Mounting Evidence: The Harm Caused By Fracking

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A tidal wave of extreme energy extraction is sweeping across the globe, of which unconventional oil and gas extraction (colloquially known as fracking) is a major component. It is being driven by the progressive depletion of easier to extract fossil fuels which is leading to the exploitation of increasingly harder to extract resources. This process in itself has severe effects on human societies but the more immediate effects where the extraction takes place are becoming all too obvious.

The evidence from the US, Canada and Australia where tens of thousands of shale oil and gas and coal bed methane (CBM) wells have already been drilled, that fracking destroys water supplies, air quality, and people’s health has been mounting for years, and is now becoming very difficult to ignore. Beyond these more well known issues lurks a whole host of local and regional impacts, from frack sand to ‘orphaned’ wells.

Globally, we can afford to burn considerably less than half (perhaps only a quarter) of known conventional fossil fuel reserves and still have some chance of maintaining a liveable planet. Any exploitation of unconventional fossil fuels is putting the world on a path to a devastated future. That said, the cumulative effect of all the local impacts spread over the vast areas needed by fracking cannot be underestimated.

If we do not make a stand fracking will lead us into a hellish future. While fracking is bad it is also very short term, and the greatest threat it poses is actually as a gateway to even more extreme extraction methods. The government is already selling licences for underground coal gasification (UCG), literally setting fire to coal underground, to try to extract energy. What crazy schemes to profit from scrapping the last dregs from the fossil fuel barrel will be thought up next?

This post links to news articles (rather than the scientific studies on which they are often based) to make it accessible to as many people as possible. However, if you are interested in digging more deeply please see our Reports & Evidence page. If you have suggestions for additional material, reports of broken links or issues we have missed out, do e-mail us at info@frack-off.org.

UK Specific

Leading UK Fracking Company, Cuadrilla Resources, Whose Site At Balcombe Was Blockaded Last Summer, Has Been Censured By The ASA And DECC (Click To Enlarge)

Fracking in the UK would require tens of thousands of wells to be drilled, severely impact local water resources and be completely incompatible with UK’s carbon emissions targets

Water shortages may make fracking impractical, industry says (Guardian, November 2013) Fracking may be impractical in parts of the UK due to the scarcity of local water supplies, and in other areas will have an impact on local water resources, the water industry has admitted, but they are collaborating with the fracking industry anyway

Water firms raise fears over shale gas fracking (Telegraph, July 2013) Fracking for shale gas will raise the risk of water shortages and could contaminate drinking supplies with with methane gas and harmful chemicals, Britain’s water companies have claimed

Cuadrilla censured by advertising watchdog over fracking safety claims (Guardian, April 2013) Cuadrilla censured by Advertising Standards Authority for claiming that it uses “proven, safe technologies” and that fracking does not lead to water contamination

Sepa probe at coal-bed methane wells (The Herald, April 2013) The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) is launching an investigation into claims that methane is leaking from wells drilled to test for the gas in coal seams, owned by Dart Energy, near Canonbie in Dumfries and Galloway

Fracking company Cuadrilla halts operations at Lancashire drilling site (Guardian, March 2013) Cuadrilla has been warned by ministers over its “performance as a licensee” because it did not report for six months the well casing damage produced by the earthquake that it caused

UK shale gas no “get out of jail free card” (Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Feb 2013) To replace the UK’s current imports with shale gas would require up to 20,000 wells to be drilled in the next 15 years, draining an area over twice the size of Lancashire and is unlikely to result in low natural gas prices

Gas strategy should be ‘plan Z’, government’s climate adviser warns (Guardian, December 2012) Chief executive of Committee on Climate Change says a new dash for gas is ‘completely incompatible’ with UK’s legally binding carbon emissions targets and should be “plan Z”

Water Contamination

Chemical Contaminants Detected In Two Different Water Wells (Purple And Orange) In Pavilion, Wyoming Which Sits In The Middle Of A Gas Field (Click To Enlarge)

Thousands of cases of water contamination with toxic and carcinogenic substances caused by unconventional oil and gas extraction have been documented including in Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Alabama, Ohio, Alberta and Queensland

EPA report on fracking in Texas raises new concerns (LA Times, December 2013) Over three years, the EPA has sampled water in Dimock, Pa., Pavillion, Wyo., and Parker County after residents complained that their water had turned foul once natural gas drilling began nearby and in each case the EPA found evidence of contamination but declined to pursue further water sampling or disciplinary action against the energy companies

Study: High Levels of Arsenic in Water Near Gas Wells (Texas Tribune, July 2013) Study of 100 water wells in the Barnett Shale, Texas found dangerously high levels of arsenic in third of wells that are closer to natural gas extraction sites

Sunday Times review of DEP drilling records reveals water damage, murky testing methods (Scranton Times-Tribune, May 2013) State environmental regulators determined that oil and gas development contaminated the water supplies for at least 161 Pennsylvania homes, farms, churches and businesses between 2008 and the fall of 2012

Drilling spills reaching Colorado groundwater; state mulls test rules (Denver Post, December 2012) Oil and gas in Colorado have contaminated groundwater, including with cancer-causing benzene, in 17 percent of the 2,078 spills and slow releases that companies reported to state regulators over the past five years, state data show

Canadian authorities: Fracking operation contaminated groundwater (Natural Resources Defense Council, December 2012) Canadian Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) investigation into a September, 2011 groundwater contamination incident caused by gelled propane fracking of a gas well in Alberta, finds elevated levels of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX) remain a year later

Pennsylvania Report Left Out Data on Poisons in Water Near Gas Site (New York Times, November 2012) Pennsylvania officials reported incomplete test results that omitted data on some toxic metals that were found in drinking water taken from a private well near a natural gas drilling site

Diesel in Water Near Fracking Confirms EPA Tests Wyoming Disputes (Bloomberg, September 2012) A retest of water in Pavillion, Wyoming by the US Geological Survey, confirms evidence of contamination by methane, ethane, diesel compounds and phenol, which the EPA had also identified in its report last year

Carcinogens found in CSG project (Sydney Morning Herald, August 2011) The Queensland government is investigating a Arrow Energy coal seam gas (CSG) field west of Brisbane after the discovery of cancer-causing chemicals benzene, toluene and xylene in five boresholes during routine tests

Environmental Working Group Reveals EPA Knowledge of Water Contamination From Fracking (DeSmog Blog, August 2011) Fracking has been known by the US Environmental Protection Agency to contaminate underground sources of drinking water since 1987

EPA Finds Compound Used in Fracking in Wyoming Aquifer (Pro Publica, November 2010) A pair of environmental monitoring wells drilled into an aquifer in Pavillion, Wyo., found high levels of cancer-causing compounds and at least one chemical commonly used in hydraulic fracturing, consistent with samples collected from at least 42 homes in the area since 2008

Buried Secrets: Is Natural Gas Drilling Endangering U.S. Water Supplies? (Pro Publica, November 2008) More than 1,000 other cases of contamination have been documented by courts and state and local governments in Colorado, New Mexico, Alabama, Ohio and Pennsylvania

Air Pollution

Infra-Red Image Of A Frack Pad In The Barnett Shale, Texas Showing Hydrocarbon Fumes (Invisible To Naked Eye) Boiling Off Condensate Tanks (Click To Enlarge)

Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Texas have all recorded massively increased air pollution as a result of fracking, including local concentrations of toxic hydrocarbons fumes as well as region-wide ozone pollution, with residents suffering headaches, sore throats, nosebleeds, dizziness and breathing difficulties

What’s Behind Surging Ozone Pollution in Texas? Study to Weigh Role of Fracking in Health Hazard (Inside Climate News, October 2013) In San Antonio, the steepest increase in ozone, a hazardous air pollutant that causes serious respiratory problems, coincides with the boom in the Eagle Ford shale

As air pollution from fracking rises, EPA to set rules (Lake Wylie Pilot, August 2013) Fracking has led to giant compressor stations, drilling rigs and huge flares in the middle of communities exposing people to variety of air pollution includes the fumes breathed in by people nearby, as well as smog spread over a wide region and emissions of the greenhouse gas methane

‘Let’s learn from the past’: Pam Judy speaks out on the health impacts of compressor stations (Protecting Our Waters, March 2013) Family in Green County, Pennsylvania who live 780 feet from a compressor station suffering headaches, sore throats, nosebleeds, vertigo, mouth blisters, some of which have landed them in the emergency room

Air emissions near natural gas drilling sites may contribute to health problems (Medical News, March 2012) Researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health have found a number of toxic, and carciogenic, petroleum hydrocarbons in the air near fracking wells including benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene, which cause acute and chronic health problems for those living nearby

First Study of Its Kind Detects 44 Hazardous Air Pollutants at Gas Drilling Sites (Inside Climate News, December 2012) A new study detected more than 50 chemicals, including 44 with reported health effects, in the air near fracking sites in Garfield County, Colorado, an area with little other industry aside from natural gas production

Like Wyoming, Utah finds high wintertime ozone pollution near oil, gas wells (Denver Post, February 2012) In 2010 and 2011, ozone air pollution which can impair breathing and has until recently been an urban issue, soared in the Uintah Basin, Utah where 10,000 wells have been drilled, with the phenomenon also seen in Wyoming, raising concerns that such pollution could become more widespread

Wyoming plagued by big-city problem: smog (Washington Post, March 2011) In western Wyoming, once famous for its crisp mountain air, people are now complaining of watery eyes, shortness of breath and bloody noses because of ozone levels that have exceeded Los Angeles on its worst pollution days, due to the expansion gas drilling in the region

Radioactive Contamination

Radioactive Radium 226 And 228 In Pennsylvania Waterways Showing High Concentrations Downstream Of Fracking Wastewater Outfalls (Click To Enlarge)

Radioactive materials from shale formations are brought to the surface in huge quantities and are threatening to pollute drinking water supplies in Pennsylvania, while workers transporting frack waste are getting sick

Radiation in Pennsylvania Creek Seen as Legacy of Fracking (Bloomberg, October 2013) Radioactive radium brought to the surface by gas drillers has been detected at concentrations 200 times above background levels in a Blacklick Creek, Pennsylvania, illustrating the risks of wastewater disposal from the boom in hydraulic fracturing

Fracking Truck Sets Off Radiation Alarm At Landfill (Forbes, April 2013) A truck carrying drill cuttings from a hydraulic fracturing pad in the Marcellus Shale was rejected by a Pennsylvania landfill after it set off a radiation alarm, emitting gamma radiation from radium 226 at almost ten times the permitted level

Fracking Wastewater Can Be Highly Radioactive (Reader Supported News, January 2013) A U.S. Geological Survey report found that millions of barrels of wastewater from unconventional wells in Pennsylvania were up to 3,609 times more radioactive than the federal limit for drinking water and 300 times more radioactive than the limit for nuclear plant discharges, as the workers transporting wastewater are getting sick undiagnosed conditions

Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers (New York Times, February 2011) A fracking well can produce over a million gallons of wastewater that is often laced with highly corrosive salts, carcinogens like benzene and radioactive elements like radium, with drilling waste a threat to drinking water in Pennsylvania since radioactivity cannot be fully diluted in rivers and other waterways

Is New York’s Marcellus Shale Too Hot to Handle? (Pro Publica, November 2009) New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation has found levels of radium-226 in frack wastewater, a derivative of uranium known to cause bone, liver and breast cancers, as high as 267 times the limit safe for discharge into the environment and thousands of times the limit safe for people to drink

Human Health

Six Counties In Texas (Outlined In Black) Where Breast Cancer Rates Are Shooting Up, Whilst Declined In The Rest Of US, Compared To Locations Of Barnett Shale Gas Wells (Red Dots) (Click To Enlarge)

Wherever fracking is happening, including Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Queensland, people are getting sick as a result of the toxic, carcinogenic and hormone-disrupting chemicals they are exposed to via both air and water, with symptoms from headaches and breathing difficulties to neurological impairment and cancer

Study Shows Fracking Is Bad for Babies (Bloomberg, January 2014) A study of Pennsylvania birth records from 2004 to 2011, by researchers from Princeton University, Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has found that infants born within a 2.5-kilometer radius of fracking sites have increased likelihood of low birth weight and more health problems

Hormone-disrupting chemicals found in water at fracking sites (LA Times, December 2013) A study of hydraulic fracturing sites in Colorado finds substances that have been linked to infertility, birth defects and cancer

Air Pollution Destroys Health of Texas Fracking Communities (Environment News Service, September 2013) New study documents hazardous chemicals in the air and serious ailments reported by families living in close proximity to drilling operations of the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas

Statement On Preliminary Findings From The Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project Study (Concerned Health Professionals of New York, August 2013) Early results from a public health assessment in Washington County, Pennsylvania, find that people are getting sick, with air pollution implicated in three-quarters of cases and elevated levels of fracking-related air pollutants were found in people’s homes

Fracking ourselves to death in Pennsylvania (Salon, May 2013) Serious health crisis unfolding as the fracking industry has spread through states like Texas, Colorado, and Pennsylvania where people’s symptoms are the same: rashes, nosebleeds, severe headaches, difficulty breathing, joint pain, intestinal illnesses, memory loss, and more

Report details health concerns for residents affected by CSG (Sunshine Coast Daily, March 2013) A report chronicling the possible health risks caused by the coal seam gas industry in Tara, Queensland has been compiled by general practitioner Dr Geralyn McCarron who is concerned children could be experiencing damage to their nervous system

Fracking’s most horrifying health risks (Salon, December 2012) The threat from fracking to human health includes air pollution, chemical contamination of drinking water, radioactive wastewater and radon gas, but the long latency of many illnesses, a lack of accurate health data gathering, and conflicts of interests affecting research means it may be a long time before the implications are fully understood

Marcellus Gas Wells Likely Harming Public Health: Survey (Bloomberg, October 2012) People living near natural gas wells in Pennsylvania, where more than 5,000 shale gas wells have been drilled since 2009, say drilling has triggered respiratory problems, fatigue, severe headaches and skin rashes, according to a survey of residents in 14 Pennsylvania counties, while air samples reveal 19 volatile organic compounds

Science Lags as Health Problems Emerge Near Gas Fields (Pro Publica, September 2011) Residents of communities across the US that have seen the most extensive natural gas drilling are reporting symptoms including respiratory infections, headaches, neurological impairment, nausea and skin rashes

Breast cancer rate climbs up (Denton Record-Chronicle, August 2011) According to a 2011 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, invasive breast cancer is on the rise in the six Texas counties with the Barnett Shale’s most intense gas drilling development, even as the incidence rate for the disease is falling across the rest of the nation

Agriculture & Animal Health

Cows Tails Fell Off, Many Got Sick And 5 Died After 32 Wells Were Drilled Near A Ranch In The Bakken Shale, North Dakota (Click To Enlarge)

Fracking is threatening to compromise food supplies with animals and crops dying in Alberta, North Dakota, New Mexico, California and Pennsylvania as a result of exposure to chemicals from drilling operations

Home, Fracked Home: Lost Hair and Dead Cows (The Tyee, October 2013) Six cows wasted away and died, while four others were euthanized, on a cattle ranch in Alberta after a water well was contaminated with high levels of chlorides following the fracking of 70 tight (or shale) oil wells in the region

Fracking Our Food Supply (Nation, November 2012) Five cows dropped dead (with more getting sick and their tails falling off), in addition to several cats and two dogs, after fracking began on thirty-two Bakken Shale oil wells within three miles of a ranch in North Dakota

Study suggests hydrofracking is killing farm animals, pets (Cornell University, March 2012) A new report has found dozens of cases of illness, death and reproductive issues in cows, horses, goats, llamas, chickens, dogs, cats, fish which could be the result of exposure to gas drilling operations

poisoned by the contaminated water Cattle ranchers in the San Juan Basin of northern New Mexico, where coal bed methane development (CBM) has seen 23,000 wells and 3,000 compressor stations constructed, are being forced off the land as their cattle are poisoned with chemicals like methanol and ethylene glycol

Oil and Water Don’t Mix with California Agriculture (High Country News, December 2010) Oil industry produced water leaking from evaporation ponds contaminated groundwater with chloride and boron, along with detectable radiation, and killed almond trees in California’s Central Valley

Fracking With Food: How the Natural Gas Industry Poisons Cows and Crops (Alternet, July 2010) 28 cows quarantined at a farm in Shippen Township, Pennsylvania after a leak from a 650,000-gallon fracking disposal pit exposed them to water containing the heavy metal strontium

Wildlife

Pronghorn Antelope In The Upper Green River Basin, Wyoming Which Are Threatened By Thousands Of Fracking Sites Fragmenting Their Habitat (Click To Enlarge)

Fracking requires thousands of miles of pipelines, roads, drilling pads and related infrastructure which is fragmenting ecosystems, while pollution and waste also pose a severe threat to wildlife

Study: Fracking Waste Poses Severe Threat To Wildlife (MintPress News, September 2013) According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, fracking water “killed virtually all aquatic wildlife” at the site of one spill

Northeast drilling boom threatens forest wildlife (Associated Press, April 2013) Thousands of miles of new pipelines and related infrastructure are fragmenting ecosystems and threatening to wildlife in Pennsylvania

U.S. Geological Survey: Natural Gas Fracking Is Destroying Pennsylvania Forests (Natural Gas Watch, October 2012) Natural gas drilling activity is destroying thousands of acres of forest in Pennsylvania, with habitat fragmentation by roads, drilling pads, pipelines and other infrastructure development associated with fracking, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report

Fracking Away the Wildlife (Pacific Standard, August 2012) Gas fields in western Wyoming are fracturing of the habitat of the American pronghorn antelope, as thousands of fracking sites interfere with the pronghorn’s migration routes, forcing them to abandon up to 82 percent of their highest quality winter range

Methane Migration

Concentration Of Methane In Water Wells As A Function Of Their Distance From Marcellus Shale Wells (Click To Enlarge)

Methane is migrating into groundwater from fracking wells causing explosions and fires where it builds up in buildings, and at least two rivers, the Condamine River in Queensland and the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania, are bubbling methane

Government report points the finger at CSG as cause for bubbles in the Condamine River (Courier-Mail, August 2013) A Queensland government report has shown that methane bubbling along a 5km stretch of the Condamine River, in the Surat Basin, is consistent with being caused by coal seam gas (CSG) extraction and detected concentration in the air up to 300 ppm

Duke Study Links Fracking To Methane In Drinking Water (Environmental Working Group, June 2013) New Duke University study of 141 drinking water wells in the Marcellus Shale region finds much higher concentrations of methane, ethane and propane in wells within one kilometre of a natural gas operation

Three years after drilling, feds say natural gas in Medina County well water is potentially explosive (Akron Beacon Journal, January 2012) A federal health agency says explosive levels of mathane at two houses in eastern Medina County, Ohio are a public health threat, and has linked them to the drilling of two shale gas wells in 2008

Stray gas plagues NEPA Marcellus wells (Scranton Times-Tribune, July 2011) As shale gas drilling has increased in Pennsylvania, so has the prevalence of methane migrating into water supplies causing a blast in a Dimock water well, forced a family to evacuate a Terry Twp. home, bubbled up in the Susquehanna River and affecting 35 drinking-water wells in Bradford and Susquehanna counties according to state investigators

Attorney: Methane probed in NW Pa. house explosion (Charleston Daily Mail, March 2011) Methane gas from fracking operations migrating through homeowner’s water wells is being investigated as the cause of explosions and fires in two Pennsylvania homes over the last three months

Methane threat to drinking water (Nature, May 2011) Study by US environmental scientists at Duke University finds significantly increases methane concentrations in drinking water taken from wells within 1 km of one or more fracking operations in northeastern Pennsylvania and nearby areas of New York state

Water Problems From Drilling Are More Frequent Than PA Officials Said (Pro Publica, July 2009) Methane related to fracking has contaminated water wells in at least seven Pennsylvania counties and in one case was detected in water sampled over 15 square miles since 2004, when an explosion killed a couple and their 17-month-old grandson after gas seeped into their home

Climate Change

Concentration Of Methane Upwind (Blue) And Downwind (Red) Of The Unita Basin Gasfields In Utah Showing That The Field Is Leaking Large Amounts Of Gas (Click To Enlarge)

Fugitive emission of methane, a potent greenhouse gas leaking out of gas wells, pipelines and compressor stations, may total over 10 percent of production making fracking worse than burning coal in terms of climate change, over a 20 year time scale

U.S. Methane Study Says Emissions 50 Percent Higher Than EPA Estimates (Huffington Post, November 2013) US is spewing 50 percent more methane — a potent heat-trapping gas — than the federal government estimates, a new comprehensive scientific study says, much of it is coming from oil and gas drilling areas

New Study Finds High Methane Emissions from Gas Drilling (Allegheny Front, August 2013) A new study has found “alarmingly high” levels of methane – between 6.2 and 11.7 percent – leaking out of tight gas wells, pipelines and compressor stations in Utah, making it worse than coal in terms of global warming over a 20-year time span

Methane leaks erode green credentials of natural gas (Nature, January 2013) Results from a field study in the Uinta Basin, Utah, suggest an eye-popping 9% of the total methane production, a potent greenhouse gas, is leaking, double the cumulative loss rates estimated from industry data

Australian scientists find excess greenhouse gas near fracking (LA Times, November 2012) Researchers from Southern Cross University have detected excess greenhouse gas levels near the site of Australia’s biggest coal seam gas field, even higher than in Russia’s massive Siberian gas fields, where environmental protection has been minimal

US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports (Science Daily, October 2012) A report by researchers at the University of Manchester has concluded that whilst the US is burning less coal, often attributed to shale gas production, millions of tonnes of unused coal are being exported to the UK, Europe and Asia

Shale gas ‘worse than coal’ for climate (BBC News, April 2011) The first comprehensive analysis of the greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas, from Cornell University, shows it is at least 20% greater and perhaps more than twice as great as coal on a 20-year horizon, and is comparable over 100 years

Climate Benefits of Natural Gas May Be Overstated (Pro Publica, January 2011) Environmental Protection Agency estimates methane gas leaks from the hydraulic fracturing of shale gas are 9,000 times higher than previously reported, making shale as bad for the climate as coal over a 20 year time scale

Fracking Waste

Fracking Waste Pit On A Site In Pennsylvania Constructed To Hold Contaminated Flowback (Click To Enlarge)

The quantities of toxic and radioactive waste being produced by fracking, are overwhelming the limited capacity of treatment plants, which cannot remove all contaminants in any case, and combined with spilling and dumping is contaminating land, waterways and groundwater

Fracking produces annual toxic waste water enough to flood Washington DC (Guardian, October 2013) Waste water pits often fail, such as in New Mexico where there were more than 420 instances of contamination, and that treatment plants do not remove all contaminants

Sites sought for region’s fracking residue (Columbus Dispatch, September 2013) The two-year U.S. Department of Energy project to search for sites where companies can pump fracking waste underground, including saltwater that contains toxic metals and radium

As Fracking Proliferates, So Do Wastewater Wells (New York Times, March 2013) Most wastewater is trucked to disposal wells and injected thousands of feet underground resulting in truck traffic, accidents and the possibility for spills and groundwater contamination

Sewage Plants Struggle To Treat Wastewater Produced By Fracking Operations (Chemical & Engineering News, March 2013) Water used in fracking may still contain high levels of contaminants, even after going through wastewater treatment plants

Wastewater from fracking could be too much to handle, study says (NBC News, January 2013) The number of fracking operations in Pennsylvania has grown so rapidly that the wastewater being produced threatens to overwhelm the region’s capacity to properly treat it

North Dakota’s Oil Boom Brings Damage Along With Prosperity (Pro Publica, June 2012) Oil companies are spilling and dumping drilling salty, chemical-infused waste onto the Bakken Shale region’s land and into its waterways with increasing regularity, wiping out aquatic life in streams and wetlands and sterilized farmland, with over 1,000 spills in 2011

W.Va. study raises questions about fracking fluid (Businessweek, July 2011) A gas company that legally doused a patch of West Virginia forest with salty wastewater from a fracking operation killed ground vegetation within days and more than half the trees within two years

With Natural Gas Drilling Boom, Pennsylvania Faces an Onslaught of Wastewater (Pro Publica, October 2009) The Monongahela River, a drinking water source for 350,000 people, contaminated by chemically tainted fracking wastewater, making dishwashers malfunction, corroding the machinery of industrial users and probably responsible for death of 10,000 fish

Water Usage

Fracking Trucks Line Up After Midnight To Collect Water From The Susquehanna River In Pennsylvania (Click To Enlarge)

Fracking requires vast quantities of water, millions of gallons per well, which is stressing local water resources in areas like Texas, Colorado, Michigan and North Dakota, where farmers have been outbid for irrigation water and in some cases whole towns running dry

North Dakota’s Salty Fracked Wells Drink More Water to Keep Oil Flowing (National Geographic, November 2013) Over the life of a Bakken Shale well more than three to four times the water required for the initial fracking will be used as ‘maintenance water’

A Texan tragedy: ample oil, no water (Guardian, August 2013) Fracking boom sucks away precious water from beneath the ground, leaving cattle dead, farms bone-dry and people thirsty

Fracking Creates Water Scarcity Issues in Michigan (EcoWatch, June 2013) The fracking operation for one well is using more water than the local town uses for all its needs over the same time period

Fracking Is Already Straining U.S. Water Supplies (Think Progress, June 2013) Fracking consumes between 70 billion and 140 billion gallons of water each year in the US, equal to the water use in 40 to 80 cities with populations of 50,000 people

Spread of Hydrofracking Could Strain Water Resources in West, Study Finds (New York Times, May 2013) The rapid expansion of fracking could put pressure on already-stressed water resources in Colorado, according to a new report

As Fracking Increases, So Do Fears About Water Supply (New York Times, March 2013) In some Texas counties the proportion of water used for fracking has reached the double digits and is growing along with the oil boom

Drought raising water costs, scarcity concerns for shale plays (Oil & Gas Journal, July 2012) The volume of water that the oil and gas industry uses for hydraulic fracturing in US shale plays, forcing drillers to pay higher prices and to seek alternate water sources

Fracking bidders top farmers at water auction (Denver Post, April 2012) At Colorado’s premier auction for unallocated water this spring, companies that provide water for hydraulic fracturing at well sites were top bidders on supplies once claimed exclusively by farmers

Earthquakes

Cumulative Number Of Earthquakes Greater Than Magnitude 3 In The US Since 1967 Showing Large Increase Last Few Years During The Fracking Boom (Click To Enlarge)

Fracking, and particularly the injection of fracking waste into disposal wells, is resulting in a massive increase in earthquakes in the US, including swarms of hundreds or thousands around individual wells, with the largest earthquake a magnitude 5.7 in Oklahoma which caused significant damage and injuries

Groningen gas earthquakes damage listed buildings (Dutch News, November 2013) Earthquakes, caused by gas extraction in Groningen, have damaged 69 out of the 100 listed buildings in the northern part of the province, according to the cultural heritage service Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed

Arkansas lawsuits test fracking wastewater link to quakes (Reuters, August 2013) Over a dozen residents of Greenbrier, Arkansas, hit by a swarm of more than 1,000 earthquakes up to magnitude of 4.7, have filed five federal lawsuits against the drillers, marking the first legal attempt to link earthquakes to wastewater wells

South Texas earthquakes likely caused by shale boom, researchers say (FuelFix, August 2013) Earthquakes in the Eagle Ford Shale region — including a magnitude 4.8 quake in 2011 which would have caused severe damage in an urban area — are likely being triggered by increased oil extraction, according to research from the University of Texas at Austin

Fracking led to 109 earthquakes in Youngstown, Ohio, study finds (UPI, August 2013) Since records began Youngstown, Ohio has never had an earthquake, until the Northstar 1 injection well was built to dispose of frack wastewater in 2010, and in the year that followed 109 seismic events were recorded in the town, the strongest a magnitude 3.9

Pumping water underground could trigger major earthquake, say scientists (Guardian, July 2013) A University of California study finds pumping water underground – for example in shale gas fracking – can lead to dangerous earthquakes even in regions not prone to tremors, by weakening of pre-existing undergrounds faults and making them vulnerable to triggering by earthquakes thousands of miles away

United States Geological Survey: Man-Made Earthquakes Update (US Geological Survey, July 2013) The number of earthquakes has increased dramatically over the past few years within the central and eastern United States and USGS scientists have found that the increase coincides with the injection of fracking wastewater in deep disposal wells

Study links fracking wastewater to massive 2011 Oklahoma quake (Raw Story, March 2013) A study links the magnitude 5.6 earthquake that hit Oklahoma in November 2011, causing serious damage to homes and even buckling a highway, to injection of fracking wastewater into a disposal well

Fracking’s Latest Scandal? Earthquake Swarms (Mother Jones, March 2013) A magnitude 5.7 earthquake in Prague, Oklahoma which injured two people, destroyed 14 homes, toppled headstones, closed schools, and was felt in 17 states, is linked to fracking wastewater injection wells

Earthquakes Hit Gas-Rich Groningen Province in Netherlands (Bloomberg, February 2013) The strength of earthquakes triggered by gas production in the Dutch province of Groningen may rise to magnitude 5, according to a government study

Transport

Accident Rates Involving Heavy Goods Vehicles In Pennsylvania Counties With (Dashed) And Without (Dotted) Significant Fracking (Click To Enlarge)

Fracking has massive tranport requirements, to and from thousands of dispersed sites, often along small rural roads, and this is driving a carnage of accidents, explosions, spills and deaths on the roads, railways, and potentially soon waterways, of the US, from Texas to Pennsylvania

North Dakota community evacuated after train collision and fire (LA Times, December 2013) Casselton, a city of 2,432 people in North Dakota was evacuated after a train carrying Bakken Shale crude oil collided with another train, setting off a large fire, explosions and huge clouds of toxic smoke, a symptom of the fact that U.S. railroads are moving 25 times more crude than they did in 2008

Coast Guard Moves to Approve Barging of Hazardous Fracking Waste on Major Rivers (Truthout, November 2013) US moving forward with a proposal that would allow barges to transport large amounts of hazardous and radioactive wastewater from fracking operations on America’s major rivers, raising possiblity of a leak or spill on a major waterway contaminating drinking water supplies for millions of people

Train carrying crude oil derails, cars ablaze in Alabama (Reuters, November 2013) A train carrying crude oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota derailed and exploded in a rural area of western Alabama as a result of increase in trafficking of crude by rail with growth of shale oil production

Shale gas development linked to traffic accidents in Pennsylvania (Common Resources, September 2013) Fracking requires more than a thousand trips per well, often along rural roads or through small towns, with rates of accidents involving a heavy truck shooting up in Pennsylvania counties where significant fracking has occured, resulting in an average of 2 extra fatalities per county per month

Focus of Lac-Mégantic probe turns to North Dakota oil fields (Globe & Mail, August 2013) A train carrying Bakken Shale crude oil, which is typically lighter and more flammable than conventional crude, crashed and erupted into a huge fireball, killing 47 residents and levelling the centre of the small Canadian town of Lac-Mégantic

Consequences of the boom: Road, rail deaths on rise (Bakken Today, January 2013) The Bakken Shale oil driven jump in traffic has led to a huge spike in highway and train accidents and deaths in North Dakota

Traffic deaths soar in Eagle Ford Shale areas (Houston Chronicle, July 2012) Karnes County, one of more than a dozen inundated with traffic from the Eagle Ford Shale, has seen an increase by 12 times in the number of fatalities on its roads, with the biggest jump involving commercial vehicles, as big trucks hauling heavy loads are constantly damaging the roads

Pipelines

Barnett Shale Gas Pipeline In Cleburne, Texas Where A Massive Explosion Killed One Person (Click To Enlarge)

Long after the drilling rigs are gone a legacy of fracking is thousands of miles of pipelines, carving up the countryside, while the inevitable leaks and explosions provide a constant threat to the areas concerned

Gas Pipeline Boom Fragmenting Pennsylvania’s Forests (InsideClimate News, December 2013) Pipelines to serve fracking cut paths through pristine stretches of trees, fragment forests, decrease biodiversity and introduce invasive species and it is estimated that more than 400,000 new miles of gathering lines will be installed in the US by 2035, dwarfing all previous waves of resource extraction combined

Pipeline construction in shale boom alters countryside (Columbus Dispatch, May 2013) The landscape is changing in rural Harrison County, Ohio as companies build pipelines to connect shale wells to massive new gas processing plants transforming the countryside, with the industry planning to spend $1 billion in just three Ohio counties on such developments

Study Finds Flaws in Pipeline Leak Detection Systems (New York Times, December 2012) A forthcoming federal report on pipeline safety has found that members of the general public are more likely to identify oil and gas spills than the pipeline companies’ own leak detection systems, which work only 16-17 percent of the time

Down the Pipe (Fort Worth Weekly, November 2011) When the drilling rigs are long gone, the dangers of gas pipelines will be just beginning, with more than 115 serious pipeline incidents in Texas between 2000 and 2009, which caused death, serious injury, or major property damage

The Fire Down Below (Texas Observer, November 2010)* Driven by the shale gas-drilling boom in North Texas high-pressure natural gas pipelines are spreading across the state, with 360,000 miles laid already and more planned, and a series of huge gas-pipeline explosions causing injuries, deaths and destruction are the inevitable result

The moment workmen accidentally blew up a Texas gas pipeline, leaving one dead and seven injured (Daily Mail, June 2010) One worker was killed and seven others injured when an underground gas pipeline exploded in rural Texas, sending a massive fireball into the air, while heat from the blast forced firefighters to stay about a half-mile away until the gas flow was shut off

Blowouts, Spills & Explosions

A West Virgina Fracking Site Where An Explosion And Fire Killed 2 Workers And Injured 5 Others (Click To Enlarge)

Fatalities among oil and gas workers have climbed to the highest level since records began in the US, amid a catalogue of explosions, well blowouts and spills at fracking sites across the US, Canada and Australia

Greene County shale well continues burning (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 2014) An explosion on a Marcellus Shale site in Greene County, Pennsylvania while a well was being connected to a gas pipeline has left one worker injured and one missing feared dead, and the fire was still raging more than 12 hours later

On-The-Job Deaths Spiking As Oil Drilling Quickly Expands (National Public Radio, December 2013) Last year, 138 oil and gas industry workers were killed on the job, an increase of more than 100 percent since 2009, and the fatality rate among oil and gas workers is now nearly eight times higher the average for industrial jobs

Oil and gas fatalities spike with boom (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 2013) About every three days, an oil and gas worker in the US was killed on the job in 2012 – and in 2011 and 2010 – as fatalities in the booming industry have climbed to the highest level since records began

Investigation Continues Into Fatal Explosion at WV Fracking Site (EcoWatch, August 2013) Seven people were injured, and since two men have died due to injuries sustained in an explosion and fire at a fracking site in West Virginia, caused by a buildup of gas in tanks used to store flow back water

Explosion at CSG well probed (Byron Shire Echo, August 2013) A blowout at a coal seam gas in New South Wales shot 200 metres broken drill rods, a milling tool, methane and liquids into the air, and a NSW mine safety report noted the potential for the incident to have been far worse

Few answers in April gas well blowout (Denton Record-Chronicle, July 2013) A well blowout in the city of Denton, Texas went unreported by the company for 9 hours and spewed chemicals into the air for over 12 hours, including the carcinogens benzene and ethylene dibromide, eventually resulting in the evacuation of four nearby homes and the diversion of flights at the city airport

Wyoming County well malfunction causes spill, evacuation (Scranton Times-Tribune, March 2013) Three Pennsylvania families were evacuated from their homes for two days after a blowout during fracking operations at a Marcellus Shale well caused gas and thousands of gallons of fluid waste to escape from the well and spill off the pad, before crews could shut it down

Fracking blamed for well blowout near Innisfail (Calgary Herald, December 2012) A well blowout in Alberta that spewed oily liquid over a farm was caused by hydraulic fracturing of a neighbouring well and was not an isolated event, with 21 examples of “communication” between wells over the past year, of which five resulted in blowouts

Pennsylvania Fracking Accident: What Went Wrong (Popular Mechanics, April 2011) A Pennsylvania shale gas well operated by Chesapeake Energy erupted, sending thousands (and perhaps tens of thousands) of gallons of highly saline fluid laced with chemical, some carcinogenic or linked to birth defects, spilling from the fracking site, into a tributary of a popular trout-fishing stream and forcing seven families nearby to evacuate their homes

Exxon Subsidiary Investigated for 13,000 Gallon Fracking Fluid Spill Into Pennsylvania Waterways (Huffington Post, November 2010) 13,000 gallon fracking fluid spill an XTO Energy drilling site in Pennsylvania polluted an unnamed tributary to the Sugar Run river and a spring and threatening a nearby cattle herd that had to be fenced off from the contaminated pasture

Frack Sand

Fracking Workers Often Exposed To Silica Dust Levels Which Can Cause Lung Disease And Cancer (Click To Enlarge)

Fracking’s demand for frack sand, a carcinogenic silica dust which can cause silicosis, an incurable lung disease, and lung cancer, is causing entire hills to be blasted away to extract the sand while workers and local residents are exposed to dangerous levels of silica in the air

The Mines That Fracking Built (Truth Out, May 2013) 70 active mines now operating in Wisconsin, producing “frack sand,” a carcinogenic silica dust which is a key ingredient in the hydraulic fracking process

Sand Land: Fracking Industry Mining Iowa’s Iconic Sand Bluffs in New Form of Mountaintop Removal (DeSmog Blog, April 2013) To extract the frac sand, mining corporations have adopted a method of newfangled mountaintop removal of sorts, blasting away entire hills

Like Working in a Refinery: Fracking’s New Chemical Hazards for Workers (State Impact, July 2012) In air samples taken at a fracking site in the Eagle Ford Shale, investigators found silica dust levels, which can cause silicosis, an incurable lung disease, and increases the risk of lung cancer, up to 10 times the safe limit, a dangerous level even when workers wear masks

Tiny Minnesota City Draws a Line in the Frac Sand Boom (Inside Climate News, November 2011) U.S. frac sand industry has ballooned from a dozen or so mines to hundreds in order to support growing demand but prior to this silica dust exposure already killed hundreds of industrial sand workers a year

Leaking Wells

Percentage Of Leaking Wells As A Function Of Age In A Study By Oil Services Company Schlumberger (Click To Enlarge)

Leaking wells have been a persistent and chronic problem for the oil and gas industry, contaminating land and water with toxic and carcinogenic materials, with the fraction of leaking wells growing as they age, and the worst leakers being “deviated” wells commonly used for fracking

Alberta Landowners Dispute Energy Regulator over Polluted Well (The Tyee, October 2013) At least three dozen frack jobs in Alberta and British Columbia have migrated and “communicated” with other wells, spewing fluid and hydrocarbons onto fields and forests, while well casings of horizontal fracked wells tend to leak or break at much higher rates, with 70 per cent of “deviated wells” leaking

Shale Gas: How Often Do Fracked Wells Leak? (The Tyee, January 2013) Leaking wellbores have been a persistent and chronic problem for decades and industry studies clearly show that five to seven per cent of all new oil and gas wells leak, and this grows to over half as wells age, with the worst leakers being “deviated” or horizontal wells commonly used for fracking

Prize and poison (Montana Native News, 2011) A shallow aquifer that provides the town of Poplar, Montana with drinking water has been contaminated with brine, which also contains toxic compounds like benzene, a known carcinogen, leaking from a waste injection well, according to the Environmental Protection Agency

By challenge – well integrity (Archer, March 2011) A typical well is built from several thousand components and exposed to tortuous conditions, with integrity failures in 45%, 34% and 18% of wells in the Gulf of Mexico, UK North Sea and the Norwegian North Sea respectively

Leaks found in shale gas wells: Que. report (CBC News, January 2011) A report compiled for Quebec’s environmental protection agency has found that of 31 shale gas wells in the province inspected ‘more than half have problems’, leaking gas into the atmosphere

Orphaned Wells

An Abandoned Well In Oneida County, New York Whose Discharges Have Killed An Acre Of Vegetation (Click To Enlarge)

Previous waves of drilling have already littered the world with millions of orphaned wells, abandoned by their original owners, with many spewing toxic pollutants into the environment, and massive clean up costs falling on taxpayers, a situation which fracking is making far worse

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead announces plan to plug 1,200 abandoned oil and gas wells (Casper Star-Tribune, December 2013) Wyoming has more than 1,200 orphaned oil and gas wells, an additional 912 wells likely to become orphaned from ongoing bankruptcy proceedings and another 2,300 wells of concern, many left over from declining coal-bed methane production in the Powder River Basin, which the state will need to pay to be plugged

Abandoned, Polluting, and Costly: Are the Gas Wells of New York’s Past a Glimpse into Its Future? (EarthDesk, September 2013) New York regulators estimate there are 57,000 abandoned and orphan oil and gas wells statewide – many of them leaking, risking explosions and providing conduits for water contamination, but lack the funding to plug them

Planet Sludge: Millions of Abandoned, Leaking Natural Gas and Oil Wells to Foul Our Future (EcoHearth, May 2013) Each day hundreds of thousands of abandoned leaking oil wells and natural-gas wells spew toxic pollutants into the environment — and tens of millions more will soon join them, a developing environmental calamity to which almost no one is paying attention

Orphans of the Oil Fields: The Cost of Abandoned Wells (State Impact, April 2012) Scattered across the oil and gas fields of Texas, there are at least 7,869 abandoned wells, and an additional 5,445 wells that are inactive and whose operators are delinquent in meeting regulations, and since 1984, Texas has spent over $247 million plugging orphaned wells

Deteriorating Oil and Gas Wells Threaten Drinking Water, Homes Across the Country (Pro Publica, April 2011) Abandoned wells can provide pathways for oil, gas or brine-laden water to contaminate groundwater supplies or to travel up to the surface and previous waves of drilling has littered the US with as many as a million orphan wells, which can cost $100,000 or more each to plug

What Lies Beneath (Alberta Views, March 2011)* Almost 100,000 abandoned oil and gas wells litter Alberta, one quarter of all the wells ever drilled in the province, and the total cost to reclaim all existing wells, facilities and pipelines in the province is estimated at approximately $21 billion, with the government likely to foot most of the bill

Industrialisation

Typical Dense Fracking Development In Western Pennsylvania With Three Wells, A Gas Processing Plant, A Waste Pit And A Compressor Station In This Small Area (Click To Enlarge)

Fracking takes rural communities and turns them into industrial zones, with an unprecedented industrialization of the countryside now under way in the US, where a million more wells are expected over the next few decades and in places fracking is now pushing into the suburbs once rural areas become fully exploited

Welcome to Gasland: Denton, Texas Residents Face Fracking Impacts From EagleRidge Energy (DeSmog Blog, December 2013) The city of Denton, Texas, is being turned into a gasland with fracking sites less than 200 feet away from people’s homes, residents complaining about toxic fumes, bright lights and noise, and fracking even taking place on the University of North Texas campus in the city

Energy Boom Puts Wells in America’s Backyards (Wall Street Journal, October 2013) More than 15 million Americans now live within one mile of a fracking well as parts of the U.S. face unprecedented industrialization with a million more wells expected over the next few decades

You Have to See It to Believe It: What It’s Like to Have Fracking in Your Backyard (Alternet, April 2013) Fracking takes rural communities and turns them into industrial zones with thousands of wells, truck traffic, accidents and road damage now something residents endure daily while operations go on around the clock, with constant noise, light and air pollution and explosions sometimes occur at well sites and pipelines

When fracking came to suburban Texas (Guardian, December 2012) Residents of Gardendale, a suburb in Texas, face having up to 300 wells in their backyards, as fracking operations are now planned or under way in suburbs, mid-sized towns and large metropolitan areas across the US

Secrecy

A Family, Including Two Children, Forbidden From Speaking About Fracking For The Rest Of Their Lives After Nearby Shale Gas Wells Made Them Sick (Click To Enlarge)

The fracking industry uses a wide variety of legal tricks, including trade-secret claims and non-disclosure agreements, to hide details of its activities, and particularly cases where it has harmed people, from regulators, the media, researchers and the general public

Judge defeats challenge to ‘medical gag order’ on health risks from fracking (Russia Today, November 2013) A doctor who recently treated a patient directly exposed to fracking fluid, suffering from “low platelets, anemia, rash and acute renal failure that required extensive hemodialysis” has been denied the right to challenge a “medical gag rule” which forbids doctors for disclosing the chemicals involved to anyone, including the patients themselves

Lifelong Gag Order Imposed on Two Kids in Fracking Case (State Impact, August 2013) Two young children are forbidden from speaking about the Marcellus Shale or fracking for the rest of their lives following a settlement in a high-profile Marcellus Shale lawsuit alleging the family became sick from the gas drilling activity in western Pennsylvania

Drillers Silence Fracking Claims With Sealed Settlements (Bloomberg, June 2013) In cases across the US fracking companies have agreed to cash settlements or property buyouts with people who say they have ruined their water, but in most cases homeowners must agree to keep quiet, with non-disclosure agreements hiding an unknown number of contamination cases from regulators, the media and health researchers

Colorado docs chafe at secrecy oath needed for access to chemical list (Denver Post, March 2013) Colorado doctors are challenging a confidentiality pledge they must sign to get information on chemicals used by the oil and gas industry — information they may need to treat patients and protect public health, which means they could be punished for sharing information about chemicals with other medical professionals and public health authorities

Fracking Secrets by Thousands Keep U.S. Clueless on Wells (Bloomberg, November 2012) The 19,000 trade-secret claims made in Texas in 2012 through August hid from regulators one out of every seven chemicals and concentrations of the chemicals used, to hydraulically fracture 3,639 wells

Oppression

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Launch A Heavily Armed Dawn Assault On An Anti-Fracking Camp In New Brunswick

The fracking industry and governments in the US, Canada and Australia considers resistance by local people to be an “insurgency”, and anti-fracking groups, particularly in poorer or maginalised communities, are routinely labelled as terrorists, subjected to psychological warfare operations, intimidation and police violence

Fracking executive confirms: Homeland Security thinks fracktivists are terrorists (Daily Kos, November 2013) Chief Operating Officer of EagleRidge Energy turns up to a meeting with residents of Denton, Texas with an armed police escort and tells them that if they object to his company’s operations close to their homes, schools and parks, they are terrorists worthy of inclusion on the Department of Homeland Security’s watch list

Protests Sweep Canada Following Paramilitary Assault on Indigenous Fracking Blockade (Common Dreams, October 2013) Royal Canadian Mounted Police stormed the indigenous Elsipogtog Mi’kmaq First Nation anti-fracking protest, donning camouflage uniforms, wielding rifles, and brought police dogs to the site, tear gassed the crowd and violently arresting 40 people

Gas protestors stand their ground despite shots being fired (Sunshine Coast Daily, May 2013) Three shots were fired at a Tara protest against coal seam gas extraction outside a Queensland Gas Company camp near Chinchilla on the western Darling Downs

Hey CSIS, farmers are not terrorists (Tronoto Star, March 2013) People who are resisting fracking on their land and in their communities are being labelled a security threat by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the vast majority of whose spying is done within Canada under the guise of “domestic terrorism”

Fracking Insiders Admit To Employing Military ‘Psychological Operations’ On American Citizens (Business Insider, November 2011) Recordings from inside a fracking industry conference in Houston reveal that they have hired military veterans who served as psychological warfare specialists to counter the “insurgency” from local people opposed to fracking

Corruption

Campaign Contributions From The Fracking Industry To Candidates For The US Senate Over The Last Decade (Click To Enlarge)

The fracking industry spends large amounts of money on influencing various parts of society, corrupting politicians, regulators, academics, media and governments, in order to advance its agenda

Fracking Industry Campaign Contributions At Record Levels, Report Shows (Huffington Post, November 2013) Fracking industry contributions to US congressional campaigns spiked 231 percent between 2004 and 2012 in districts and states with fracking activity, according to a report compiled by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics

Polish government accused of gagging anti-fracking groups (Responding to Climate Change, March 2013) Poland’s government is considering new legislation to limit the influence of campaign groups opposed to its fracking plans, by excluding community groups who have recently formed to oppose shale gas exploration from taking part in consultations

EPA changed course after oil company protested (Associated Press, January 2013) Environmental Protection Agency buries scientific evidence that fracking company, Range Resources, was to blame for the contamination of drinking water after the company threatened not to cooperate with a national study into fracking

Review of UT Fracking Study Finds Failure to Disclose Conflict of Interest (State Impact, December 2012) A review of a controversial University of Texas study which claimed no link between fracking and water contamination finds numerous flaws in the study and failures to disclose conflicts of interest, with the lead author sitting on the board of a drilling company for which he was paid $1.5 million

Economics

Steep Production Decline Curve For A Typical Bakken Shale Oil Well In North Dakota (Click To Enlarge)

Fracking is expensive, extreme and risky and wells have massive production decline rates requiring constant drilling, offering dramatically lower energy returns and large environmental impacts. Sweet spots are often surrounded by vast zones of much less productive wells, which do not produce a large energy surplus

We’re fracking to stand still (Globe and Mail, December 2013) In the Bakken Shale output from wells that are over a month old is declining 6.3 per cent each month, for an annual rate of 53 per cent, requiring constant drilling and so much energy is needed to drill these wells that only the best produce a large energy surplus

Report: Industry-backed studies exaggerate fracking job estimates (Democrat & Chronicle, November 2013) A report casts doubt on industry funded estimates of jobs created through Marcellus Shale gas drilling, finding only one in 795 jobs is directly related to drilling, suggesting the jobs impact has been exaggerated in order to minimize or avoid altogether taxation, regulation, and even scrutiny of fracking

Long-Term Costs Of Fracking Are Staggering (Think Progress, March 2013) Report finds that unconventional fossil fuels all share a host of cruel and limiting traits, offering dramatically lower energy returns, consuming extreme and endless flows of capital, providing difficult or volatile rates of supply over time and have large environmental impacts in their extraction

Shale Gas Bubble: Insiders Suggest Fracking Boom Is a Bust (Huffington Post, January 2013) The economics of risky and expensive unconventional gas recovery simply don’t match up with claims of a “nearly limitless” supply and sweetspots are often surrounded by vast zones of less-productive wells that in some cases cost more to drill and operate than the gas they produce is worth

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