What do you guys think about Fracking?

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What do you guys think about Fracking?

Post by Dennis324 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:51 am

I've heard this term used in recent years and have some questions.

1. Are we really the Saudi Arabia of Natural gas? Over the past several years, vast caches of natural gas trapped in deeply buried rock have been made accessible by advances in two key technologies: horizontal drilling, which allows vertical wells to turn and snake more than a mile sideways through the earth, and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

2. Does "Hydraulic fracturaing squander our water resources? I think the Green Party of Pennysylvania made this claim that fracking has contributed to the depletion of water supplies in drought-stricken Texas.

3. Is natural gas really cleaner and cheaper? Thats what Texas oilman T Boone Pickens claims. Otoh, At least one scientist, Robert Howarth at Cornell University has indicated that around 8% methane escapes during the drilling process, and later as the fuel is shipped via pipelines, is a significant greenhouse gas.

4. What about the claims of groundwater contamination due to Hydraulic fracturing? Sen James Inhoffe of Oklahoma claims there has never been a case of this happening. However, in the past two years alone, a series of surface spills, including two blowouts at wells operated by Chesapeake Energy and EOG Resources and a spill of 8000 gallons of fracking fluid at a site in Dimock, Pa., have contaminated groundwater in the Marcellus Shale region. So is this an isolated incident? Is fracking safe? Can it be made safe?

5. Rep John Larson of Conn has said that NAtural gas is affordable and costs 1/3 less to fill up with natural gas. But is this really viable? Popular Mechanics has said that it would cost billions to put natural gas into our nations infrastructure and make it available at gas stations throughout the nation. What do you think of this? Should we spent the money on this? And is it do-able?

6. I read that the wastewater produced by fracking may be radioactive. Is this true? And can anything be done to ensure the safety of the public during this process?

I'm not criticising fracking btw. A lot of claims have been made and I just dont know enough about it.












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Re: What do you guys think about Fracking?

Post by Bryant on Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:52 pm

Dennis324 wrote:I've heard this term used in recent years and have some questions.

1. Are we really the Saudi Arabia of Natural gas? Over the past several years, vast caches of natural gas trapped in deeply buried rock have been made accessible by advances in two key technologies: horizontal drilling, which allows vertical wells to turn and snake more than a mile sideways through the earth, and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

From what I understand, we do have quite a bit of it/

2. Does "Hydraulic fracturaing squander our water resources? I think the Green Party of Pennysylvania made this claim that fracking has contributed to the depletion of water supplies in drought-stricken Texas.

I presume it would depend on how it is employed and on local water conditions. I'm not familiar with neither the amount of water this requires nor the water conditions of where this was employed.

3. Is natural gas really cleaner and cheaper? Thats what Texas oilman T Boone Pickens claims. Otoh, At least one scientist, Robert Howarth at Cornell University has indicated that around 8% methane escapes during the drilling process, and later as the fuel is shipped via pipelines, is a significant greenhouse gas.

Methane is a nasty greenhouse gas. I believe the cleaner part comes from the comparison of emissions from burning this relative to coal or oil. It would be interesting to a) see if the inefficiency is mitigatable and b) how this would balance with the offset emissions from not burning other substances for energy generation.

4. What about the claims of groundwater contamination due to Hydraulic fracturing? Sen James Inhoffe of Oklahoma claims there has never been a case of this happening. However, in the past two years alone, a series of surface spills, including two blowouts at wells operated by Chesapeake Energy and EOG Resources and a spill of 8000 gallons of fracking fluid at a site in Dimock, Pa., have contaminated groundwater in the Marcellus Shale region. So is this an isolated incident? Is fracking safe? Can it be made safe?

To my understanding, this method will very likely result in groundwater contamination. That said, that doesn't inherently mean that people's drinking water will be impacted. The ground beneath you likely contains several different aquifers, all separated by layers of impermeable strata (aquatards) that prevent water from moving from one aquifer to the next. If one is fracking in deep strata and only some of the higher aquifers are used for drinking water, then it is possible to avoid contamination. It all depends on the local geology and the methods being employed. With poor methodology, poor execution, or poor sighting this could easily result in contamination of drinking water. Not one size fits all. For more information on groundwater, check out http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthgwaquifer.html

5. Rep John Larson of Conn has said that NAtural gas is affordable and costs 1/3 less to fill up with natural gas. But is this really viable? Popular Mechanics has said that it would cost billions to put natural gas into our nations infrastructure and make it available at gas stations throughout the nation. What do you think of this? Should we spent the money on this? And is it do-able?

Rep Larson is being misleading. To the best of my knowledge natural gas can not be refined into gasoline (Marc?), however it can be used to fuel specially designed engines that certain vehicles run (lots of nat-gas buses on the road). The benefit of natural gas is for processes like power and heat generation.

6. I read that the wastewater produced by fracking may be radioactive. Is this true? And can anything be done to ensure the safety of the public during this process?

The companies would first have to tell us what they're using in their fracking fluid. If there is something radioactive in it, then it is possible. If there is nothing radioactive, then no.

I'm not criticising fracking btw. A lot of claims have been made and I just dont know enough about it.











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Re: What do you guys think about Fracking?

Post by Dennis324 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:44 pm

I think the radioactive bit had something to do with the water coming into contact with shale or something in the earth that makes it radioactive. I didnt really understand it.

What do you think about fracking though? Are you for it or agaisnt it?

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Re: What do you guys think about Fracking?

Post by Bryant on Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:25 pm

Dennis324 wrote:I think the radioactive bit had something to do with the water coming into contact with shale or something in the earth that makes it radioactive. I didnt really understand it.

What do you think about fracking though? Are you for it or agaisnt it?

Shale in-and-of-itself can't make anything radioactive. Shale is just highly compressed mud/silt.

I'm largely ignorant of the specifics of fracking. From what little I understand, the best answer I could give is 'it depends.' It sounds like if its done properly with the right geology everything should be fine, but if done incorrectly or done in the wrong place the results could be devastating.

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Re: What do you guys think about Fracking?

Post by Marconius on Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:21 am

Bryant wrote: To the best of my knowledge natural gas can not be refined into gasoline (Marc?), however it can be used to fuel specially designed engines that certain vehicles run (lots of nat-gas buses on the road).


You are correct.

I would comment on this topic, but he wouldn't see it or, if past history is any indication, wouldn't believe it even with mounds and mounds of hard proof.

BTW-NORM(naturally occuring radioactive material) is everywhere. The average person picks up 100-200mr(milliREMS, which stands for Roetgens Equivalent in Man....1 REM=1 Roetgen of energy in the human body after a dose has been recieved) per year just from NORM. If you punch a hole in the ground, even for a water well, you should have the cuttings(cuttings is a term used for the material you pull outta the hole) tested for NORM. Of course unless your water well is fairly deep(say close to 1000 feet) or goes through rocky material, you won't see the NORM. This is where the Fed Regs are inconsistant. We are required to test for NORM at any and all facilities on Federal property(ie offshore), but not required off Federal property. Regs like the testing for NORM are kinda a biggie. I would have no problem with regs like that being normalized.

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Re: What do you guys think about Fracking?

Post by Marconius on Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:30 am

Bryant wrote:
Dennis324 wrote:I think the radioactive bit had something to do with the water coming into contact with shale or something in the earth that makes it radioactive. I didnt really understand it.

What do you think about fracking though? Are you for it or agaisnt it?

Shale in-and-of-itself can't make anything radioactive. Shale is just highly compressed mud/silt.

I'm largely ignorant of the specifics of fracking. From what little I understand, the best answer I could give is 'it depends.' It sounds like if its done properly with the right geology everything should be fine, but if done incorrectly or done in the wrong place the results could be devastating.


The problem I have with the process these days(fracking has been performed safely since the early 1950's) is multi-fracks of shallow reservoirs. This process involves mutiple fracking from multiple angles simultaneously. This is the process used to get those shale deposits outta the hole. Considering these reservoirs can be quit shallow and the amount of fluid being pumped is several times greater, I can see where problems with fluid absorption can arrise. We don't yet have a good understanding of what this process does. Even the Feds say "we got no clue". I think we need to slow down a bit....at least until we have a clear understanding.

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"We have four boxes used to guarantee our liberty: The soap box, the ballot box, the jury box and the cartridge box". -- Ambrose Bierce (1887)

"All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, and they're behind us. They can't get away this time!" -Gen. L. "Chesty" Puller, CO, 1 MARDIV, in Korea surrounded by 22 enemy divisions

Had the Japanese got as far as India, Gandhi's theories of "passive resistance" would have floated down the Ganges River with his bayoneted, beheaded carcass. -- Mike Vanderboegh.
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Re: What do you guys think about Fracking?

Post by Dennis324 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:27 pm

Bryant wrote:
Dennis324 wrote:I think the radioactive bit had something to do with the water coming into contact with shale or something in the earth that makes it radioactive. I didnt really understand it.

What do you think about fracking though? Are you for it or agaisnt it?

Shale in-and-of-itself can't make anything radioactive. Shale is just highly compressed mud/silt.

I'm largely ignorant of the specifics of fracking. From what little I understand, the best answer I could give is 'it depends.' It sounds like if its done properly with the right geology everything should be fine, but if done incorrectly or done in the wrong place the results could be devastating.

Yeah, I probably read that bit about shale wrong because it surprised me. I dunno what the argument is agaisnt that part. Personally as long as fracking can be done safely without contamination of the water supply...hey I'm all for it. Smile

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