The Bakken Oil Field In North Dakota Could End What Would Happen If A Moratorium Was Placed On Hydraulic Fracturing - Business

The Bakken Oil Field In North Dakota Could End: What Would Happen If A Moratorium Was Placed On Hydraulic Fracturing?   by Blaine Courtney

in Business    (submitted 2011-12-24)

Recently, the head of the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources was interviewed in an article in the Bismarck Tribune where he seemed to indicate his prediction that the EPA was on track to stop hydraulic fracturing by January of 2012. The supposed prediction stems from a non-peer reviewed article by the EPA, which suggests fracturing processes contribute to groundwater fouling. The basis for this misguided conclusion comes from very short and shallow natural gas wells near Pavilion, WY, which were completed and fracked by Encana Corporation and may have caused aquifer contamination. As you can imagine, Encana is not taking this lying down. The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources published a statement the very next day on their website and said the office does not have the authority to make assumptions on what the EPA may or may not implement. The original article, which was published on a Sunday, made its way through Denver and Houston the following Monday, sending worries through the oil industry.

If you would have asked oil industry representatives if oil exploration in the gulf of Mexico would have ever been stopped, they most likely would have been amused. Well, it happened during the BP oil spill. The continued public mistrust with the oil industry has also halted the Keystone XL pipeline. If the government wanted to, what's stopping them from making more regulations on hydraulic fracturing in The Bakken? This public concern is a result of us, the industry, not educating our friends and family on the facts about hydraulic fracturing and that when done right and within the law, is completely safe. The example I like to use is gas drilling activity in the city of Fort Worth, TX. In the middle of communities and parks, drilling rigs are put up and surrounded with wood walls, in some of the wealthiest neighborhoods - with no complaints of bad drinking water!

What would happen if hydraulic fracturing was outlawed outright or temporally? Overnight, rigs from North Dakota to South Central Texas would go silent. Oil Field Service companies would be forced to stop fracturing operations immediately and thousands of people would be looking for work. The head of the NDDMR stated that if a moratorium was put into effect, the moratorium could last anywhere from 12-24 months. I am in agreement, the public should not sacrifice drinking water for oil exploration and production. But, very deep exploration, in The Bakken, and other shale plays, is located several thousand feet from our water sources and will have no effect on our water or well being.