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Fracking Activities Enter Urban Areas

Contributed by James Burgess of Oilprice.com.  

Fracking in many ways has been the saviour of the US. It has created a boom in natural gas production, and also allowed oil production to increase massively. As a result it is a fairly popular amongst the US population, especially those in areas which are benefitting the most such as Texas and North Dakota. However it will be interesting to see just how long that popularity lasts now that fracking activities are moving from remote countryside locations to urban areas, close to people’s homes.

Some cities, even those in the heart of oil and gas country have moved to ban fracking within their limits. Tulsa, Oklahoma, (once the self-proclaimed oil capital of the world) has completely banned fracking within the city limits. Planning for the first ever natural gas well in the city of Dallas was blocked last week, and the town of Longmont, near Denver, is currently battling attempts to overturn its own fracking ban.

There are also some towns that have accepted fracking. Gardendale, a suburb in west Texas, has seen oil companies drill 51 wells over the last few year. Debbie Leverett, a local resident, said that, “you can hear it, you can smell it, and you are always breathing it. It's just like being behind a car exhaust.”

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The number of wells is only set to increase in the future, with Berry Petroleum (NYSE:BRY), the main developer in the region, planning to drill an extra 300 wells, some as within 150ft of homes. Jeff Coyle, a spokesman for Berry said that, “Berry’s current plan is to drill approximately 140 wells on 40-acre spacing in and around the Gardendale area. Additionally, we are preparing to conduct a pilot study on 20-acre spacing and, if those test results are encouraging and economic conditions warrant, we may drill up to 160 additional wells.”

Midland is a City close to Gardendale, and another that support fracking within its limits. Mayor Wes Perry philosophically explained that, “people are still not really happy when an oil well turns up in the backyard, but we are an oil town. We can't be hypocrites.” Cross-posted from Oilprice.com.

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Reader Comments (5)

Probably should be better coordinated.
Limit until there is more experience fracking to unpopulated areas.
Probably good to have a few pilots in suburbia.
Still several questions need to be answered. On the other side there is no cheap, clean (and 'non disturbing' in other ways) energy. We better get used to that as well. Some people will have some of the stuff (be it exploration, generation or processing of some sort) in their backyard. better look to methods to deal with that as well.
January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRik
January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Yates
And now you know why, even though fracking technologies have been known for decades (remember the oil commercial with the engineer with the straw that bends....) they have not been deployed.

Because this is an environmental nightmare.

Why do you think fracking is exempted from the Clean Water Act? http://cleanwater.org/page/fracking-laws-and-loopholes

The fact that we are fracking indicates we are running out of oil - at least cheap oil
January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBerk
@Roger and Wolf of course
Happy New Year to you all.

Therefor mho it is very important that we now make the choices. There simply is no silver bullet. It is dirty or expensive or dangerous or not reliable. And often more than one of those.
All new sources cost decades to develop a strategic change need extremely good management hrough the process.
For the US reducing energy consumption will be one imho. But also that needs strategic choices and proper management during the transition process.
Re fracking. It still looks a 'new technology' to me. In the sense that a lot of stuff to make it really work still have to be 'invented' and a lot of practical experiencing still has to be done. Imho there is not really an option not to do it, especially with unstable energy providers, expensive energy, and not really the political will to work on reducing consumption. It should be better managed at government level. It simply starts to look like the market is fully taking over (meaning probably what we have with stuff in the ground first and the more stuff the better iso gaining experience and adjust technology, looks pretty pre-financial crisis bankish to me. In the way that a seperate company simply want to pump).
January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRik
Happy New Year Wolf!
January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Yates

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