Both sides in the environmental debate are reaching

Penn State's indefatigable Professor Terry Engelder says both sides of the environmental debate are exaggerating. The natural gas E & P companies minimize the risks to groundwater--there are a few, such as drilling into pockets of methane gas that can produce milky-looking well water. Some environmentalists have attacked hydro-fracturing as if it were a proven source of water contamination (it's not).
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Comment by Tom Copley on September 30, 2010 at 11:46am
You're preaching to the quire a little there, Bill. It would be great to always have a climate of respectful debate, as most of the time we do here on GoMarcellusShale. Have you any comments on the Northrup video? --Tom
Comment by Bill Magness on September 30, 2010 at 10:56am
I wish more people on both sides of this "debate" would read Terry's article. As an oil and gas professional of over 30 years and a landowner there can be answers found to all of these questions of people are willing to work towards them as opposed to sitting on their idealogies. For example, the question of the effects of hydraulic fracturing on groundwater can be determined by the use of any number of tagging agents that can be used in the fracturing process. There are also geochemical methods that can be used to 'fingerprint" hydrocarbons to get a better idea of their source and possibly their depth. The use of microseimic surveying during the fracturing process can also be a potential indicator of the extent of the influence of a given volume of fracturing fluid (in other words, did the fracture volume stay in the zone it was intentned to stimulate and if not, where did it go?). Many companies use these processes already simply to determine the effectiveness of the frac jobs and to make design changes to make the processes more efficient and productive. I also don't consider this technology overtly cost prohibitive (although I will get some dissagreement on that). If a company is not using much of this technology already in their completion anbd fracturing efforts, they are doing themselves a great disservice. They could get a greater understanding of the effectiveness of the fracture stimulations and also go a long way to eliminating doubts as to where a frac went (i.e. could there have been communication with goundwater). This serves the best interests of the operator and the landowner in my opinion. Pennsylvannia is a unique area in that it has been a hydrocarbon producing area for a very long time. The early discoveries in the staet wer eoften found by observation of surface seeps of both oil and gas and as Dr. Englender pointed out, finding very shallow pockets of methane would not be out of the question in an area. That lends itself to the possibility of communication with groundwater by way of communication along faults, fractures and poor shallow cement jobs. Why not use technology to help bring the two sides of this argument together rather than push them apart. Again this is just one man's opinion.

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