Gas Well Study Updates

I’ve fallen behind in our updates so I’ll combine everything into one post.

First off, there’s a great article from the New York Timesthat we highly recommend: “The Fracturing of Pennsylvania” by Eliza Griswold. The article appeared in last Sunday’s Magazine. It’s about the problems some people who have leased their minerals have experienced with Range Resources in southwest Pennsylvania. The health issues are similar to those we’ve heard about occurring in this state and elsewhere. The company’s run-around is also typical.

We’ve posted a couple of new videos on YouTube (www.youtube.com/GasWellStudy).The most recent is You Get Used To It. We include more of our recorded interview with Paul Phillips (a Kanawha county resident) in this video and for that alone we believe it’s worth watching.

In September we presented our comments to the state for the proposed new regulationcovering horizontal natural gas wells. We’re disappointed with what the Department of Environmental Protection has come up with. What’s happening in this state is that while members of the legislature are attempting to create new regulations for oil and gas, industry and the political establishment (e.g., the governor) are blocking it. What we’re getting instead are regulations written (more or less, more than less) by industry that do nothing to protect the health and safety of the state’s citizens or the environment. Our comments have the state’s proposed regulation appended.

We’ve created a document called ThirtyWells that tabulates the problems we’ve seen in our area with regulatory compliance and environmental issues such as contaminated drinking water supplies. Industry’s awful compliance record in our area is nothing unusual. It’s sad that it’s these people who get to write their own regulations in this state.

And we’ve written an interim report titled Fracture Gel’s Possible Synergistic Influence for Chloride’s Effects on Vegetation. Last summer we made some trial applications on vegetation of fracture gel we made using kerosene, guar gum and water. Those applications with the gel alone showed no adverse effects. When we added 5000 mg/l chloride the adverse effects were much worse than we’d expect from chloride alone. It’s possible that fracture gel enhances the negative effects of chloride. We’ll be looking at this again next summer. The report discusses the types of organic solvents used in making fracture gel (such as kerosene, diesel, and 2-BE). In West Virginia fracture flowback (including gel) is land applied, except for Marcellus wells.

More soon!

November 24, 2011