Click on the headline (link) for the full text.
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…
(13 August 2013)
Fracking firm scaling back operation at Balcombe
Energy firm Cuadrilla has said it is scaling back work at an exploration site in West Sussex on police advice.
The company has been drilling for oil near the village of Balcombe but has not ruled out using the controversial technique of fracking to release gas.
Police believe environmental activists at the site are about to begin a campaign of civil disobedience.
About 1,000 extra campaigners are expected to join existing protesters this weekend, according to police…
(16 August 2013)
Unfair Share: How Oil and Gas Drillers Avoid Paying Royalties
Abrahm Lustgarten, Propublica
Don Feusner ran dairy cattle on his 370-acre slice of northern Pennsylvania until he could no longer turn a profit by farming. Then, at age 60, he sold all but a few Angus and aimed for a comfortable retirement on money from drilling his land for natural gas instead.
It seemed promising. Two wells drilled on his lease hit as sweet a spot as the Marcellus shale could offer – tens of millions of cubic feet of natural gas gushed forth. Last December, he received a check for $8,506 for a month’s share of the gas.
Then one day in April, Feusner ripped open his royalty envelope to find that while his wells were still producing the same amount of gas, the gusher of cash had slowed. His eyes cascaded down the page to his monthly balance at the bottom: $1,690.
Chesapeake Energy, the company that drilled his wells, was withholding almost 90 percent of Feusner’s share of the income to cover unspecified “gathering” expenses and it wasn’t explaining why…
(13 August 2013)