By now, I bet everyone has heard of the Oil & Gas Industry’s unilateral dismissal of anyone who has safety or health concerns about unconventional shale gas development. Industry leaders have bullied-forth a few emotional tirades lately, spawning a flurry of fact-checking. The results don’t look good for the industry.
One of the most telling is Aubrey McClendon’s recent invention of truth in which he stated that the industry technology has evolved to the point where it simply doesn’t have any problems with leaky cement/casing anymore. Specifically, his “problem identified, problem solved” statements are… well… to use his buddy Tom Ridge’s words… phony hysteria.
Phony because the industry seriously does not know how to prevent or permanently fix leaky wells.
Hysteria because the industry is trying to inculcate some sort of public backlash against anti-frackers (which, by the way, isn’t going to work).
Recently, the press has been figuring all of this out. For example, the Scranton Times-Tribune, ran an article fact-checking McClendon’s blanket statements about the supposed non-existence of problems with leaky wells. In fact, the Times-Tribune reports that during the first 8 months of 2011, more leaky wells were reported than in all of 2010.
The author only included 65 leaky wells, and did not include Tioga County, PA– the PA county in which the second-most number of Marcellus wells has been drilled (second to Bradford). Why omit this county? Update: As it turns out, in conversation with the Times-Tribune reporter via email, the fact of the matter is that DEP data set does not yeild all the numbers. In reality, there is no way to know how many leaking wells there are in Pennsylvania unless you literally read every single well report for the thousands of wells that there are… and this is assuming that all the public documents are, well, still there and still public.
…the numbers that we do know, as reported by the Times-Tribune, by themselves average out to roughly 8 new leaky wells each month in Pennsylvania during 2011. Simply put: McClendon was not correct. The industry is far away from preventing or permanently fixing leaky wells. (Don’t worry, their economists will continue to state that fracking is safe.)
Meanwhile, DEP honcho Krancer states that “One case… is one case too many” in regards to methane migration! Evidently, Krancer doesn’t know that he can shut-down leaking wells….