Does the fracturing of shale formations to extract natural gas have a direct connection to groundwater contamination? Based on evidence reviewed in a study by the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, it does not.
The study found that many problems associated to hydraulic fracturing are related to processes common to all oil and gas drilling operations – such as casing failures and poor cement jobs. University researchers also concluded that many contamination cases can be traced to above ground spills or mishandling of wastewater.
Charles “Chip” Groat, an Energy Institute associate director, stated “These problems are not unique to hydraulic fracturing.”
Three areas were closely examined in this report – the Barnett Shale in North Texas, the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, New York and portions of Appalachia, and the Haynesville Shale in western Louisiana and northeast Texas. The report identifies regulations related to shale gas development and evaluates individual states’ capacity to enforce existing regulations.
“Our goal was to provide policymakers a foundation for developing sensible regulations that ensure responsible shale gas development,” Groat said. “What we’ve tried to do is separate fact from fiction.”
You can read the complete report on the Energy Institute website.