B.C. left holding massive bill for hundreds of orphan gas wells as frack companies go belly-up

B.C. left holding massive bill for hundreds of orphan gas wells as frack companies go belly-up

SOURCE: The Narwhal DATE: March 12, 2019 SNIP: Nearly 400 kilometres north of Fort St. John is a large, leaking fracking pond owned by Ranch Energy Corporation, a Calgary-based company that went into receivership last year leaving 700 gas wells in B.C. and a sea of debt. The storage pond is filled with 113,000 cubic metres of sludge and water that may be contaminating soil and groundwater through a documented leak in its outer lining, according to the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission. Twenty months ago, the commission issued an order to Predator Oil BC Ltd., the company that sold Ranch the wells, to empty the pond and test for contamination. But nothing has been done. Ranch’s receiver, Ernst & Young, says it’s an expense the estate cannot afford. The story of Ranch — pieced together by The Narwhal from a review of receivership documents and B.C. Oil and Gas Commission documents — highlights some of the mounting financial and environmental problems created by B.C.’s fracking industry. And that’s even before a fracking blitz gets underway in the province’s Peace region, already covered by thousands of wells, to supply gas for the $40 billion LNG Canada project that will ship liquefied natural gas overseas. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves the injection of large amounts of water and proprietary chemicals into the ground to release gas. When companies like Ranch become insolvent, the provincial government is left holding much of the substantial clean-up bill for the industry equivalent of a dine and dash. 300 to 500 Ranch wells could still be designated as orphans, leaving the commission responsible for additional...
Fracking the world: Despite climate risks, fracking is going global

Fracking the world: Despite climate risks, fracking is going global

SOURCE: Nation of Change DATE: March 5, 2019 SNIP: The U.S. exported a record 3.6 million barrels per day of oil in February. This oil is the result of the American fracking boom – and as a report from Oil Change International recently noted – its continued growth is undermining global efforts to limit climate change. The Energy Information Administration predicts U.S. oil production will increase again in 2019 to record levels, largely driven by fracking in the Permian shale in Texas and New Mexico. And the U.S. is not alone in trying to maximize oil and gas production. Despite the financial failures of the U.S. fracking industry, international efforts to duplicate the American fracking story are ramping up across the globe. As a major importer of oil and natural gas, it is no surprise that China is trying to exploit its own shale formations, which are rich with oil and gas. China is estimated to have the largest shale gas reserves of any country. However, China’s shale formations present different challenges than those in the U.S., including gas deposits at significantly greater depths. The CEO of Saudi Arabian state oil company Aramco recently dismissed the idea that global demand for oil will decrease anytime soon and urged the oil industry to “push back on exaggerated theories like peak oil demand.” But Saudi Aramco also is gearing up for a shopping spree of natural gas assets, including big investments in the U.S., and increasing gas production via fracking in its own shale fields. Aramco is deeply invested in keeping the world hungry for more oil and gas. Besides Saudi...
Is Drilling and Fracking Waste on Your Sidewalk or in Your Pool?

Is Drilling and Fracking Waste on Your Sidewalk or in Your Pool?

SOURCE: TruthOut DATE: February 21, 2019 SNIP: They’ve spread it on roads. They’ve irrigated almond farms and fruit groves with it. The oil and gas industry’s liquid waste has been used for a variety of commercial and industrial purposes over the years. But never has the “beneficial use” of this waste stream been so grossly applied, or so close to home, as it is today. Meet Eureka Resources and Nature’s Own Source. Both of these companies have attracted attention by processing liquid waste from oil and gas operations and creating commercial products for use in pools and on roads, sidewalks, patios, stairs or anywhere else a consumer may put it. Cargill purchased 4,700 tons of salt from Eureka between May 2015 and December 2016. One of Cargill’s meat processing plants, Cargill Meat Solutions in Wyalusing, Pennsylvania, is less than 10 miles away from Eureka’s wastewater treatment facility, and “processes about 1,500 head of cattle per day,” according to Cargill’s website. In an email, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) wrote that Cargill “advised the Department” that Eureka’s “[c]rystallized sodium chloride” is used by Cargill “to prepare and treat animal hides, resulting from Cargill’s meat packing operations. Cargill prepares the animal hides using one of Eureka’s salt products for commercial sale.” Eureka’s frack salt is also approved for sale as a pool salt. The investigative news team at Public Herald exposed that Eureka’s byproduct is packaged and sold as Clorox Pool Salt. Workers at Eureka’s Standing Stone facility package the salt in Clorox bags and pallet them for shipment via an “unnamed third-party distributor to be sold at regional stores...
The Hidden Risk in the Fracking Boom

The Hidden Risk in the Fracking Boom

SOURCE: Rolling Stone DATE: February 20, 2019 SNIP: At 10:40 a.m. on Monday, January 21st, a pipeline carrying natural gas ruptured in rural Noble County, in southeastern Ohio, producing a fireball that surged 120 feet into the air and engulfed the Noll family home, with 12-year-old son Nash inside. The boy’s grandfather rushed into the inferno and rescued him. It was the second time in three years that an explosion carrying a furious wave of burning methane gas had erupted into the lives — and bedrooms and living rooms — of residents living along this 76-year-old pipeline system. The 9,029-mile Texas Eastern Transmission Pipeline, which runs from the Gulf Coast to the Philadelphia and New York City metro areas and is operated by Canadian energy giant Enbridge, also exploded in April 2016 in Salem Township, Pennsylvania, about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh. That incident produced a crater 50 feet long by 12 feet deep and generated a fireball — videotaped by morning commuters — that obliterated a home, melted a road and sent a 26-year-old man to the hospital with third-degree burns over 75 percent of his body. The scenic belt of farms and snaking rivers in the area where Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania meet is the epicenter for an incredible energy rush that some industry insiders have termed the “Appalachian Miracle.” Two gas-rich shale layers — the Marcellus and the Utica —are being harvested via the thunderous techniques of fracking. Together they are generating nearly one-third of America’s natural gas production. Residents of this gas-rich tri-state area are regularly astonished by the pure hustle of the boom...
Fracked Shale Oil Wells Drying Up Faster than Predicted, Wall Street Journal Finds

Fracked Shale Oil Wells Drying Up Faster than Predicted, Wall Street Journal Finds

SOURCE: DeSmog Blog and Wall Street Journal ($). DATE: January 10, 2019 SNIP: In 2015, Pioneer Natural Resources filed a report with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, in which the shale drilling and fracking company said that it was “drilling the most productive wells in the Eagle Ford Shale” in Texas. That made the company a major player in what local trade papers were calling “arguably the largest single economic event in Texas history,” as drillers pumped more than a billion barrels of fossil fuels from the Eagle Ford. Its Eagle Ford wells, Pioneer’s filing said, were massive finds, with each well able to deliver an average of roughly 1.3 million barrels of oil and other fossil fuels over their lifetimes. Three years later, The Wall Street Journal checked the numbers, investigating how those massive wells are turning out for Pioneer. Turns out, not so well. And Pioneer is not alone. Those 1.3 million-barrel wells, the Journal reported, “now appear to be on a pace to produce about 482,000 barrels” apiece — a little over a third of what Pioneer told investors they could deliver. In Texas’ famed Permian Basin, now the nation’s most productive shale oil field, where Pioneer predicted 960,000 barrels from each of its shale wells in 2015, the Journal concluded that those “wells are now on track to produce about 720,000 barrels” each. Not only are the wells already drying up at a much faster rate than the company predicted, according to the Journal’s investigative report, but Pioneer’s projections require oil to flow for at least 50 years after the well was drilled and...