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Cabot’s Methodology Links Tainted Water Wells to Gas Fracking

Mark Drajem and Jim Efstathiou Jr., Bloomberg
Methane in two Pennsylvania water wells has a chemical fingerprint that links it to natural gas produced by hydraulic fracturing, evidence that such drilling can pollute drinking water.

The data, collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are significant because the composition of the gas –its isotopic signature — falls into a range Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. (COG) had identified as that of the Marcellus Shale, which it tapped through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

“The EPA data falls squarely in the Marcellus space” established by Cabot’s scientists, said Rob Jackson, an environmental scientist at Duke University. That evidence backs up his findings linking gas drilling and water problems in the town of Dimock, applying the very methodology that Cabot established to try to debunk it, he said…
(2 October 2012)

Shale gas report by health officer may remain secret

CBC News
The Alward government will not say whether it will release a report by the province’s chief medical officer of health on the potential health impacts of the shale gas industry.

Dr. Eilish Cleary spent part of the summer drafting recommendations for the provincial government on possible shale gas development in New Brunswick.

She was to look at the potential health impacts of the industry and what the provincial government should do to minimize them.

But Tracey Burkhardt, a spokeswoman with the Department of Health, told CBC News that Cleary won’t be discussing her recommendations publicly…
(3 October 2012)

Experts: Despite China’s efforts, technology constraints could curb shale gas development

Du Juan in Tianjin, China Daily (with Bloomberg)
China is making an unprecedented effort to explore and develop shale gas resources, but the country will not achieve a breakthrough in the short term, experts have said…

But at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economic Research at Xiamen University, said that because of China’s shortage of water resources and its technology limits, the country will not achieve a breakthrough in the next two to three years.

“Rather than fossil fuel, water is the most precious resource for China, but it is not a problem for the United States, which has made a lot of progress in shale gas development in the past few years,” he said.

“The current technology China has cannot solve the water problem.”…
(28 September 2012)

Water problem in shale is drawing a flood of capital

Zain Shauk,
The need for huge volumes of water is a growing challenge for oil and gas companies working in shale formations, despite dramatic improvements in drilling speeds that have lowered other costs, energy executives said Wednesday…

“When the industry faces a big problem, typically there is a profit opportunity for somebody somewhere,” Tudor said. “And this is a big issue. One of the interesting things that we’ve seen is a flood of capital toward this problem.”

It’s also a priority because concerns about water use in fracturing go beyond cost, said Michael Yeager, CEO of BHP Billiton Petroleum.
(20 September 2012)

Penn State Faculty Snub of Fracking Study Ends Research

Jim Efstathiou Jr., Bloomberg
A natural-gas driller’s group has canceled a Pennsylvania State University study of hydraulic fracturing after some faculty members balked at the project that had drawn criticism for being slanted toward industry.

The Marcellus Shale Coalition, which paid more than $146,000 for three previous studies, ended this year’s report after work had started, said Kathryn Klaber, coalition president…

“It’s been a hot potato,” said Michael Arthur, co- director of the Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research at Penn State, who is one of at least two faculty members who declined to take part in this year’s project. “People are a little more thoughtful about hopping in.”…
(3 October 2012)