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US study finds no connection between fracking and water pollution

Oilfield Technology,

The preliminary results of a study conducted by the US Department of Energy (DOE) have shown no evidence of water pollution caused by chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.

One of the main concerns raised over the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing is that the chemical-laced water used in the process will ultimately contaminate drinking water supplies. There are also concerns that methane gas could rise through fissures and find its way into aquifers.

After monitoring the activities of an unnamed oil company operating in Pennsylvania for a year, the DOE found that, so far, water aquifers have remained unpolluted.

In this test, the water aquifers were situated 500 – 1000 ft below the surface, while fracking operations were conducted at depths of 8000 ft. Monitoring stations, established approximately 3000 ft above the fracking sites, were unable to detect any of the (specially tagged) chemicals used, indicating that there had been no chemical migration.

Although the news is sure to come as a boon to the unconventional gas industry, which has become a frequent target of criticism over the environmental impact of its activities, the tests have yet to be concluded. According to a statement from the laboratory involved in analysing the results, they are still in the “early stages of collecting, analysing and validating data.” A spokesperson for the National Energy Technology Laboratory said that it was “far too preliminary to make any firm claims.”

The investigation, which is now also targeting older, shallower wells, could be completed by the end of this year.




Edited from various sources by David Bizley

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