With all the talk about fracking and the environment, I thought it wise to learn the facts. When geologist Gary Penley posted this informative discussion of what is and what isn’t good about fracking for oil, I shared it, here:
This may sound controversial to some folks, but it shouldn’t. Purpose is to debunk one of the biggest hoaxes the American public has ever pulled on itself—oil well fracturing, or “Fracking.”
First, because fracking has recently become newsy for some reason, many think it to be some sort of realtively new procedure. Not so. Oil well fracking has been around for at least a hundred years, probably more.
OK—popular belief—fracking is a bad, bad thing. Why? How many have any idea why fracking is currently receiving such a bad rap? Here’s why. The fear that fracturing oil reservoirs will contaminate overlying fresh water aquifers. How? The fractures in the reservoir rock, it is feared, will reach up into the shallower fresh water supplies. A theoretical concept, but one that does not, and cannot, happen. It is in fact, impossible.
Fresh water aquifers occur mostly at depths of five hundred feet or less—never deeper than one thousand feet. Oil reservoirs occur at depths of five thousand feet or more. (Five thousand is actually very shallow for oil. Most occur at ten thousand, fifteen thousand, and twenty thousand feet.)
So, we have oil lying at five thousand feet—usually much deeper—with the overlying fresh water perched way up there at five hundred feet or less. Pressure-induced fractures reach only about one to three hundred above the oil reservoirs, not even close to encountering the water.
Companies are required by law to set protective casing over the fresh water—a needless regulation because of pressure differences. It is impossible to leave the low-pressure water exposed while drilling deeper to the high-pressure oil. If you tried it, you would lose the well long before the oil was ever reached. (The deeper oil is always higher pressure than the shallower water—an incontrovertible Mother Nature thing.)
Because of the underground fluid relationships, fracking has never caused a single fresh water aquifer to be compromised. NEVER, EVER—not once. California, which has thousands upon thousands of oil wells, most of which have been fracked, recently voted to outlaw the practice altogether—a law that will cause wells to be less productive, and many to not even be drilled. The move will cost the naïve Californians greatly, but they will now be safe from the terrible menace—fracking. They might as well have outlawed wrestling with wild rhinos, a menace that ranks right up there with fracking.
Guest Post By Gary Penley