Fracking

4932 Words20 Pages
Do the benefits of hydraulic fracturing outweigh the costs?
John H. Redpath
US Centre 601
IRR
April 11, 2014

After decades of trial and error, in 2001 George Mitchell, Chairman and CEO of Mitchell Energy & Development Corp., cracked the code on what is today considered to be the new gold rush of the energy industry. By successfully commercializing hydraulic fracturing in the Barnett shale deposit, Mitchell ushered in a new opportunity for the United States to emerge as the largest natural gas producer in the world. Higher production of shale gas has reduced energy prices over the last five years and has increased U.S. energy self-sufficiency. Since it is viewed
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for approximately 20 years.7 Once hydraulic fracturing was commercialized, independent gas companies quickly pursued the opportunity. Today, nine companies compete for shale gas production in the U.S., and the major oil companies have moved more slowly since the smaller firms were the originators of fracking technologies.8 Hydraulically fracked wells in the U.S. today total over 500,000 and continue to grow rapidly.9 Another key factor which allowed rapid shale gas development is that U.S. law provides that landowners also own the natural minerals under their property, which enabled shale gas developers to lease land for drilling directly from homeowners (in most other countries, the government owns minerals found under properties). Future success with clean energy will require collaboration between the U.S. Government and industry, and our leaders must commit to advancing this agenda in parallel with the continued development of U.S. shale resources.
As the pace of shale gas drilling has accelerated in recent years, so have environmental concerns. Incidents such as a 2007 home explosion in Bainbridge, OH, the 2008 groundwater contamination on Wind River Indian Reservation in Pavilion, WY, and the 2008 chemical poisoning of an emergency room nurse in Durango, CO, have intensified the debate over regulation of fracking.10 As a result, new laws regulating fracking activities have

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