Open letter to the members of the 31st Dáil Éireann. Hydraulic Shale Gas Fracturing - Tamboran's claims - Chemicals involved in the fracking procedure



Dear Taoiseach,
Dear Tanaiste,
Dear Ministers,
Dear members of the 31st Dáil Éireann,


In my last letter to you I discussed Tamboran's claim that almost as much gas could be recovered from the Lough Allen Basin as from the 8 times larger Barnett Shale in Texas, US. Please take a look again at my updated article, Leitrim has $55bn gas reserves, Tamboran claims. I like to point out that there is also a difference between proven resource and what is actually viably recoverable as explained in Aeberman's survey, A Perspective on Future U.S. Natural Gas Supply and Price.


Today I want to discuss the chemicals involved in the fracking process and what compounds are released into the environment


We can read that Fracturing natural gas wells requires hundreds of tons of chemical liquids and a study that Fracking Chemicals Are Killing And Neutering Pets And Farm Animals and much more. We can also watch a documentary called Gasland which won seven awards and got nominated for two more awards [*]. The petroleum industry has constantly been trying to discredit this documentary of Josh Fox. Please read Affirming Gasland which I also have attached, and watch the interview below.

Watch video on YouTube


Now, surprisingly, a week ago, Tamboran CEO, Mr Richard Moorman contacted me by email. So I could ask him which chemicals would be used in the fracking process. Here an excerpt of his reply:
"we have repeatedly stated that we will not be utilising any chemicals in hydraulic fracturing. We made that commitment in August following completion of our initial hydraulic fracturing design.

Chemicals do not fracture the rock, so eliminating them is primarily a cost decision, but worth making to address people's concerns about chemicals. Only fluid pressure can crack rock, and thus many variations of fracturing exist. Hydraulic fracturing has proven to be most efficient in very compacted rock formations such as shales. Nearly all of the over 20,000 natural gas wells that were hydraulically fractured worldwide in the past year would have been done via hydraulic fracturing.

In North America, chemical additives account for 0.14% to 0.5% of total fracturing fluid (about 95% water with the balance as sand). While each project is unique due to different rock composition, most companies utilise 5 main chemical additives:
 
1. Friction reducer
2. Biocide
3. Anti-corrosive
4. Sequestration
5. Hydrochloric acid

Firstly, in a shallow shale (1,000m average) such as the Bundoran shale in Ireland, friction losses will be minimal. We anticipate only about 200 psi higher injection pressure, which will cost a little more but not unreasonably so. In a deep project (2,000m to 5,000m), as with most US and Polish shales, friction reducer is essential.

Secondly, biocide is needed to clean water of bacteria. We will circulate and keep clean the water at surface so that no chemical is injected into a wellbore.

Thirdly, anti-corrosive is only used to prevent corrosion in temporary metal tanks used to hold water, common to single well operations in the US. Our multi-well pad will have rubber-lined tanks to eliminate this chemical. We will then be able to re-use all of this recovered water to reduce water needs by an estimated 25%.

Fourthly, sequestration additives keep solid minerals from scaling and plugging up the reservoir. The Bundoran shale is as similarly clean as the Fayetteville shale in Arkansas, so only minimal minerals are present and thus we can do without these additives. This is not possible in some US shales due to high mineral content.

Fifthly, acid is occasionally used by companies to clean up perforations made by shaped explosive charges in order to open holes in the steel pipe to allow hydraulic fracturing volumes to enter the rock. We have completely eliminated explosive charges from the process and will utilise water jetting to create small conduits in the rock through which we can inject water and sand to initiate hairline cracks in the rock to free up natural gas. This also reduces injection pressure."

Mr Moorman pointed out that this involves solely the fracturing itself, not the drilling. So I asked him which chemicals would be used for the drilling process. Unfortunately Mr Moorman has not answered this question until present day.

As I'm not an expert on this subject I forwarded Richard Moorman's claims to several authorities who are capable of formidable expertise in this area. My questions were simple and always the same:
1) Is such modus operandi actually feasible?

2) Are Tamboran's claims realistic?

3) What other chemicals are brought to surface due to fracking?

All replies I got produce the consensus that this 'chemical-free' fracking has never been done before. But here some remarkable answers I got:


Rob Jackson, Department of Biology and Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University:
"A lack of chemical in fracturing fluids does not mean that issues with waste water vanish.  I haven't worked in your specific area, but produced waters are usually briny (often much saltier than sea water) and can contain low-level radioactivity and other elements that pose a potential health hazard, such as arsenic and barium.  They must be properly disposed and kept from reaching surface waters or people's drinking water."

A. R. Ingraffea, Ph.D., P.E., Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering, Weiss Presidential Teaching Fellow, Cornell University:
"Please see my responses in UPPER CASE BELOW, EMBEDDED WITHIN YOUR EMAIL TO ME, AND MOORMAN'S EMAIL TO YOU.

Is such modus operandi actually feasible?  NO.

Are Tamboran's claims realistic? NO

What other chemicals are brought to surface due to fracking? WHATEVER HAS BEEN SAFELY STORED IN THE SHALE FORMATION, AND IN OTHER FORMATIONS THROUGH WHICH FRAC FLUIDS AND  HYDROCARBONS MIGHT ESCAPE DUE TO FAULTY WELL STRUCTURE, FOR 100'S OF MILLIONS OF YEARS: TYPICALLY SALTS, HEAVY METALS, NATURALLY OCCURRING RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS.

Chemicals do not fracture the rock, so eliminating them is primarily a cost decision, but worth making to address people's concerns about chemicals. Only fluid pressure can crack rock, and thus many variations of fracturing exist. Hydraulic fracturing has proven to be most efficient in very compacted rock formations such as shales. Nearly all of the over 20,000 natural gas wells that were hydraulically fractured worldwide in the past year would have been done via hydraulic fracturing.

WELL, YES, WELLS THAT WERE "hydraulically fractured" WOULD HAVE HAD TO " have been done via hydraulic fracturing".  THIS IS A NONSENSICAL STATEMENT.

Firstly, in a shallow shale (1,000m average) such as the Bundoran shale in Ireland, friction losses will be minimal.

DECEPTIVE ANSWER. IT IS NOT THE VERTICAL DEPTH THAT CONTROLS THE NEED FOR FRICTION REDUCER, IT IS TOTAL DEPTH (VERTICAL PLUS HORIZONTAL), AND DESIRED VOLUME AND RATE OF FRAC FLUID INJECTION. 

We anticipate only about 200 psi higher injection pressure, which will cost a little more but not unreasonably so.

DECEPTIVE ANSWER. ANTICIPATION MEANS "WE WILL TRY THIS AND SEE IF IT WORKS.  IF NOT, WELL, WE MIGHT HAVE TO ADD A WEE TEENSY BIT O' FRICTION REDUCER".  IN OTHER WORDS, THEY WILL EXPERIMENT WITH THIS CHEMICAL AND HOPE FOR THE BEST.PLEASE ASK FOR THE WELL NAME/LOCATION OF ALL HIGH VOLUME SHALE GAS WELLS IN THE WORLD THAT HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFULLY FRACED USING ONLY WATER. 

 In a deep project (2,000m to 5,000m), as with most US and Polish shales, friction reducer is essential.

DECEPTIVE ANSWER. MOST US HIGH VOLUME SHALE GAS WELLS ARE 2000-2500 METERS VERTICAL DEPTH. BUT REMEMBER, IT IS TOTAL WELL LENGTH THAT IS IMPORTANT.

Secondly, biocide is needed to clean water of bacteria. We will circulate and keep clean the water at surface so that no chemical is injected into a wellbore.

DECEPTIVE ANSWER. A MIRACLE OF MODERN MEDICINE! HOW TO "KEEP CLEAN" WATER ON A DRILLING WELL PAD? COMES IN BY DIRTY TRUCK, GETS STORED IN AN OPEN PIT OR DIRTY TANKS, GETS PUMPED THROUGH DIRTY PUMPS, VALVES, PIPELINES, UNDERGROUND WHERE BACTERIA ALREADY LIVE.  ASK FOR SPECIFIC INFORMATION ON HOW TO STERILIZE UP TO 20,000,000 LITERS OF WATER PER WELL. 

Thirdly, anti-corrosive is only used to prevent corrosion in temporary metal tanks used to hold water, common to single well operations in the US. Our multi-well pad will have rubber-lined tanks to eliminate this chemical. We will then be able to re-use all of this recovered water to reduce water needs by an estimated 25%.

DECEPTIVE ANSWER.  TOTALLY INCORRECT DESCRIPTION OF U.S. PRACTICE AND WHY ANTI-CORROSIVE IS NEEDED.  IT IS NEEDED TO PROTECT ALL STEEL COMPONENTS, CASINGS, VALVES, FITTINGS, PIPELINES, NOT JUST STEEL STORAGE TANKS USED TO "HOLD WATER", EVERYTHING EXPOSED TO FRAC FLUID GOING IN AND FRAC FLOWBACK COMING BACK OUT.  HIS TANKS WILL NOT BE "used to hold water", THEY WILL BE HOLDING FRAC FLOWBACK WHICH IS NOT WATER, IT IS FRAC FLOWBACK, HIGHLY SALINE.   MULTI-WELL PADS, WITH 8 OR MORE WELLS PER PAD ARE NOW COMMON PRACTICE IN THE U.S. ON SHALE PLAYS. ASK HIM HOW MANY WELLS PER PAD HE INTENDS, HOW MANY PADS, PAD SPACING, GATHERING LINE DESIGN, GAS PROCESSING PLANT LOCATIONS AND EQUIPMENT, COMPRESSOR STATION DESIGNS, EQUIPMENT, LOCATIONS.  ASK HIM WHAT EQUIPMENT AND PHYSICAL/CHEMICAL PROCESS(ES) HE WILL USE TO RECYCLE/REUSE FRAC FLOWBACK.

Fourthly, sequestration additives keep solid minerals from scaling and plugging up the reservoir. The Bundoran shale is as similarly clean as the Fayetteville shale in Arkansas, so only minimal minerals are present and thus we can do without these additives. This is not possible in some US shales due to high mineral content.

DECEPTIVE ANSWER.  NEVER HEARD ANTI-SCALING CHEMICALS CALLED "SEQUESTRATION":MAKE THEM SOUND GREEN!  AGAIN, HIS ANSWER IS ANTICIPATORY, NOT CONCLUSIVE BY EXPERIENCE. HE HAS NO WAY OF KNOWING WHAT MINERALS OR THEIR PRECIPITATION AND ATTACHMENT RATES HE WILL ENCOUNTER OVER THOUSANDS OF METERS OF HORIZONTAL LEGS IN MANY WELLS.  HE HAS SKETCHY DATA FROM ONE LOCATION IN AN ENTIRE SHALE FORMATION.  ONE BIG LESSON OPERATORS IN THE U.S. ARE LEARNING IS THAT OF NON-UNIFORMITY OVER A SHALE FORMATION, OF EVERYTHING, INCLUDING MINERAL CONTENT.

Fifthly, acid is occasionally used by companies to clean up perforations made by shaped explosive charges in order to open holes in the steel pipe to allow hydraulic fracturing volumes to enter the rock. We have completely eliminated explosive charges from the process and will utilise water jetting to create small conduits in the rock through which we can inject water and sand to initiate hairline cracks in the rock to free up natural gas. This also reduces injection pressure.

HUH? HE MAKE USE OF PERF CHARGES SOUND LIKE A WORLD WAR.  IT IS ABSOLUTELY STANDARD PRACTICE THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, AND USING ANOTHER TECHNIQUE FOR PERFORATING DOES NOT ELIMINATE THE NEED FOR AN ACID.  IT IS STILL NEEDED TO CLEAN OUT PERFORATIONS CRUSHED ROCK, CEMENT (HE IS GOING TO CEMENT HIS LATERALS, IS HE NOT?) AND CASING DEBRIS, EVEN IF THEY ARE WATER-JETTED (ASK HIM WHERE THAT IS BEING DONE IN LONG LATERAL, MULTI-STAGE FRAC JOBS IN SHALES.  OR IS THIS ANOTHER
"LET'S EXPERIMENT IN IRELAND THING"?). 

All of these approaches are in use in various ways by operators in North America after their wells are drilled. Tamboran is undertaking to bring the best practices together in one approach in all of our operations. We have a comprehensive environmental impact assessment ahead of us before we can seek to drill exploration wells, and extensive planning requests and public consultations, so we do not have our own operations as of yet. We expect to begin drilling in Australia later this year.

BEWARE.  WILL THIS COMPANY STILL BE AROUND WHEN SOMETHING GOES BADLY WRONG?  DO YOU REALLY WANT TO DO BUSINESS WITH THE NEW GUY ON THE BLOCK?  WHEN SEEKING A DOCTOR FOR A SERIOUS MEDICAL PROCEDURE, ONE IS WELL ADVISED TO USE ONE WITH HUNDREDS OR THOUSANDS OF PREVIOUS OPERATIONS, NOT ONE THAT SAYS: "HEY, YOU WILL BE THE VERY FIRST TO EXPERIENCE OUR NEW PROCEDURE".  NOT UNLESS DEATH IS YOUR ONLY OTHER CHOICE.  IN IRELAND'S CASE, LIFE IS YOUR OTHER CHOICE, AS IN "DON'T GIVE ME AN ILLNESS/INJURY FOR WHICH I NEED YOUR SERVICE".

Richard A. Liroff, Ph.D., Executive Director, Investor Environmental Health Network, Falls Church:
"I first saw this claim last year and so I asked an acquaintance of mine in the energy industry what he thought of it.  Here’s his reply:
1. Cutting out the friction reducer means lower rates or much higher cost for the larger pipe, longer drilling time for more wells rather than less wells, higher air emissions from more horsepower.  If they just reduce rates, they will find their shale wells will not be as productive. Hence their economics will be more risky.

2. If you drop biocides, you have to treat all water at the surface with UV or other quick kill and no residual materials. This will require larger storage of saline water if they use it (and more opportunity for spills and leaks) and will drive them away from water recycling (high salinity and very high bacteria possibilities that cannot be treated easily with UV). Since sulfate reducing bacteria (SRBs) and other souring and acid forming bacteria are ubiquitous and resistant to complete kills by UV and other no-chemical controls, then there is a higher than normal likelihood that the reservoir could be changed from sweet to sour (H2S) and that biological corrosion will be a major factor in later life of the well. This raises later risks.

3. Without chemicals, there are no effective ways to prevent water borne scales like calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate and barium sulfate.  Remember that some of these chemicals help prevent problems with mixtures of the frac and formation waters.      NORM (Naturally occurring radioactive materials) scale is one of these problems that are easily prevented with non-toxic scale-prevention chemicals at 10 to 25 ppm concentrations.
I am aware that there is a firm that has proposed using propane for fracking, but this raises questions about handling this explosive material. Perhaps this is what Tamboran has in mind. Certainly Tamboran should be pressed for details. See: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/22/us-shale-propane-idUSTRE7AL1ML20111122

As for your question about the chemicals that come up in the “produced water”. They will vary, but certainly they are extremely salty and they may contain naturally occurring toxic organic chemicals like benzene.

...

And here’s an analysis by Duke University of inorganic materials in Marcellus Shale produced water. You’ll see the salt content is quite high, as I’d mentioned to you before.  http://www.greatenergychallengeblog.com/blog/2011/09/20/three-faces-of-fracking-water/"

Robert Oswald, Department of Molecular Medicine, Cornell University:
"First, at least in the Marcellus shale, the substances liberated from the shale can be as toxic or more toxic than the hydraulic fracturing fluid. So even if only water and sand are used for fracturing, they may still end up with a lot of toxic material on the surface. It does not go away if they recycle. Recycling just decreases the amount of water used. They still have to dispose of the heavy metals and radioactivity. Volatile organics will vent at least in part to the atmosphere.  The other issue is the depth of the formation relative to your aquifer. We are told that they are so far below the aquifer in the Marcellus shale, there cannot possibly be a problem. This is, of course, nonsense, but shallow drilling brings up the problem of a high likelihood of the fractures communicating with the aquifer. Industry publications suggests that fractures can be up to 600 meters or so (most are much smaller). I am told that drilling in our area probably won't occur when the shale is 700 meters or shallower for safety reasons.  Finally, I have have been told by at least two people who spent many years in the industry that no matter how good the casing is, channels can form on the outside of the well and methane can migrate to aquifers. A recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, suggested that this is fairly common, and the former industry people tell me that that is their experience as well. One final question that might be good to ask them relates to the fact that they have not drilled any wells yet. Are they going to stick to the promise of not using any hydraulic fracturing chemicals if they find they have problems with just water and sand? Are they even going to tell anyone if they change their mind? These are things that should be written into regulations and rigorously enforced."
Mr Oswald also sent me the peer-reviewed study, Methane contamination of drinking water accompanying gas-well drilling and hydraulic fracturing by Stephen G. Osborn et al, which I attached. This study comes to the conclusion:
"Methane concentrations were detected generally in 51 of 60 drinking-water wells (85%) across the region, regardless of gas industry operations, but concentrations were substantially higher closer to natural-gas wells. Methane concentrations were 17-times higher on average (19.2 mg CH4 L−1) in shallow wells from active drilling and extraction areas than in wells from nonactive areas."
And he forwarded me an article of The American Oil and Gas Reporter, Data Confirm Safety Of Well Fracturing (attached) with the note:
"The enclosed article might be of some use to you. Have a look at Figure 1 and then displace the lower curve up to 1000m. The process no longer looks as safe as they are trying to portray."

Lou Allstadt, Executive Vice President of Mobile Oil Corporation responsible for exploration and production in the US, Canada and Latin America. Previously, he headed Mobil's worldwide supply, trading and transportation operations. He is a member of the US Oil and Gas Association:
"The claims of fracking without chemicals make no sense. Also, the comment about "200 psi higher injection pressure" is not clear. Higher than what? Typical fracking pressures are very very roughly 1psi per foot of depth or 3psi per meter of depth. I would be particularly concerned about drilling, fracking and producing gas at shallow depths of 1000 meter as mentioned. There is US industry and Environmental Protection Agency data indicating fracks extending well outside their target zones. Even if fracking fluid does not reach a drinking water aquifer there is a greater likely hood of methane migrating to aquifers from shallow wells. The fracking process, even if it could be done with no chemicals will bring up whatever chemicals are in the target zone that is fracked. In the US shale areas along with brine these include, heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, barium, etc. as well as radioactive material that typically occurs in shales (the shale layers are identifiable by their radioactivity).

There have been many unrealistic promises from drillers in the US. This seems to fit the pattern-a lot of talk about huge reserves, clean energy, jobs, and only water and sand. When you dig into the claims, the huge reserves turn out to be far overstated, the total environmental impact matches other fossil fuels, most of the jobs are temporary and go to migrant specialists, and it turns out that a number of toxic chemicals are needed in the process. In addition, the rapid heavy industrialization that ensues, has some very serious socioeconomic impacts on local communities.

These comments are based on 31 years in the industry including running all of the western hemisphere exploration and producing for one of the major international oil and gas companies."


A Case History of Tracking Water Movement Through Fracture Systems in the Barnett Shale published by the US EPA comes to following conclusion:
"Even with the tools available to perform fracture diagnostics operators are still faced with challenges that are difficult to predict. As well density increases it becomes increasingly probable that wells will communicate either through previously created fractures or through adjacent wellbores and then into previously created fractures."


The regulator in British Columbia, Canada, puts out fracking safety advisory where we can read the industry admitting:
"Fracture propagation via large scale hydraulic fracturing operations has proven difficult to predict. Existing planes of weakness in target formations may result in fracture lengths that exceed initial design expectations."


One might think that Germany is one of the countries with tough regulations. Now the first German public channel, ARD, publishes a report that in the gas fields of northern Germany, formation fluid is carried via a network of underground pipes to a disposal reservoir. It's a closed loop system. In spite of that, an alleged cancer cluster in the rural communities located above these pipelines prompted soil testing which found impressively high levels of benzene. The pipes are made of heavy duty plastic and do not appear to be corroding or leaking. The tentative explanation is that benzene and other hydrocarbons are actually diffusing through the plastic pipe itself. It's possible that industry had prior knowledge that these plastic materials allow for the diffusion of lightweight hydrocarbons, and that revelation is now part of the scandal. Here below is the English-subtitled video.

Watch video on YouTube


TEDX (The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Inc.) comes to these conclusions in the US:
"As natural gas production rapidly increases across the U.S., its associated pollution has reached the stage where it is contaminating essential life support systems - water, air, and soil - and causing harm to the health of humans, wildlife, domestic animals, and vegetation. This project was designed to explore the health effects of products and chemicals used in drilling, fracturing (frac'ing, or stimulation), recovery and delivery of natural gas. It provides a glimpse at the pattern(s) of possible health hazards posed by the chemicals being used. There are hundreds of products in current use, the components of which are, in many cases, unavailable for public scrutiny and for which we have information only on a small percentage.

Toxic chemicals are used at every stage of development to reach and release the gas. Drilling muds, a combination of toxic and non-toxic substances, are used to drill the well. To facilitate the release of natural gas after drilling, approximately a million or more gallons of fluids, loaded with toxic chemicals, are injected underground under high pressure. This process, called fracturing (fracking or stimulation), uses diesel-powered heavy equipment that runs continuously during the operation. One well can be fracked 10 or more times and there can be up to 28 wells on one well pad. An estimated 30% to 70% of the frac'ing fluid will resurface, bringing back with it toxic substances that are naturally present in underground oil and gas deposits, as well as the chemicals used in the frac'ing fluid. Under some circumstances, nothing is recovered.

Drilling or reserve pits are found on most well pads. They hold used drilling muds, frac'ing fluids and the contaminated water (produced water) which surfaces with the gas. Produced water is found in most regions where gas is extracted and continues to surface for the life of the well (20 to 30 years). It is a common practice to haul it in "water trucks" to large, central evaporation pits. Many of the chemicals found in drilling and evaporation pits are considered hazardous wastes by the Superfund Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). Upon closure, every pit has the potential to become a superfund site."
Watch video on YouTube

Conclusions

Not only does Tamboran vastly exaggerate the recoverable gas reserves in the Lough Allen Basin, they are also fallaciously playing down risks in connection with chemicals which are inevitably released at the fracking procedure and which are likely to cause catastrophic harm to environment and livelihood. Tamboran can obviously neither provide any former project which would show reputable and responsible handling of hydraulic shale gas fracturing, nor can they produce any former project where fracking would have been done without any chemicals.

Many toxic, carcinogenic and radioactive chemicals are bound in the shale which are being released due to the fracking process. Some of these chemicals are so volatile that they cannot be handled safely. Groundwater contaminations are an inevitable result of hydraulic shale gas fracturing, appearing in many countries, at countless locations. As groundwaters are subterraneously connected, fracking poses a threat to very wide areas. These impacts are not locally and not narrowed.

Aquifers Ireland
(Source: Queen's University Belfast)

The risks involving fracking vastly outbalance any expectable benefits this technology could generate for the Irish people.


Recommendations

The EU Parliament study, Impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction on the environment and on human heath, comes to the following conclusion:
"Even an aggressive development of gas shales in Europe could only contribute to the European gas supplies at one-digit percentage share at best. It will not reverse the continuing trend of declining domestic production and rising import dependency. Its influence on the European greenhouse gas emissions will remain small if not negligible, or could even be negative if other more promising projects are skipped due to wrong incentives and signals."
A moratorium on any hydraulic shale gas fracturing exploration should be implemented immediately in Ireland.

As we cannot expect that Tamboran will deliver any adequate and reliable prognoses, this company should not be granted any further permission to explore for shale gas drilling.

The unanimous decision of  five County Councils and several Town Councils to call for a ban on fracking shall no more be ignored by the Irish government, in particular by the ministers in charge (=> Open letter to Minister Pat Rabbitte concerning hydraulic gas fracturing ("fracking") in Ireland and FRACKING ROW: COUNCIL HAS NO POWER TO BAN IT).


Thank you very much for your attention.

Kindest regards,

Charlie Williams

14 February 2012




Update 3/4/2012:  I found an interview of the Irish Times with Richard Moorman, CEO of Tamboran, in which he states that Tamboran would use chemials for the fracking process. He also states much smaller figures for recoverable gas than Tamboran's claim in their press release this February. (Download this interview)



A new study confirms again that the industry is telling anything but the truth about the impacts of hydraulic shale gas fracturing.

Study Rebuts Industry Stance That Frack Fluids Can’t Taint Water

Bloomberg News, 3 May 2012

Chemically treated drilling fluid can migrate through thousands of feet of rock and endanger water supplies, said a hydrologist whose research calls into question the safety of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

The fluids can migrate faster that previously thought, Tom Myers, a Reno, Nevada, researcher, said Wednesday. His study, published in the online journal "Ground Water" on April 17, says fluids can reach shallow drinking-water aquifers in as little as three years.

"If contaminants reach natural fractures under pressure, the upward flow has the potential to be enhanced greatly," said Myers, an independent consultant who has worked for conservation groups and governments. "It can flow upward if there’s a pathway and unless it’s completely impermeable, there’s always a pathway. It’s just a question of how long it takes."

=> Potential Contaminant Pathways from Hydraulically Fractured Shale to Aquifers

The whole study is available at scribd.com



Also => Visual Impact - Correspondence between Richard Moorman and Eddie Mitchell in May 2012 (PDF)