Thursday, October 04, 2007

Barnett Shale: A Point of Clarification

If you don't already know about it, I suggest anyone interested in finding out more about the Barnett Shale and Fort Worth to look at the Powell Barnett Shale Newsletter produced by Gene Powell, Jr.

Mr. Powell is very pro-drilling, but I think his newsletter is very thorough and quite well done. I believe that point is about the only thing he and I would agree about.

While I think Mr. Powell -- aw, hell, I'm just going to call him Gene -- while I think Gene's newsletter is pretty good, his editorial slant minimizes anything that would stand in the way of more Barnett Shale drilling, including NIMBYs and activists (his words, not mine). I don't have problem with this -- he is a gas driller writing for gas drillers. He knows his audience.

However, in the October 1 issue of his newsletter, there was something that jumped out at me. See page 19 in the article titled "New Water Disposal Well Operational In Fort Worth." And I quote:

"Reports by Mike Lee of the Fort Worth Star Telegram that the used frac water states it 'sometimes including cancer-causing chemicals such as benzene' just is not true. [emphasis his] It is the type of erroneous information found on blogs (web logs) [emphasis mine] but If it were present, what better place to put it than 1.5 miles deep in the earth rather than trucking it though our neighborhoods?

Just not true? Erroneous information on Web logs (which Gene finds on The Google)? Really?

I believe the "erroneous" Web log which Gene refers to is this one here. I believe the post in question is this one -- "Why I Don't Believe You, Chesapeake" -- where I write: "Barnett Shale wells require fracturing of the limestone formation to release the oil and gas trapped within. Water, sand, and hazardous chemicals are injected under high pressure down the drilling hole to fracture the limestone. What are those chemicals? Some are known and include potentially toxic substances such as diesel fuel, which contains benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene, naphthalene and other chemicals; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; methanol; formaldehyde; ethylene glycol; glycol ethers; hydrochloric acid; and sodium hydroxide.”

Evidently, Gene thinks I just pull words like this out of my ass. Gene, I'm lucky to spell those words on a good day. But, like any good blogger, I can cut and paste. And this section came from And where did they get it? From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. August, 2002. DRAFT Evaluation of Impacts to Underground Sources of Drinking Water by Hydraulic Fracturing of Coalbed Methane Reservoirs. EPA 816-D-02-006. Chapter 4.

That's right. The EP-freaking-A! The Feds. Uncle Sam. And that's the 2002, there's-no-global-warming, George W. Bush EPA -- so who knows how much freaking worse it really is.

Gene, I am not making shit up to frighten people. I think the facts are scary enough. Fort Worth does not want or need an injection well. This does not do Fort Worth a world of good. And obviously the city is concerned enough to look into it or they never would have declared their moratorium on new injection wells.

If you ever think I am "erroneous," shoot me an e-mail, state your case, and if I am incorrect about a fact, I will correct it. However, in this instance, I believe the error is yours. I look forward to the correction.


Yarddog said...

Mr. Powell is building a reputation for a slanted (pardon the pun) and editorialized 'newsletter'. It is bad enough that the Railroad Commission site is so PRO drilling; now we have individual pet-engineers of the world mixing their personal opinion with fact, misquoting local reportes and presenting it as some type of accredited industry source newsletter . Not surprising, the City of Arlington's own Real Estate Manager, Roger Venerable recently suggested Powell's site as 'good reading'. Enough BS already in the BS Drilling! Send folks to where they can REALLY learn something about the dirty playing field of gas drilling.

Steve-O said...

I think his newsletter is interesting reading if you want to know about the horse-race aspect. You know, the deals and that kind of thing. However, I feel bad for any reader who would take the whole thing as gospel truth. But I'm sure some people do.

TXsharon said...

I left a comment on Pegasus News but I'm going to put it here too because you can never have TMI when you're dealing with the oil bidnezz.

They'll say ANYTHING to continue making billions from drilling and polluting.

A handy little book with a list of the chemicals used in frac water:

Our Drinking Water at Risk PO Box 1102 Durango, CO 81302 970-259-3353

Just keep in mind that all those chemicals don't end up "1.5 miles" deep in the injection wells because they don't recover all the frac water that's pumped into the drilling hole. An undetermined amount (the EPA isn't sure because they only measured the flowback from one, ONE freaking well!) of the frac water stays in the drilling hole where it can travel up and down the fractures and into our groundwater or even back to the surface where your dog can drink it or your child can run barefoot through it. It's about 40% that stays there, or sometimes it might be 50%, or even 60%. Then, if you're lucky it might only be 30% or so... That little tidbit is on page 22 of the above mentioned booklet.

Damn! Those pesky bloggers.

Here's a blog that seems to be on the same page with big oil: Barnett Shale: Drilling deep for answers about the natural gas boom in North Texas. Only, they won't post my comments and somehow I don't think they're drilling all that deeply for their answers.

Don Young said...

Careful Steve-O. You're messing with two of the most gas drillling savvy, alpha females in the whole Barnett-Shale sinkhole.

If they say Mr. Powell is Lucifer, best stand back and let them vent. Hell hast no fury like a woman defending her turf from environmental injustice.

Say Amen, somebody!


Steve-O said...

I knew Sharon would drop by! Thank you all for your comments.

I'm surrounded by NIMBYs and activists ... and I kind of like it!

TXsharon said...

Dropping by again to enhance your nightmares. ; )

Ask Gene how he knows what the drilling waste water contains? He won't tell the truth but I will. ONLY the drilling company knows. See, it goes like this: Someone from the RRC says, "Hey Jack-the-operator, what kind of chemicals did you use in that thar frac water you just pumped down that hole?" And Jack-the-operator replies, "Oh heck, RRC, I jes used a little bit of Oil of Olay and some bubble gum." So, RRC writes that up and it becomes fact.

And that's the truth.

Scared yet?