What the Frack!


After all the criticism of fracking causing several incidents of water pollution, strong evidence now points to faulty wells being the cause for the pollution.

I don’t have a problem with people investigating and safeguarding our water supply, but these claims have been based on suppositions, not facts. Now some facts point to a different cause.

Some energy companies, academics and environmentalists are coming to the conclusion that several of the incidents of water pollution are because of wells not fracking.

Wells that were not properly sealed allowed contaminants to travel up the well into aquifers that supply drinking water.

Some activists have said the pollution is due to hydraulic fracking, which is an efficient process to break up shale rocks and release gas. The energy industry has been trying to convince people this is not the case.

WSJ: …Mark Boling, executive vice president and general counsel of Southwestern Energy Co., a major natural-gas producer, said he has examined several incidents in Colorado and Pennsylvania where gas drilling appears to have caused gas to get into drinking water. “Every one we identified was caused by a failure of the integrity of the well, and almost always it was the cement job,” he said.

A. Scott Anderson, a senior policy adviser with the Environmental Defense Fund who is working with Mr. Boling, agreed. “The groundwater pollution incidents that have come to light to date have all been caused by well construction problems,” he said.

Both men are calling for a stronger set of standards for well construction, including better cementing and more testing to ensure that wells and cement have no leaks.

Cement failures have long plagued the industry. Mr. Anderson estimates that cement in about one in 10 wells fails to work properly and requires remedial work. Federal investigators have said that cement problems were a major cause of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in April 2010, when natural gas escaped from an offshore well in the Gulf of Mexico and exploded, killing 11 workers and setting off a mammoth oil spill…Read here: WSJ – Russell Gold