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.