Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fracking: the math doesn't work? (Naked Capitalism)

TUESDAY, JULY 24, 2012

Doing Some Math on Fracking Propaganda

By reader bob of upstate New York, which is still frack free and fighting
A story by the Associated Press that tried to do some jusitsu on fracking critics, claiming they were guilty of the same practices they accused the industry of using, namely, using bad science, ironically, it included a pro-fracking example of the same.
While there are many logical inconsistencies within this piece, the one major issue with fracking, waste water, is given a great spin:
An analysis by The Associated Press of data from Pennsylvania found that of the 10.1 million barrels of shale wastewater generated in the last half of 2011, about 97 percent was either recycled, sent to deep-injection wells, or sent to a treatment plant that doesn’t discharge into waterways.
This is artful. Lets start from the beginning of the fracking process. Each well requires between 5-10 million gallons of fresh water (depending on the industry source for the estimate). We’ll give the frackers the benefit of the doubt and go with 5 million gallons of water per well.
They take this 5 million gallons of water and pour it down a newly drilled gas well. Proprietary chemicals are then added to the well at different points in the fracking process to achieve different results. Some of these chemicals are added first, some last, some in between. This is important to note because it makes reusing the “frack fluid” impossible without some sort of treatment. You can’t get the flour back out of a loaf of bread without a lot of work.
When the fracking is completed, about 10% of the water/chemical mixture flows back out of the well according to the industry. They call this “waste water” and more frequently “flow back”. It’s only waste water above ground. If it’s still in the well, it’s benign.

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