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Section A: General News


Myths of hydrofracking — an analysis




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August 20, 2014 | 4,221 views | 42 comments

By now, you’ve probably heard of the term “fracking” and have a foggy understanding that it has something to do with extracting natural gas from the ground. Unfortunately, the term has been spun to mean something new, unnatural, and rife with bad consequences, said engineer and environmentalist Greg Kozera.

“Greater independence from foreign oil, job creation, a cleaner environment, and a much-needed shot of economic growth is just the beginning of what hydraulic fracturing has meant to us in recent years, yet many think of fracking as the new dirty word, associated only with corporate greed,” said Kozera, an expert in domestic energy and author of Just the Fracks, Ma’am.

“I want to replace the unfounded fears people have about fracking with facts. This is simply too important an issue for so many people to make decisions based on misinformation.”

Kozera, who has worked on every aspect of the process as a veteran in the oil and gas industry, debunks the five biggest myths that are hobbling honest debate in the United States.

•Myth No. 1: Fracking is a drilling technique. Actually, it’s a method to improve oil and gas production from a well after it’s drilled. From there, the well is evaluated and the geology is reviewed. Production from the well -- if there’s any -- is monitored with an electric evaluation log that’s run on most vertical wells and is used to help decide if and how a well should be fracked. After the evaluation is complete, then and only then is the decision made to frack a well and how it should be done.

•Myth No. 2: Fracking is new. Fracking is nothing new; in 1947, the oil and gas industry discovered the method as a way of improving production in the country’s oil wells. In fact, more than 90 percent of the wells drilled in the United States have required fracking for gas and oil, he said.

“Without fracturing, we would have no significant domestic oil industry and we’d have to rely on imports for nearly 100 percent for our fuel and transportation,” said Kozera. “If this ever happens, you will think gas at $4 per gallon is cheap!”

•Myth No. 3: Fracking is explosive. The original way that wells were stimulated, going back into the 1800s, involved a process known as “shooting,” wherein explosives were lowered into the well and set off, causing an explosion down the hole that would create a small cavern. Shooting was dangerous, involving a horse-drawn wagon filled with nitroglycerin, which can be very unstable. Hydraulic fracturing replaced shooting because it is safer and far more effective. Fracking is not explosive.

•Myth No. 4: Fracking causes earthquakes. According to the United States Geological Survey, the U.S. averages more than 1.3 million earthquakes exceeding a magnitude of 2.0 annually based on data gathered from 1900 to 1999. Remember, fracking didn’t begin until 1947. Earthquakes are very common and have occurred within Earth’s crust for as long as there has been a crust.

•Myth No. 5: Fracking contaminates groundwater. This is a major concern of the public -- and understandably so! Clean drinking water is critical to life. However, if fracking contaminates drinking water, it would have done so long before now.

We simply cannot frack up thousands of feet through solid rock. We know that rock is porous and fracturing fluids leak off into the rock and naturally induced fractures. As fluid leaks off, however, the fracture eventually quits growing in height and length, and ultimately does not reach our water sources.

Greg Kozera is an engineer with a master’s degree in environmental engineering and an environmentalist with more than 35 years of experience in the natural gas and oil industry.
 

Your Opinions and Comments

 
No Nonsense  
USA  
September 18, 2014 10:09pm
 
Bob; you are one of the dunces.

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
September 18, 2014 9:48am
 
New Guy and MyOpinion Quick to discount any studies by groups associated with the industry and not a bit hesitant to defend against conservative groups who were right all along. A bit of hypocrisy???????????????????

 
Chief Noetall  
Wise, Texas  
September 17, 2014 9:12pm
 
New Guy and MyOpinion.. I am puzzled at your silence regarding an Obama administration department (DOE) study that discounts one of your treasured concepts that fracking causes the fresh groundwater to be polluted. Remember, ... More ›

 
Bob Pritts  
St Hedwig, TX  
September 17, 2014 10:06am
 
No Nonsense, Regarding the spelling of 'fracking' ... "The fact that some journalists couldn't figure out how to spell it and you claim 'it's widely accepted' illustrates my point. 'Widely accepted' by whom? ... More ›

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
September 16, 2014 8:31pm
 
No Nonsense.... You say Bos Taurus, I say cattle. :-)

 
No Nonsense  
USA  
September 16, 2014 7:31pm
 
Fo sho, Grouch. Guess us dum ol peeps ain't no wats goin on in da language dees dayz ya no? I'll stick to the scientific facts and nomenclature.

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
September 16, 2014 7:27pm
 
Yeah, everybody knows that language does not evolve and dictionaries never grow in size. Ma'am, what were you thinking ? :-)

 
No Nonsense  
USA  
September 16, 2014 6:51pm
 
Elaine, I hate to break it to you ma'am, but that is why educated people no longer take the media as fact. We read the stories for entertainment. The fact that some dumb journalists couldn't figure out how to spell it but ... More ›

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
September 4, 2014 5:20am
 
Facts only please .... Would 'credible' be a more precise term to use ? :-) It might avoid the confusion about Greg being 'worthy of commercial credit'. LOL

 
Facts only please  
TX  
September 3, 2014 10:39pm
 
Greg should use the proper terms if he wants to be creditable.

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