• 4 minutes Why Trump Is Right to Re-Open the Economy
  • 7 minutes Did Trump start the oil price war?
  • 11 minutes Covid-19 logarithmic growth
  • 15 minutes Charts of COVID-19 Fatality Rate by Age and Sex
  • 18 minutes China Takes Axe To Alternative Energy Funding, Slashing Subsidies For Solar And Wind
  • 5 hours Dr. Fauci is over rated.
  • 16 hours Dept of Energy ditches plans to buy Crude Oil for SPR
  • 51 mins China extracts record amount of natural gas from Gas Hydrates in South China Sea
  • 2 hours Western Canadian Select selling for $6.48 bbl. Enbridge charges between $7 to $9 bbl to ship to the GOM refineries.
  • 5 hours Where's the storage?
  • 3 mins TRUMP pushing Hydroxychloroquine + Zpak therapy forward despite FDA conservative approach. As he reasons, "What have we got to lose ?"
  • 2 hours Oxford Epidemiologist: Here’s Why That Covid-19 Doomsday Model Is Likely Way Off
  • 1 day Trump to New York - DROP DEAD!
  • 16 hours Wastewater Infrastructure Needs
  • 1 day Analysis into the Iran Outbreak
  • 17 hours >>The falling of the Persian Gulf oil empires is near <<
Alt Text

Is Europe’s Latest Gas Deal A Win-Win?

The recent gas transit deal…

Alt Text

China’s Gas Demand Growth Slows Significantly

China has seen its natural…

Daniel J. Graeber

Daniel J. Graeber

Daniel Graeber is a writer and political analyst based in Michigan. His work on matters related to the geopolitical aspects of the global energy sector,…

More Info

Premium Content

Is Paranoia Driving Fracking Fears?

Around 100 people crammed into a tiny community center in West Michigan this week for a town hall meeting on hydraulic fracturing.  Michigan ranks 15th in the nation in terms of natural gas reserves, with its Antrim play in the northern Lower Peninsula producing around 126 billion cubic feet per year in 2009. Overseas, residents in Lancashire, in northwest England, are keeping their own eye on developments as so-called fracking operations are set to resume after a brief hiatus. Energy company Cuadrilla is targeting an area that holds more than twice the amount of shale natural gas than is presumably left in northern Michigan. The state lawmaker who convened the meeting said there are no plans for the controversial practice in the region. Residents, however, expressed concern about the practice, fueling the debate over just what's driving the growing concerns over shale.

Cuadrilla Resources is targeting an estimated 300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Bowland basin in northwest England. So-called fracking operations were halted there when small tremors were linked to initial testing in 2011. With an early-warning system in hand, the company now expects it's the only one in the country using technology that's already put the United States in a leadership position in terms of natural gas reserves. Lancashire residents and government officials alike have expressed concern about Cuadrilla's plans given that, for the most part, regional oil and gas campaigns have focused on offshore developments. Nevertheless, George Osborne, the British finance minister, said the government was banking on the shale potential.

Related article: Chevron Hits Australian Shale Gas Market in $349m Farm-In

"I want Britain to tap into new sources of low-cost energy like shale gas," he said. "Shale gas is part of the future. And we will make it happen."

A subsidiary of Canadian energy company Encana Corp. (NYSE: ECA) in 2010 said there was a "meaningful" amount of natural gas in the Collingwood-Utica shale play in Michigan. Much of that is situated in the northern Lower Peninsula. The Antrim play in the same region gave up 126 billion cubic feet of natural gas in 2009, though the U.S. Energy Department said that play is in decline.

In October, oil and gas companies shelled out $2.5 million for Michigan leases during the state's last auction. Another round is set for May. State Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, a Republican, welcomed around 100 people to a town hall forum in Ada Township, a tiny upscale suburb of Grand Rapids and home to holding company Alticor. There, state geology and environmental officials explained that Michigan has perhaps the strongest laws on the books regarding hydraulic fracturing. Lyons, who received campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, said fracking isn't going on in Ada and "we don’t expect it to go on anytime soon."

Related article: Algeria: Leveling the Playing Field for Shale Gas Exploration

State leaders explained to residents the verdict was still out on the shale gas potential in western Michigan. If any were to occur, officials said the state has regulations ranging from post-drilling remediation to water protection that should allay most concerns. While there are no guarantees, they said, issues like earthquakes are exceedingly rare. Overseas, Cuadrilla officials said they're going above and beyond safety requirements used already in the United States, though even that did little to quiet the critics.  Michigan officials got a similar reception despite saying there were no documented cases where fracking caused environmental damage in the state.  Concerns over new and high-profile technologies are likely to stir a public reaction. But just like fears that cell phones can cause fires at gasoline stations, it's a matter of contention whether some of the concerns over fracking are valid or a simple case of public paranoia.

By. Daniel J. Graeber of Oilprice.com


Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage






Leave a comment
  • Bill Newton on March 21 2013 said:
    There are many more concerns than those listed in the article. The chemicals used in the fracking fluids, which end up in the water table are many and very insidious. The gas released through the fracking process does not magically migrate directly to the well casing. It is randomly released and makes its way to the surface and into water sources.
    The health issues are manifold and many are yet to realised.
    Another instance of big business wanting their obscene profit at our expense.
  • Peter M on March 21 2013 said:
    I'm not sure if 'paranoia' is the right way to phrase it. Spills can, do, and are occurring: http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_22817087/parachute-creek-spill-continues-uncontained-cause-source-unknown

    I would say that it should be more of whether communities are willing to accept the risks.
  • Panskeptic on March 23 2013 said:
    The earthquakes stopped in Ohio when the fracking did. Even paranoids have enemies.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News