Responding to fracking

Guest CommentaryFebruary 18, 2014 

Regarding Alan Cheah's column "Fracking up Close" printed on Jan. 30, the article is filled with information that is misleading or just plain wrong. He quotes that in 2008, Kern producers injected 54 billion gallons of water. What he does not say is: 1) this has nothing to do with fracking, and 2) this is salt water, not fresh water. Injecting salt water is a common practice for what is termed "water flooding" the reservoir.

Water flowing is a common reservoir management technique to keep the pressure up so the hydrocarbons will flow out, and to literally sweep the hydrocarbons ahead of it.

The salt water is extracted from the earth from wells drilled for this purpose. As you go deeper within the crust of the earth, the water becomes more salty until after about 3,000 - 5,000 feet of depth when the water is the same salt concentration of sea water.

Another example is his statement about hydrogen sulfide. This is the same thing as "rotten egg gas" that everyone who went to high school made in chemistry class at one time; or you can smell it when you peel a hard-boiled egg. The low concentrations around water pits are of about as much concern as the two examples just given. Further, this gas again has nothing to do with fracking.

Hydrogen sulfide is a natural production product from some oil and gas wells. It is naturally in some reservoirs and gets produced out with the oil and gas. When concentrations in the flowstream are dangerous, which is rare, the separation and treating facility is especially built, protected, maintained, provided with alarms, and only specific personnel who are authorized may enter. The hydrogen sulfide is extracted from the flow stream as soon as possible.

These continual mistruths about fracking are common in California, which is over-run with extremists who invent and flaunt untruths. Not so much in Texas or North Dakota, where the people are more wise to the real truth and have economies to prove it. They don't listen to these mistruths.

I have a question for Mr. Cheah. Why don't the people of Texas rise up and complain about fracking? In Texas, nearly all of the land is privately owned, there are more wells than any other state, wells were first fracked in the 1940s, and there are many thousands of fracked wells there.

And don't give me the lame excuse that they prefer the money, so they say nothing. The people of Texas like their land, cattle, ranches, and water supply just as much as anyone else. The reason Texans don't rise up is that 98% of this fracking nonsense is not true.

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