Monday, June 07, 2010

The Marcellus Shale Blowout

As I wrote back in April, natural gas may burn relatively cleanly, but extracting it through "fracking" is another matter. Reuters reports that a blowout of a well tapping the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania is reminding people of the environmental risks:
The incident caused the release of as much as 1.5 million gallons (5.7 million liters) of fluid used to hydraulically fracture the well, said Matthew Maciorkoski, a spokesman for State Representative Bud George, who has called for tighter regulation of gas drilling.
Critics of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," say domestic water supplies are contaminated by chemicals that are forced into the ground along with sand and millions of gallons of water to free gas from fissures in the shale a mile or more underground.
Business Week reports that the operator, EOG Resources Inc.
referred to the incident as a "control issue." The Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources called it a "blowout," and "a serious incident." It sounds pretty serious to me:
The incident on June 3 at the project operated by EOG Resources Inc. shot flames and drilling fluids 75 feet (23 meters) into the air, the state Department of Environmental Protection said in a statement on June 5.

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