Posts Tagged ‘Eagle-Ford’

Joint
HGS-SIPES
Ethics Meeting

Thursday, July 19

Oil Spills, Ethics and Society:
How they intersect and where the responsibilities reside
Dr. W.C. ‘Rusty’ Riese,
AAPG Distinguised Speaker

From Energy In Depth

1) Why the huge difference between what EPA found in its monitoring wells and what was detected in private wells from which people actually get their water?

  • Contrary to what was reported yesterday, the compounds of greatest concern detected by EPA in Pavillion weren’t found in water wells that actually supply residents their water – they were detected by two “monitoring wells” drilled by EPA outside of town.
  • After several rounds of EPA testing of domestic drinking water wells in town, only one organic compound (bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate) was found to exceed state or federal drinking water standards – an additive in plastics and one of the most commonly detected organic compounds in water. According to EPA: “Detections in drinking water wells are generally below established health and safety standards.”
  • Bruce Hinchey, president of Petroleum Association of Wyoming: “Let me be clear, the EPA’s findings indicate that there is no connection between oil and natural gas operations and impacts to domestic water wells.” (PAW press release, Dec. 8, 2011)
  • In contrast, EPA found “a wide variety of organic chemicals” in its two monitoring wells, with greater concentrations found in the deeper of the two. The only problem? EPA drilled its monitoring wells into a hydrocarbon-bearing formation. Think it’s possible that could explain the presence of hydrocarbons?
  • According to governor of Wyoming: “The study released today from EPA was based on data from two test wells drilled in 2010 and tested once that year and once in April, 2011. Those test wells are deeper than drinking wells. The data from the test wells was not available to the rest of the working group until a month ago.” (Gov. Mead press release, issued Dec. 8, 2011)

2) After reviewing the data collected by Region 8, why did EPA administrator Lisa Jackson tell a reporter that, specific to Pavillion, “we have absolutely no indication now that drinking water is at risk”? (video available here)

  • Of note, Administrator Jackson offered those comments to a reporter from energyNOW! a full week after Region 8 publicly released its final batch of Pavillion data. In that interview, Jackson indicates that she personally analyzed the findings of the report, and was personally involved in conversations and consultations with staff, local officials, environmental groups, the state and the operator.
  • After reviewing all that information, and conducting all those interviews, if the administrator believed that test results from EPA’s monitoring wells posed a danger to the community, why would she say the opposite of that on television?
  • And if she believed that the state of Wyoming had failed to do its job, why would she – in that same interview – tell energyNOW! that “you can’t start to talk about a federal role [in regulating fracturing] without acknowledging the very strong state role.” (2:46) A week later, why did she choose to double-down on those comments in an interview with Rachel Maddow, telling the cable host that “states are stepping up and doing a good job”? (9:01, aired Nov. 21, 2011)

3) Did all those chemicals that EPA used to drill its monitoring wells affect the results?

  • Diethanolamine? Anionic polyacrylamide? Trydymite? Bentonite? Contrary to conventional wisdom, chemicals are needed to drill wells, not just fracture them – even when the purpose of those wells has nothing to do with oil or natural gas development.
  • In this case, however, EPA’s decision to use “dense soda ash” as part of the process for drilling its monitoring wells could have proved a bad one.
  • One of the main justifications EPA uses to implicate hydraulic fracturing as a source of potential contamination is the high pH readings it says it found in its monitoring wells. But dense soda ash has a recorded pH (11.5) very similar to the level found in the deep wells, creating the possibility that the high pH recorded by EPA could have been caused by the very chemicals it used to drill its own wells.
  • According to Tom Doll, supervisor of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: “More sampling is needed to rule out surface contamination or the process of building these test wells as the source of the concerning results.” (as quoted in governor’s press release, Dec. 8, 2011)

(more…)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday for the first time that fracking — a controversial method of improving the productivity of oil and gas wells — may be to blame for causing groundwater pollution.

The draft finding could have significant implications while states try to determine how to regulate the process. Environmentalists characterized the report as a significant development though it met immediate criticism from the oil and gas industry and a U.S. senator.

The practice is called hydraulic fracturing and involves pumping pressurized water, sand and chemicals underground to open fissures and improve the flow of oil or gas to the surface.

The EPA found that compounds likely associated with fracking chemicals had been detected in the groundwater beneath Pavillion, a small community in central Wyoming where residents say their well water reeks of chemicals. Health officials last year advised them not to drink their water after the EPA found low levels hydrocarbons in their wells.

To Read More Click Here 

BY JACK Z. SMITH

FORT WORTH — Preliminary findings from a study of hydraulic fracturing and shale-gas development show no direct link between the controversial process and groundwater contamination, the University of Texas professor who led the study said Wednesday.

Problems in shale fields appear to be related to issues such as poor casing or cementing of wells, rather than fracking, UT geology professor Charles “Chip” Groat told about 150 people at the City Club in downtown Fort Worth. The audience included oil and gas industry representatives and city officials who regulate drilling in North Texas’ Barnett Shale.

The $300,000 study is being funded by UT’s Energy Institute. Groat said a final report is expected to be issued in the next two months. The institute looked at reports of groundwater contamination in the Barnett Shale, the Haynesville Shale in Louisiana and East Texas, and the Marcellus Shale in the Northeastern U.S.

Groat said a major goal of the study is to “separate fact from fiction” and produce accurate information that will help government policymakers adopt wise policies and regulations that “are grounded in science.”

He said the institute also plans an in-depth “case study” of the Barnett Shale, which would include water-related issues and other environmental concerns.

To Read More Click Here:

Special Board Meeting

 November 7, 2011 at 1:00 p.m.

333 Guadalupe Street, Room 100 (tentative)

Austin, Texas 78701

AGENDA

  1. Call to order
  2. Roll call and certification of quorum
  3. Consideration and possible action on immediate withdrawal of the Board’s proposed rules 22 Texas Administrative Code §851.33 and §851.34 and the Board’s proposed amendment to 22 Texas Administrative Code §851.10
  4. Consideration and possible action on posting of a Board initiated Advisory Opinion concerning the re-affirmation of the exemption of exploration and development of oil, gas, or other energy resources described in Section 1002.252 of the Texas Geoscience Practice Act
  5. Public comment.  Limited to five (5) minutes per person who has signed up to speak using TBPG’s speaker request form (time may be extended at the discretion of the Board Chairman)
  6.  Adjournment

The Board  may meet in closed session on any agenda item listed above as authorized by the Texas Open Meetings Act, Texas Gov. Code Chapter 551.

If you require auxiliary aids, services or material in an alternate format please contact the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists at least five working days prior to the meeting date.  Listed below is helpful information if assistance is required. Phone: (512) 936-4401, Fax: (512) 936-4409, email:  chorton@tbpg.state.tx.us, TDD/RELAY TEXAS: 1-800-relay-VV (for voice), 1-800-relay-TX (for TDD).

The Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists has proposed new rules that have been published in the Texas Register.  The Proposed Rules and Amendments were published in the September 30, 2011 edition of the Texas Register. Some of these proposed rules are  related to oil and gas community.  These rules have been under development by an Oil and Gas Workgroup for almost two years.  The intent of the publication of these rules is to garner constructive comments so that a wider discussion of the topic would be possible.  TAPG encourages all its members whether or not you practice in the oil and gas industry to read and provide comment on these rules.  If you have questions then please feel free to email TAPG at TAPG@Hal-pc.org.  I will do my best to find an answer or get an explanation.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted in writing to Charles Horton by mail to TBPG, PO Box 13225, Austin TX 78711; by fax to 512/936-4409; or by e-mail.  Please submit comments before October 31, 2011. If you would please send TAPG a copy of your comments as well.  Stay informed and check the TAPG Blog, https://tapg.wordpress.com/, and the website TAPGONLINE.ORG for more information.

From the San Angelo Times:

Angelo State University faculty were awarded $165,000 dollars to be used on field trips.  The funding is a grant from the National Science Foundation to be used as part of a project started by ASU.  This project is designed to get students interested in pursuing careers in the Geosciences.   The project is called  “Pathways for Inspiring, Educating and Recruiting West Texans in the Geosciences,” .  It will “also  offer a summer workshop for 40 science teachers, which will be followed by professional development during the school year.”

To read more about this program Click Here