This is a Cliff Notes" version of my point. Not all details have been included. Plus some of this post is my opinion. I would suggest that you conduct further research for the full details.
Members of the Geology Department of he University of Cincinnati recently concluded a study to determine if hydraulic fracturing might cause contamination of ground water. The conclusion is that it does not.
Unfortunately, it appears that members of the team, and some funding organizations may have entered into the study with a preconceived conclusion (my opinion). That conclusion being that hydraulic fracturing does contaminate ground water.
Much to their chagrin the data proved otherwise and the conclusion is that hydraulic fracturing does NOT contaminate ground water (at least in the area where the study was conducted). As a result, the findings have not been widely published for public consumption (not in a manner I consider a reasonable person would consider to be widely published). I am sure if the result had gone the other way it would have been front page headlines.
This is problematic in that a part of the funding came from two grants, one from the State Ohio and one from the U.S. government. I believe that each grant stipulated that the findings would be "widely" published . This has not occurred, in my opinion, and it appears that this has been done intentionally to hide the results, again my opinion.
In my opinion this is a violation of the public trust. I suggest that you contact your State Representative, State Senator, Congressman, U.S. Senators. Request that they look into the situation and ask for a reply.
Again, in an effort to present my point briefly I acknowledge that this may not be a complete representation of all information. I do not wish to unfairly disparage the reputation of the University, any department or individual(s). But I do have a right to express my opinion. I just want the truth.
Please contact your state and national legislative representatives.
Being neutral on this, if you take away the Oil and Gas industries money, then suggested drilling to various depths, then burrowing a mile or two horizontally, then applying very large pressures to a chemical cocktail to break the shale, I'm sure EVERYONE would ask the question: How do you know where this concoction will end up if you don't have the shale mapped and are flying blind? The sad truth is you don't.
I'm sure EVERYONE in the state would deny my request to do this ignorant science project.
Now if you could make billions doing this, I'm sure those at the top would reconsider when the Big O&G Bucks siphoned off of the landowners by short changing royalties, start to flow into their bank accounts.
Shale Play governors start to think; "If I can run for president with some of that O&G money, sure have your way with the state". There were 4 shale play govs and one PA Senator running for PRES.
I'm not an anti fracker, but commons sense dictates that you don't push millions of gallons of water and chemicals into the environment without knowing where they will end up.
Checking for contamination might help map the shale and where the faults are that no one knew about.
Meanwhile Ohio is going to be turned into a huge wasteland over the next 25 years and some of you will have to live in it.
Add the Cracker Plants and you won't have air to breathe as well as being thirsty.
Go take a look at Louisiana, Texas, New Jersey, and South Charleston WV and decide for yourself.
Sorry, but in spite of your denial, you read a little like an 'anti-fracker' to me.
Thinking skeptically about what will happen is one of the signs of a good scientist. Imagining yourself to be a water/chemical molecule a mile underground, subjected to the pressures, fissures, and temperatures of the rock, and asking where will you go, over the next century, is a useful exercise. Einstein used thought experiments to visualize many of his most important scientific breakthroughs (e.g. imagining himself riding a light wave).
What you say makes a lot of sense, Ron.
OK, I'll awaken the closest thing to a scientist that's part of me and play along and postulate a hypothesis / hypothesize !
Where would 'a water/chemical molecule a mile underground subjected to the pressures, fissures, and temperatures of the rock go, over the next century' ?
My guess would be nowhere other than where the 'rock' goes.
Guessing the chemicals and the water locked in the rock a mile (or more) below the surface, would assimilate into our mother earth - which is the same mother earth that bore them in the first place.
The continents plow into one another over the eons and the resident chemicals and water riding the rock would (seems to me) fold even deeper into the structure of our planet as the continents collide into one another.
Just my guess as an amateur / hypothetical scientist.
Now I'm wondering if there is any science (amateur / professional) out there at all that would disprove my amateur hypothesis ?
Haven't seen / heard / read of any thus far to date.
Only arguments presented against fracturing shale with water-proppant mixes seem to me to be lacking any science at all; and seem to me to be just alot of hot air babble / unfounded nonsense.
That experiment has already been done. Except that instead of over a century it has been conducted over several hundred million years.
When a well is drilled down a mile deep it goes through hundreds of layers of rock. It will encounter multiple strata that contain water that is contaminated with very high salts, heavy metals, acids, radioactive components and a whole lot more. All that primordial soup has been there under very high pressures and temperatures for 250,000,000 years and it has stayed there all along, even through earthquakes, uplifting, and other catastrophic geological events..
Even drilling a shallow water well of say 200' deep will encounter layers of coal with acidic water. These bad water layers are sometimes only fifty feet from a fresh water layer. And those are roughly 50,000,000 years old and the contaminants didn't even travel fifty feet.
To put it all in perspective, lets put it in a scale we can all see. Most gas wells are drilled around 8,000' deep. If one inch were equal to 100' that means 80" would equal the 8000' well. That is 80" is 6' 8" or exactly the height of the standard wood doors in your home. Water wells are usually about 250' - 300' deep or the equivalent of 2.5 to 3 inches....which is about how wide the trim on your door is. And even that little trim is divided into multiple layers of rock with some coal/acid water that doesn't travel to other layers within that small segment.
So look at a door in your house. The depth of water is about the same as the trim across the top. The fracturing in a gas well occurs at the very bottom of the door and only fractures a couple hundred feet or two inches above the door bottom. Everything in between is solid rock in hundreds of layers. How is water going to travel all that distance through rock?
understand this, the state uses the University of Cincinnati to get the answers they want. I have seen this group shut down 2 programs that affected me. I have been questioned by them during one of their studies. Their questions were, for a lack of better term, a Joke. Yet, the program was shut down. After reading the conclusion of their study, it was clear the study was one sided. So with them losing this one, I have to chuckle a little. So the State and the Feds did not get the answer they wanted. The University lost their pay day. Yep, I have chuckled again.
If I were a member of the Rice family that owns Rice Energy and has the best-performing gas wells (in Belmont county, Ohio and Greene county, Pennsylvanis; just two counties!) in the United States, I'd run as far away as possible from all of you guys.
Like any other oil and gas exploration and production company, Rice employs science: geology, seismologty, hydrology, thermodynamics, chemistry, math, etc. . . .
The University of Cincinatti's study stands apart from other similar studies that sought to determine if fracking contaminates underground sources of drinking water. It is unique because it acquired baseline data on the status of drinking water wells in southeast Ohio before fracking commenced, and compared that to what happens after fracking. The conclusion was that no wells were contaminated due to fracturing.
UofC is required to publish the results by the terms of the grants they received for acquiring the mass spectrometer equipment needed for the study. Jackie Stewart of Energy in Depth/Ohio has a good write up on this which I forwarded to Pat Tiberi.
I'm in favor of waterless fracturing primarily to shut-up the wacko anti's.
Also I'm of the understanding some areas / geologies of the Utica are less tolerant of the water component.
If water wasn't used the anti's would have nothing to complain about would they ?
That's where I'm coming from.
Make no mistake please, I'm pro-development of our Natural gas and oil resources locked in the Utica.
Good to hear from you again.
Actually, I wouldn't avoid using water for fracturing just to please the environmentalists. My decision on whether to use water or something else (gelled CO2, propane etc.) would be what the characteristics of the geological formation that i'm targeting are.
If there's not much clay in the formation, I'd use water. The more clay that is present, however, the more I'd be inclined to use a waterless technique. When water contacts clay, it quickly absorbs the water and swells up. So, if there's too much clay present, the use of water could damage the well. Clay doesn't present much of a problem in Ohio and Pennsylvania. But it is a major issue in western China and is the main reason their fields remain undeveloped.
By the way, even if we didn't use water for fracturing, I'm sure the environmentalists would find plenty of other reasons to ban fracturing.