Tag Archives: Fracking

Water and Fracking: The Opportunities, Challenges and Risks in West Virginia

We have all heard about the positive economic effects of the shale oil revolution in the United States. According to IHS Research, the unconventional oil and gas industry supported 2.1 million jobs in 2012. IHS expects that number will grow to 3.9 million jobs by 2025. And if you have gone to the gas pumps recently, we have unconventional drilling to thank partly for the lower gas prices. AAA reports that the national average gas price has fallen to $3.186 a gallon this week from $3.342 at the same time a year ago. But does the rising economic tide raise all boats in the country equally? Continue reading

Solutions Part II: Cleaning up Produced Drilling Wastewater

In my last post, I discussed the solutions that innovative drilling and technology companies are using to reduce water consumption for fracking projects. These technologies are easier to build economies of scale because almost all fracking sites across the country can use similar technologies, once and if it is proven. However, in my research, it was interesting to learn that the wastewater treatment for drilling projects is a much tougher issue to tackle. There is no universal solution to treat drilling wastewater because the geology and chemical makeup of the produced water varies widely across sites and formations. But that has not stopped savvy businesses from creating innovative technologies to address this issue. Continue reading

Solutions to the Environmental Challenges Fracking Poses

As I have discussed in my last few posts on the issue of fracking, there is no shortage of controversy over the practice. Looking at headlines over the last week, you can see why the issue has become so contentious and in some instances sensationalized. In last week’s Billings Gazette, authorities in Bismarck, North Dakota found the largest illegal dump site of filters that are used to keep naturally-occurring radioactivity from fracking wells out of the environment. Authorities tested these filters and confirmed that they have low levels of naturally-occurring radioactivity. Did you read about the 4.4 magnitude earthquake in Los Angeles last week?  According to the Los Angeles Times, the LA City Council is looking into whether fracking played a role in causing the temblor that shook Los Angeles. Needless to say, the fracking industry garners much attention from news media and pundits , for both warranted and unwarranted reasons. But it is hard to deny the economic impacts that the practice can have. Are there ways (if the industry is regulated correctly) to practice fracking safely? In this article, I will explore some of the interesting new technologies that drillers are using to reduce water consumption and make the process of fracking cleaner. Continue reading

How big of a Problem Does Fracking Water Pollution Pose?

Since the beginning of the year, Colorado has been in the news because it has implemented groundbreaking legislation. Colorado was the first state (with Washington State following close behind) to legalize recreational marijuana use. Now, Colorado is focusing on another first: It is the first state to regulate and reduce emissions that occur during the drilling of a well. The legislation mandates that drilling companies repair pipe leaks that cause methane to escape into the atmosphere and to install scrubbers that capture the emissions from a well that occur during drilling. Since the release of documentaries like Frack Nation, the country has taken sides on whether the benefits of fracking outweigh the potential costs to the environment. In particular, opponents have focused on the potential for water contamination during drilling and when the used water is disposed of. But how grave are these concerns? In this post, I will address the issues surrounding water pollution and fracking, and whether fracking can be done in an environmentally responsible manner. Continue reading