So … what is this really saying? That there is nothing risky ‘outside of the ordinary’ for hydraulic fracturing compared to other drilling operations? “Many reports of contamination can be traced to above-ground spills or other mishandling of wastewater produced from shale drilling and not from hydraulic fracturing”.
I feel like this conclusion is somewhat misleading, or could potentially be misleading, if it is not explained properly. Hydraulic fracturing is the process by which the shale rock holding the natural gas is ‘fractured’, such that the gas can be extracted (compare this to conventional gas extraction, where the gas is contained within a permeable rock that doesn’t need to be fractured for gas extraction). I’m not sure that the ‘drilling’ or ‘fracturing’ problem itself is what people are concerned about, so declaring that the act of fracturing is ‘safe’ seems somewhat irrelevant.
Hydraulic fracturing in shale formations “has no direct connection” to groundwater contamination, a study released Thursday concluded.
The study, conducted by the Energy Institute at the
University of Texas at Austin, found that many problems attributed to hydraulic fracturing “are related to processes common to all oil and gas drilling operations,” such as drilling pipe inadequately cased in concrete.
Many reports of contamination can be traced to above-ground spills or other mishandling of wastewater produced from shale drilling and not from hydraulic fracturing, Charles “Chip” Groat, an Energy Institute associate director who led the project, said in a statement.
“These problems are not unique to hydraulic fracturing,” Groat said.…
The UT Energy Institute’s report stands in stark contrast to a draft report released in December from the Environmental Protection Agency, which said its examination of a hydraulic fracturing site in Pavillion, Wyo., found hydraulic fracturing fluids and chemicals associated with natural gas production in deep water wells.