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A Texan tragedy: ample oil, no water
Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian
…"The day that we ran out of water I turned on my faucet and nothing was there and at that moment I knew the whole of Barnhart was down the tubes," she said, blinking back tears. "I went: ‘dear God help us. That was the first thought that came to mind."
Across the south-west, residents of small communities like Barnhart are confronting the reality that something as basic as running water, as unthinking as turning on a tap, can no longer be taken for granted.
Three years of drought, decades of overuse and now the oil industry’s outsize demands on water for fracking are running down reservoirs and underground aquifers. And climate change is making things worse.
In Texas alone, about 30 communities could run out of water by the end of the year, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality…
(11 August 2013)
Fracking company wants to build new pipeline — for water
John Upton, Grist
Antero Resources, a major Marcellus Shale driller, needs so much water for its fracking operations that it hauls truckloads from the Ohio River to its wells in West Virginia and Ohio. To cut down on transportation costs, the company now wants to build an 80-mile water pipeline.
The Wall Street Journal describes the project as a “costly wager that the hydraulic-fracturing industry’s thirst for reliable sources of water will grow” — and reports that enviros are worried about the swelling stresses that the industry is placing on the Ohio River, which is the Mississippi River’s largest tributary..
(15 August 2013)
A New California Oil Boom? Drilling the Monterey Shale
Part 1: Distracted by Fracking?
Robert Collier, Next Generation
…in California, at least, the obsession with fracking may be misplaced. In recent months, policymakers have begun to realize that the debate about fracking may be a distraction from the technology that’s the more likely candidate for tapping the Monterey Shale: A technique, already widely in use in the oil industry, known as “acidizing.”
It’s not widely discussed in laymen’s circles, but for some time oil companies have found acidizing more effective in the Monterey Shale than fracking.
Acidizing, also referred to as “matrix acidization,” typically involves the injection of high volumes of hydrofluoric acid, a powerful solvent, (abbreviated as “HF”) into the oil well to dissolve rock deep underground and allow oil to flow up through the well. Conventional fracking, in which water and other chemicals are pumped at high pressure to create fissures in the rocks, reportedly does not work well in many parts of the Monterey Shale – a rock formation known for its complexity and low permeability, which makes fracking less effective.
In the oil patch, hydrofluoric acid can therefore be a critical tool. But HF is also one of the most dangerous of all fluids used in oil production – and indeed in any industrial process. It is used in many oil refineries nationwide to help turn oil into gasoline and other products; while accidents are rare, they can be fatal…
(8 August 2013)
Greenwashing Concerns Mount as Evidence of Fracking’s Climate Impact Grows
Sharon Kelley, DeSmogBlog
Several years ago, Utah public health officials realized they had a big problem on their hands — one with national implications as other states were racing to increase oil and gas drilling. Smog levels in the state’s rural Uintah basin were rivaling…