Horizontal Hydrofracking of Shale in New York

Separating Fracks from Fiction

James ³Chip´ Northrup Cooperstown & Texas

Meet the Frackers . . . 


Not your usual well Massive heavy truck traffic Massive drilling pressures Massive wastewater 21st century technology Managed with 20th century NY state regulations

Fracking 101: Shale is Located  

Seismic is shot to determine the depth and thickness of the shale formation Once shale formation is identified, no more seismic is usually shot in Texas. . .

Fracking 101: The Well is Drilled  

Well drilled into shale formation Shale is tested to determine whether it is economic to produce gas

Fracking 101: Let the Fracking Begin   

A lateral (horizontal) section is drilled into the shale formation The lateral is used to inject water under high pressure to break up the shale in order to release the gas Frack generates flowback wastewater from well

Fracking 101: The Economics 

Shale gas marginally economic

Creative accounting + creative reserve estimates 


Steep production decline curves Costly search over wide area for ³hot spots´ A fraction of the wells will be profitable Life cycle impacts rarely considered

Fracking 101: Economics in New York 


Property values will go down for many Most won¶t directly benefit

Small fraction own usable mineral rights

No direct tax revenue from gas production No infrastructure, no waste disposal wells Gas producers avoid NYS income tax Drilling crews highly trained - not locals Taxpayers left with clean-up bill

Fracking 101: Abandoned Wells
Be Prepared with Rules and Regulations Upfront 


Road use agreements in place Clean-up bonds posted prior to Land use statutes in place Tax gas at the wellhead Protect sensitive areas from exploration Signing bonuses in tax appraisals Or get stuck with the clean up bill

What¶s the Hurry? Safety FIRST   

³We need the money/jobs´ ± When did we not need them ? Landowners sold too much ± all their mineral rights ± for too little ± before the rules are in place Many drillers are speculators ± Canadian penny stock companies
Copyright © 2009 FIREHOW LLC

³It¶ll be just like Texas´
Shale gas fracking was developed in Texas

Frack wastewater disposal wells: Environmental agency:

12,000 does not issue well permits flat and semi-arid

New York
none DEC issues well permits neither flat nor arid


Water wells:

deep > 1000¶

shallow <300¶

New York Is Not Texas
no trout streams in Texas . . . . . .

Lakes owned by municipalities taxes gas production directly faults don¶t move rarely enforced

New York
owned by NYS except NYC no tax on gas production some faults move DEC compels non-consenters into wells

Revenues Seismically Compulsory integration

Just How unPrepared is New York ? 


EPA criticized the proposed regulations Regs. are so flawed New York City got a carve out New York shale loaded with radium No place to put toxic radioactive flowback from wells New York gets no direct tax revenue from gas production Road use agreements not in place No zoning controls over well locations Etc., etc., etc.

Problems of Shale Gas 


Massive amounts of truck traffic Spills and drilling blowouts pollute groundwater Frack wastewater must be disposed of


Marginal direct economics Problematic indirect economics

A Lot of Fracking Traffic 


1,200 tankers per well 6 wells per site 7,200 trips Sites exempt from zoning No road use agreements Counties have no funds

Frack Truck Solutions 

Local zoning should control well location Road use agreements in place
± ± ±

Usage fees to counties Routes established Insurance and bonds in place 

State should tax gas production at wellhead Full value of lease in property valuations

What Does this Look Like to a Duck ?
Containment of Fluids Onsite

2009-2010 Copyright Rodale.

© 2010 HVPA

Most Pollution is at the Surface 


Pa. DEP fined Cabot on half of their 62 Dimock wells Over a third of the wells were cited for surface spills Pa. has cited over 1,500 violations in shale wells

Containment of Fracking Fluids 


Open pits overflow - polluting groundwater Open pits pollute the air Nets don¶t work

Bird caught in net, bird dies

Solutions :  No open pits  No drilling sites on steep slopes > 15 degrees

A Fracking Good Cocktail 


propargyl alcohol glutaraldehyde hydrochloric acid dibromoacetonitrile butoxyethanol ethylene glycol And Mystery Ingredients

Fracking Fluid Problems 


Toxic and carcinogenic Gets into groundwater via spills New York water wells shallow and vulnerable Locals depend on well water

Fracking Fluid Solutions 


Non-toxic fracking fluids Test wells before fracking begins and after No fracking within 1000¶ feet of a water well State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR)
± ±

in watersheds of sole source drinking water lakes In floodplains

Fracking as Explosive as a Bomb  

Atomic bomb used to frack a gas formation in µ69 Frack worked but gas too radioactive to sell So Halliburton develops horizontal hydrofracking

«because atomic bombs didn¶t work

Horizontal Hydrofracking of Shale = Extraordinary Amounts of Water 

One well = 5 million gals 8 per pad site = 40 M gal 5 fracks per well = 200 M gals For every one mile drilling site Thousands of truck trips 


Casing Failures 



Gulf well blew at 80% shale frack pressure Casing buckles due to shifts in faulting, heat or pressure Casing corrodes Casing set in haste Cemented in haste

Casing Failures

When a Cement Job Failed«

‡ Crew got killed ‡ Water polluted ‡ Company denials ‡ Taxpayers clean up

How to Make Flammable Tap Water
First start with a shallow water well, like in New York« 

Surface casing leaks gas Gas channels up the casing Frack cracks the casing Faulting shears the casing Casing corrodes over time Frack goes ³out of zone´ Pick one or more of the above
± ± ±

Turn on water Light Stand back

Safer Fracking 


Treat it like an underground explosion Highest standards on surface casing Post bonds to clean up spills Frack doped with a tracer to identify

It¶s What Comes Back From the Frack
Inject hazardous fracking fluids into ground + 10,000 psi pressure @ 200+ degrees + radium leached from the shale = fracking flowback wastewater 1,000,000 gallons per well 8,000,000 gallons per site
The DEC classifies fracking fluids as ³Hazardous waste´ «but classifies the fracking flowback as ³Industrial waste´

Radium From Fracking Flowback 

Marie Curie discovered radium

And it killed her . . . 

Frack fluids leach it from shale The Marcellus is loaded with it
± ±

267 over the safe limit no place to dispose of it in NY

Fracking Wastewater Contents 

Radium 226 in the Marcellus Hydrochloric acid frack fluid Methanol in frack Glutaraldehyde Propylene glycol Propargyl alcohol Dissolved solids and suspended solids Hydrogen sulfide, propane, butane, ethane All of the above + heat + pressure = ??

Radon = Propane¶s Evil Twin 


Marcellus is also loaded with radon The 2nd leading cause of lung cancer Similar weight and flash point as propane Take propane from gas, radon can tag along Workers at risk, CNG users at risk DEC¶s response ?

Where To Get Rid of all this Fracking Wastewater ?
Nowhere in New York . . . 

No wastewater disposal wells in New York

Closest are in Ohio for 20 cents gal. + freight None are planned in NYS. Closest is in Pa. 

No wastewater treatment plants in New York

DEC¶s response?

The Used Uranium nonSolution 


Industry proposes to recycle frack wastewater This increases its toxicity with each use Nuclear plants built without fuel disposal plans Re-use of frack flowback repeats that mistake Can¶t start fracking without disposal wells

Fracking Wastewater Solutions 


Classify frack wastewater as ³hazardous´ Wastewater treated at commercial plants Disposed of in Class II disposal wells No waste disposal plan = No well permit

Clean Air Gets Fracked 

Gas fields pollute the air Barnett Shale = pollution of all cars in DFW

Solution: Monitor air Fine operators

The Faults with New York¶s Faults 

DEC understates faulting Faulting poorly mapped Faults channel spills into ground Faults enable fracks to go ³out of zone´ Active faulting shears wells Faulting causes disposal wells to leak Earthquakes  


DEC Says NY Faulting Looks Like«

If only it were this simple. . .

DEC dsGEIS page 4-28 Fig 4.13

What Faulting May Really Look Like«

These are suspected major faults

How Texas is (slightly) Less Faulty Texas has none 

Texas faults are mapped Lack of active faults facilitates:
± ± ±

Better locations for safe disposal wells Well casing longevity - less prone to shear Reduced risk of the frack going ³out of zone´
however . . .

Disposal Wells: Caution is Advised  

The only Texas earthquake was due to overloading a waste disposal well with shale frack flowback Disposal wells and faults don¶t mix

No More Earthquakes, Thanks
New York already has its share

Source USGS

Less Faulty Fracking Solutions 

Determine where faults are in NY Shoot 3-D seismic on each lateral

as a condition of getting the fracking permit 


No disposal wells near major faults Locate well sites away from surface faults No drilling allowed near active faults

µFracking doesn¶t contaminate groundwater¶ = a big fat lie 


Frack operations can contaminate water Intensive trucking contaminates water 33% of Cabot Dimock wells cited for spills 13% Cabot wells gassed groundwater 1,614 violations on shale drillers in Pa.

Groundwater Texas vs New York

Water contamination less an issue in arid, sparsely populated area with deep water wells and city-owned lakes, like Texas
Posted by David Kozlowski on May 09, 2010

Water contamination is a show stopper in New York

Groundwater Solutions 


Test water wells before and after frack Dope fracking fluid with tracers Non toxic fracking fluids Well set-backs tied to terrain SEQR in floodplains and watersheds

20th Century Regulations in New York Shale Gas is 21st Century Technology 


dSGEIS premised on vertical well technology dSGEIS doesn¶t incorporate EPA study DEC tasked with promoting drilling

³The cop is the dealer´ 

DEC under-funded and under-staffed DEC totally out-gunned by shale gas tech.

The Big Apple¶s Big Carve Out 

DEC gave NYC reservoirs ³special protection´ from shale gas fracking
± ±

based on politics, not science DEC: ³They lack sedimentation filters´ 

Radiation and toxic chemicals from spills and wastewater are not ³sediment´ . . . All New Yorkers need NYC¶s safeguards 

Just how Bad is the dSGEIS?
See Otsego2000.org 

1st draft, well set-back 50¶ from lake 2nd / current draft, set-back moved to 150¶
Solution : Scrap the dSGEIS

Compulsory Integration = Private Eminent Domain 


NY law rewritten in 2005 by the industry One of the worst CI laws in the US 60% acreage can force others into a well DEC compels landowners to participate

The Legal Basis for Pooling
Oil field unitization was developed to keep small owners from drilling their own wells into a shared or ³pooled´ reserve. Unless every owner drills - the adjacent wells will drain the non-drilling owners share of the oil reserve. The solution was to ³unitize´ or ³pool´ the ownership of the shared oil or gas reserve.

Compulsory Integration NA to Shale Gas 


Shale gas not a ³pooled´ reserve Not permeable enough to ³drain´ gas from another property No geological reason for CI of adjacent owners

Compulsory integration of shale not constitutional

How Cheney Fracked the EPA

Fracking shale not regulated by the EPA because . . .  Cheney got loopholes in Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and Clean Air Act in 2005 

What the Feds Should Do 

Pass the Frack Act

Close Cheney¶s Last Loopholes 

Determine life-cycle effects of shale gas Put EPA back in the regulatory business

What Albany Should Do 

Scrap the dSGEIS SEQR on
± ±

wells in sole source watersheds wells in flood plains 


Get DEC out of gas shale promotion Proof of final disposition of wastewater Tax gas at the wellhead

What Local Government Should Do  


Get notice of each well application - not after the permit issued Enforce zoning controls over well sites Enforce road use agreements Adopt EMS plans Lobby in Albany for safe water

What You Can Do Now 


Vote for safe water over iffy shale gas Call your Congressman Call your state rep. / senator Call your county and town board Test your water wells before you get fracked

Now Go Get Busy

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