New evidence has surfaced that further incriminates fracking as the cause of methane migration into the water in Dimock, Pennsylvania. Reporting on EQT Corporation’s interest in tapping into the Upper Devonian shale layer, an article, “Pennsylvania drillers eye shale layers atop Marcellus,” in ShaleReporter reveals the sage wisdom in Samuel Clements’ quote about honesty, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
It did not take significant scientific or engineering knowledge to catch a lie Cabot Oil & Gas engineers and scientists told, before revealing it in an earlier blog post. Cabot had attempted to discredit a Duke University study that incriminated Cabot in the contamination. That lie, “Methane in Pennsylvania water wells unrelated to Marcellus shale fracturing,” and published in Oil & Gas Journal, attempted to attribute the methane contaminating the wells in the Dimock to the gas in the Upper Devonian shale, a layer that lies above the Marcellus shale being fracked. The report let slip however that some of the gas had the characteristics of the methane in the Marcellus shale.
The segments of the statement in bold font in the following paragraphs, quoted from the ShaleReporter article, clearly substantiate the likelihood that Cabot’s drilling had caused the methane migration into the water in Dimock:
Philip Conti, EQT’s CFO, told investors that waiting too long after the Marcellus is fracked before tapping the Upper Devonian could deplete the shallower formation or cause interference between the two.
Oil and gas companies have said for years that the layers of limestone book-ending the Marcellus Shale from what lies above and below it serve as natural barriers so that fracking fluids and gas stay within that zone.
The Tully Limestone separates the Marcellus from the Upper Devonian and it’s not absolutely impermeable, according to Kris Carter, mineral resources division chief for the Pennsylvania Geological Survey.
While companies are not required to submit their microseismic tests to the state, Ms. Carter said she’s been told by some firms that their fractures reached from the Marcellus into the Upper Devonian, penetrating the Tully. That doesn’t necessarily ruin a well, she said.
Albert Yost, senior adviser with the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, noted that even without a direct crack linking the two, there could still be microseismic reverberations from blasting just a few hundred feet away.
If fracking one shale rattles the rocks that make up the shale above or below it, that could affect the rate at which gas flows out of that formation.
The love of money has not motivated all gas and oil industry personnel and executives to lie though. John Hofmeister, a former Shell Oil Co. president and author of “Why We Hate Oil Companies,” recently remarked when questioned by Associated Press reporter Kevin Bebos that he had “called for greater transparency. That is the only way to have an honest conversation with the public,” adding that “everybody knows that some wells go bad.”
Honesty has not been altogether lacking, but candid admissions of the dangers, and the potential for environmental disaster are seriously lacking among the industry’s supporters. Most are just ill informed by the disinformation being intentionally disseminated by the industry. The disinformation machine the industry controls, and allegedly independent sources, like Phelim McAleer’s FrackNation—a red herring that uses circular reasoning in an attempt to debunk Josh Fox’s Gasland—have each made informing an all but uninformed public about the potential environmental threats of fracking a monumental task.
With the information now available about the actual contamination of wells by methane due to fracking in Dimock—and likely elsewhere—the red herring used in the film comes into view. We no longer need to realize that the film’s focus on naturally occurring methane proved nothing about the validity of claims that fracking had caused methane migration into nearby water wells—we know it happened.