-Webster). Also may contain: Carbon dioxide, hydrogen, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen, helium, and argon (Merriam-Webster).
Hydrocarbons - Any of a class of organic compounds composed only of carbon and hydrogen (Merriam-Webster). Are the principal constituents of petroleum and natural gas (Merriam-Webster). Serve as fuels, lubricants, and raw materials for production of plastics, fibers, rubbers, solvents, explosives, and industrial chemicals (Merriam- Webster).
300 million years ago prehistoric animals living in swamps and oceans died and began to decompose (U.S. Department of Energy, 2012). After millions of years of pressure and “cooking”, these organisms eventually formed oil and natural gas (U.S. Department of Energy, 2012)
500 B.C. Many cultures saw geysers of fire, usually believing them to be devine messages (NaturalGas.org). The Chinese formed crude pipelines to transport natural gas (NaturalGas.org). 1785 Britain use natural gas commercially (NaturalGas.org). Eventually, Britain would transport oil to the U.S. where it was used to light the streets of Baltimore (NaturalGas.org)
1930s Acid was used to stimulate a well instead of explosives (Montgomery, Smith, 2010). When acid was used to stimulate a well instead of explosive, the idea of “pressure parting” was discovered (Montgomery, Smith, 2010). 1949 Standard Oil introduced hydraulic fracturing (Montgomery, Smith, 2010). By 2010, there had been close to 2.5 million hydraulic fracturing treatments throughout the world the technology’s introduction (Montgomery, Smith, 2010)
Due to evidence suggesting that hydraulic fracturing may cause contamination of ground water, we should place regulations on the technology to restrict the practice from being done near communities to make sure we don’t contaminate drinking water while research is being done.
(Kamarshi, B., Kurtz, J., Soulsby, R., 2012) According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic natural gas production from shale is expected to nearly triple over the 25-year period 2010-2035 (Kamarshi, B., Kurtz, J., Soulsby, R., 2012).
It’s used for electricity The U.S. produces 20 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas per year (netl.doe.gov, 2011). 1 Tcf of natural gas is enough to heat 15 million homes or fuel 12 million natural-gas-fired vehicles for 1 year (netl.doe.gov) According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOP), domestic natural gas resources contribute to economic growth by creating jobs (netl.doe.gov, 2011). The DOE also claims that high volume of natural gas will make the price less expensive for businesses that rely on it, thus less jobs will be lost to overseas competitors (netl.doe.gov, 2011).
Drilling at its current pace is estimated to directly add 8,000 to 10,500 jobs in the next 5 years, according to the Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Marcellus Shale Education and Training Center (MSETC) (swarthmore.edu). some estimates indicate that activity will be high for up to 30 years (retrain-america.com)
The U.S. is second only to China in natural gas (Hart, Weiss, 2011) According to the IEA, natural gas will overtake oil as the most-used fuel in the U.S. by 2030 (Carr, 2012) (Hart, Weiss, 2011)
Many fracturing fluid chemicals are known to be toxic to humans and wildlife, and several are known to cause cancer Petroleum distillates (kerosene and diesel fuel): Benzene* Ehylbenzene Toluene Xylene Naphthalene * benzene, a known human carcinogen that is toxic in water at levels greater than five parts per billion (or 0.005 parts per million). Also in Fracking mixtures: Polycyclic Aromatic hydrocarbons Methanol Formaldehyde Ethylene Glycol Glycol ethers Hydrochloric acid Sodium hydroxide (earthworksaction.org)
Energy Companies like to point out that only 0.5- 2.0% of fracking fluid is made up of chemicals and the rest is sand (earthworksaction.org). When considering how much water and sand is used, that can equal a lot of chemicals (earthworksaction.org). A 4 million gallon fracturing operation would use 80 – 330 tons of chemicals (earthworksaction.org).
Due to the Halliburton Loophole, the EPA hasn’t been able to place many regulations to protect groundwater. Several studies have raised suspicions that fracking may cause contamination of ground water, but those who support the practice maintain that the evidence does not prove it The EPA is researching at multiple hydraulic fracturing operations through out the country
The EPA found chemicals associated with fracking in groundwater in Pavillion, Wyoming (Gruver, 2011). The Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, US. - Most groundwater contamination is related to above-ground spills of fracking fluids, poorly-handled wastewater, faulty cement jobs and failed well casings (Fracking risks to groundwater analyzed, (2012) Tom Meyers found that preferential flow of fracking water through fractures can cause contamination of aquifers (Myers, 2012)
The Safe Drinking Water Act was issued by the EPA in 1974 The Bush Administration passed a law known as the Halliburton Loophole, which to authority away from the EPA to be able to regulate underground injections by fracking companies (Hines, 2012) The basis behind the loophole is that technology is not subject to the Safe Water Drinking Act if they do not use diesel fuel (Hines, 2012)
Their argument - “You can’t prove Santa Clause exists”. Mine - “Then prove he doesn’t!” When dealing with our most important resource, water, we need to be careful. It sure seems like fracking contaminates groundwater, so go frak where it’s not going to hurt anyone until we figure things out Regulations on where Hydraulic Fracturing can be done are necessary and they should be implemented as soon as possible and stay at least until we settle the fracking argument
Sure the economy is tough, but we can’t undermine our own safety If we continue to let fracking be done, we risk having very limited water sources Help raise awareness of the risks of hydraulic fracturing Look for it in ballot boxes Tell Representatives to bring the issue to Congress If your state has the right to Initiative, look into proposing new laws Think about your grandchildren. Ultimately, water will be more important to them than money
“In the end, water is the resource that is going to be the most valuable. It will be the lack of safe, drinkable, usable water that will be our undoing, not gas and oil… Congress should step back and look at the process of fracking.” – Nancy Weber (Weber, 2012)
1.Carr, M. (2012). Natural Gas to Be Most-Used Fuel in U.S. by 2030, IEA Says. Bloombeg. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-12/natural-gas-to-become-largest-fuel-in-u-s-by-2030-iea- says.html 2.Earthworks. (2012) Hydraulic Fracturing 101. Retrieved from earthworksaction.org/issues/detail/hydraulic_fracturing_101 3.Fracking risks to groundwater analysed. (2012). TCE: The Chemical Engineer, (849), 6-7. 4.Gruver, M. (2011) EPA: First Evidence Surfaces Linking Fracking, Water Pollution. Retrieved from http://www.sltrib.com 5.Hart, M., Weiss, D. (2011) Making Fracking Safe in the East and West: Environmental Safeguards on Shale Gas Production Needed as China Begins Development. Center for American Progress. Retrieved from http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/report/2011/10/21/10407/making-fracking-safe-in-the-east-and-west/ 6.Hines, D.A. (2012). The “Halliburton Loophole”: Exemption of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids from Regulation Under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act 7.Hydrocarbon. (n.d.) In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hydrocarbons?show=0&t=1352739738 8.Kamarshi, B., Kurtz, J., Soulsby, R. (2012) Fracking: Considerations for Risk Management and Financing http://insight.milliman.com/article.php?cntid=8107 9.Montgomery, C., Smith, M. (2010) Hydraulic Fracturing: History of An Enduring Technology. http://www.spe.org/jpt/print/archives/2010/12/10Hydraulic.pdf 10.Myers, T. (2012). Potential Contaminant Pathways from Hydraulically Fractured Shale to Aquifers. Ground Water, 50(6), 872-882. doi:10.1111/j.1745-6584.2012.00933.x
11.Natural Gas. (n.d.) In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.merriam- webster.com/dictionary/natural%20gas 12.NaturalGas.org. (N.D.) Overview of Natural Gas: History. http://www.naturalgas.org/overview/overview.asp 13.Retrain-America. (2010). Preparing America for the Oil & Gas Industry: About Retrain America. Retrieved from http://retrain-america.com/about_retrain.html 14.Swarthmore Colleg Environmental Studies. (2012). Natural Gas Drilling in the Marcellus Shale: Economic Impact. Retrieved from http://www.swarthmore.edu/academics/environmental- studies-capstone/economic-impact.xml#_ftn1 15.U.S. Department of Energy. (2012) How Fossil Fuels are Formed. http://www.fossil.energy.gov/education/energylessons/coal/gen_howformed.html 16.U.S. Department of Energy. (2011). Shale Gas: Applying Technology to Solve America’s Energy Challenges. (6)3. Retrieved from http://www.netl.doe.gov/technologies/oil- gas/publications/brochures/Shale_Gas_March_2011.pdf 17.Weber, N. (2012). Fracking Too Risky. Retrieved from http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/55107435-82/fracking-process-effects- conservatives.html.csp