In my early career in the oilfield, when I was working on cement and frac crews, I breathed plenty of dust from cement, frac sand, and powdered guar used to make frac gel. Throw in a little xylene and hydrochloric acid, and I think my lungs have experienced plenty of challenges. Read the rest of this entry
The recent boom in domestic oil and gas development, spurred by new technologies in geologic interpretation, horizontal drilling, completion techniques, and hydraulic fracturing, has exposed a huge gap between our knowledge of getting oil and gas out of the ground and our knowledge of the long-term damage to the environment these activities could be causing. When Congress exempted hydraulic fracturing activity from The Safe Drinking Water Act in 2005, the exemption, lobbied for strongly by the industry, came before the proliferation of new drilling brought on by new technologies. Read the rest of this entry
Last week, the EPA published its draft report, Investigation of Ground Water Contamination Near Pavillion, Wyoming. The report summarized a multi-year study conducted by the EPA after years of landowner complaints about petroleum products, natural gas, and chemical smells in their drinking water. Pavillion is a small town in the Wind River basin of central Wyoming, home to 169 gas wells. The field around Pavillion was discovered in the 1960s, and was actively drilled up until the early 2000s. Frac’ing became very active in the last 20 years as technology improved and some additives were not reported by frac companies, citing proprietary technology.
When the report was released, reaction was swift from both sides of the controversy. Read the rest of this entry