How the US energy industry stopped worrying and learned to love fracking

How the US energy industry stopped worrying and learned to love fracking by The Irish Times, March 21, 2012
“In the whole spectrum of what you do to get shale gas out of the ground, there were some violations; they just didn’t happen to be hydraulic fracturing. They were more likely to be with well casing (flow-back water), pits leaking, emissions . . . Leaks in part of the well bore could mean gas getting into water wells nearby. But the same thing happens in conventional gas production.” Groat says those who are worried about shale-gas development should focus on what happens at or near the surface level and “not spend a lot of time, energy and passion worrying about things that happen deep in the subsurface because that’s not where the focus needs to be…. Key to staying on top of whats happening to water quality as companies tap shale formations for their hydrocarbons, he says, is gathering baseline information before the gas production starts, and continuing to take samples as the development goes along…. Unfortunately, Groat says, there’s no poster child for best practice. “We haven’t found any community where inspection practices, pre-development conditions, monitoring of development and post-development assessment has been done according to best practices” – something Groat blames in part on the fact that shale development took off so quickly, which left federal regulators and state agencies playing catch-up…. George Mitchell says he’s upset about the mistakes that have been made…. “You have to be careful how you complete the wells and how you drill them,” he says, earnestly.

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