Drilling Industry Videos

YouTube has a large number of videos related to oil and gas exploration. Some are from the concerned environmentalist (ShaleShock) or surface owner (WVSORO) perspectives. It didn’t take industry long to realize the public relations potential. We’ll take a brief look at two industry leaders’ videos in this post.

Chesapeake Energy has a set of 6 videos which describe the steps in drilling a well and producing natural gas. There are truly educational moments, such as the description of laying a pipeline. Viewers of these videos, though, should remember that this is advertising, that facts are being withheld, and that certain elements of the process are not shown at all.

Drilling site selection. Note that there are many disgruntled leaseholders and in some areas the leaseholders don’t even live in the same state where drilling is actually taking place.

Preparation and drilling. Cementing and casing are not automatically protective. These processes have to be done properly and with care. Blowout preventers fail about 5% of the time. One good thing to note is the dike around the perimeter of the pad. There is also a drainage area that can be sequestered in the case of a spill. These are two elements of pad construction we want to see in West Virginia regulations, whether the pad is for a horizontal or vertical well.

Natural gas well completion. Gel fracture fluids can have about 6 gallons of a solvent per 1,000 gallons of water. The solvents can be extremely toxic.

Natural gas well production. This has the segment on laying a pipeline. Note that in this state condensate storage tank secondary containment regulations include a rainwater drain requirement not shown in the video.

Aqua Renew water recycling. We would like to see, at a minimum, a dike around the water recycling facility. Any spills will adversely affect surface and ground water. The recycling of flowback “water” is commendable but is not done everywhere.

Well site reclamation. In West Virginia, proper well site reclamation after drilling can require a court order. That’s what a surface owner near us had to resort to.

These videos are worth watching but they aren’t telling the whole story.

Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation has some notoriety because of its activities in the Dimock area in NE Pennsylvania. Their videos are a public relations effort geared especially for residents in that area where the company is currently active in the Marcellus region.

I’ll mention just a few videos here. Again, these are advertising and don’t tell the whole story.

Well pad tour. This video is good for explaining the purpose of some of the production equipment on a horizontal well pad. Note that fracture flowback (why else is there a sand trap?) is called “water” and that condensate storage tanks shown in the video have no secondary containment at all.

Constructing a well pad. The average horizontal well pad is 5 acres. The disturbed area is usually much larger. This video does show the scale of the construction activity. There is a dike around this well pad also, though it isn’t as plain to see as in the Chesapeake video.

Road repair. No repair by the state or Cabot was done to Harmon’s Creek Road here after a number of wells were put in a few years back. There are sections, which once were surfaced, that are now “repaired” periodically by the state by dumping fresh gravel.

Cabot and clean water in Dimock. Cabot still refuses to admit that poor casing and cementing have adversely affected drinking water. This shows the EPA test results for one water well affected by Cabot drilling in Dimock. Note the extremely high arsenic concentration, many times the federal Maximum Contamination Level.

More soon!

May 11, 2012