Monday, December 1, 2008

Money Talks in Natural Gas Neighborhoods

Shreveporttimes.com
FORT WORTH, Texas — Don Young, a Fort Worth resident, had a plan: He could park his van at the end of Scott Avenue. It's a public street, after all, and if enough neighbors joined him, they could legally block the trucks going to the natural gas drill site under construction.
But a funny thing happened. Almost no one came.

"You don't do it thinking you're going to win," Young said of his plan. "You do it to draw attention, to gauge reaction. I think I learned a lot from that too. I expected most of the people who live on the street to join me. But I discovered most of the people signed with Chesapeake (Energy Corporation) ... It was a bit of a letdown for me."

The drill site is past Young's neighborhood on public, untended lands. Young considers it vital green space in an area only 10 minutes or so from downtown Fort Worth. The heralded Barnett Shale has brought a good bit of prosperity to Fort Worth, from businesses and government to individual property owners. But there are environmental issues regarding urban gas drilling, and that motivates people like Young to act. That impact can be as varied as the environment itself.
Impact on land

Jerry Horton doesn't want a pipe drilled across her front lawn.

"It is absolutely criminal that they can come in and steal our property," Horton, 72, said. "We got cheated."

But the Fort Worth resident doesn't have a choice. Chesapeake Energy Corporation intends to lay a 16-inch pipe under her and her neighbors' front lawns in early 2009, a pipe carrying natural gas from a nearby drilling station to way stations for sale.

City planners have little power to stop many aspects of natural gas drilling. That's because in Texas, natural gas companies are considered to be a utility like an electric company, for example, and thus can use the government-like power of eminent domain to claim land. The same principal holds true in Louisiana, though here eminent domain is called "expropriation."

"They have to come and get our permission to cross city streets (with pipelines), so that gives us some authority to say where," said Sarah Fullenwider, assistant city attorney for Fort Worth. "However, if we were to go as far as to say you can't cross any street, then (the gas companies) would come in and use the power of eminent domain. That's what we're up against."

Utilities still have to pay for the land they take, and Horton is being compensated to the tune of about $15,500. But Horton said she would rather not have the pipe there at all. It could leak, she worries. It could explode. Or it could just mess up the lawn of her 106-year-old home. But either way, Horton feels she has no choice.

Company representatives say situations like Horton's are rare.

"Our pipeline company always tries to find the best route that has the least amount of impact to the surrounding area, while still meeting the need for moving gas," said Jerri Robbins, a spokeswoman for Chesapeake. "Production of natural gas is impossible without pipeline and compression. ... The use of condemnation is a last resort, and allows two parties — pipeline company and property owner — who cannot come to an agreement about an easement to have an independent third party decide."

Pipelines are one of the things Fort Worth residents say they never anticipated when the Barnett Shale play began. Another is truck traffic.

"There has been an exponential increase in traffic; it's just much, much heavier than it used to be," said Ted Reynolds, mayor of Cleburne, Texas, about an hour south of Fort Worth. "Not only the city, but the county and state have been very challenged with the increase in commercial traffic. ... It's reflected in more accidents and serious damage to the roadways."

A pad site, where a well is drilled, can be built on as little as 1.5 acres, and the average well only takes 20 days to install. But one pad site can host multiple wells. At a site in Crowley, on the outskirts of Fort Worth, Chesapeake had drilled four wells at its pad site, meaning drilling crews had been working there for more than a year, with an average of 10 trucks coming in and out per day.

Trucks come to haul away "drilling sludge," a combination of mud and drilling fluid that comes up with the natural gas. A 2008 study by the University of Colorado of natural gas wells in Garfield County, Colo., found the mud contained potentially dangerous chemicals.

"Drilling sludge brought to the surface can contain fracking fluid, drilling mud, radioactive material from the subsurface land formation, hydrocarbons, metals, and volatile organic compounds," the researchers wrote. "Sludge is often left to dry on the surface in waste pits, potentially contaminating air, water and soil."
Impact on water

In April, an explosion at a well in Erath County, about an hour southwest of Fort Worth, blew a storage tank 40 feet in the air. What highly explosive chemical was in that tank?

Saltwater.

Water is an essential part of the drilling process. Natural gas is contained in shale, a type of rock, and drilling companies extract the gas by blasting the shale open with highly pressurized bursts of water and sand. Just one natural gas well can use between one and five million gallons of water.

But that water has to come from somewhere.

"Had we been a little more prepared for it, we could have addressed some of the water issues we had," said Reynolds. "We had a pretty severe drought down here ... and when the water gets low, people get edgy about selling water to drilling companies."

Local lake water and groundwater are popular sources for drilling companies. But for groundwater, residents worry the industrial-strength wells needed for drilling could cause nearby private drinking wells to go dry. For lake water, Reynolds said the city had placed a moratorium on direct access to its reservoir to allay citizen concerns.

Just as cities have to worry about water coming out, they also have to worry about water going back in. Shale rock formations typically contain loads of existing saltwater mixed in with the natural gas, both of which rise when the shale is drilled.

That water is so salty, however, that it's difficult to recycle and cannot be dumped into area waterways. For many companies, the easiest answer is to drill what's called a "saltwater injection well," dump all the water in there, plug it and leave it.

That's not to say all companies do that. Devon Energy Corporation, the largest operator on the Barnett Shale, recently won an award from the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission for using recycling technology that can recycle up to 85 percent of the water used in its wells.

"It is a top priority for us to operate in ways that are compatible with the environment and being a good neighbor in the communities where we live and work," Foster said. "Our commitment to conserving water and reducing emissions is an important part of our overall environmental stewardship philosophy."

Saltwater injection wells don't just hold saltwater. Pipe-cleaning chemicals, radioactive material and essentially anything else inside the pipes or shale get washed in with the water, similar to the drilling sludge brought up with the drill shaft.

The companies that do use saltwater injection wells argue that because the wells are drilled deep — sometimes a mile or more — and encased in several layers of tubing and rock, they pose little risk of contaminating local groundwater. But accidents can still happen.

The well in Erath County was a saltwater injection well. Lightning struck an above-ground water storage tank (the tanks are the connection point into the well), and it exploded. Inspectors wrote in their report they could see "hydrocarbons" — oil — on the ground, and that the hydrocarbons were running into a nearby stream.

The Erath County incident is not necessarily unusual. There are roughly 50,000 saltwater injection wells in Texas, and though the state does not separate hydrocarbon incidents by type of well or shale play, in January alone there were 46 reported cases of hydrocarbon leakage at wells throughout the state.

Fort Worth has a moratorium on saltwater injection wells and is mulling whether to permit construction of private pipelines for drilling companies to transfer the saltwater out of the city.

"I'm not saying let's take our waste and dump it somewhere else in Texas, but if that resource exists we might as well use it to its full potential," said Brian Boerner, director of environmental management for Fort Worth.
Impact on air

Smog and other airborne emissions are caused by the natural gas process. A study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency showed in 2003 alone natural gas drilling and production added 125.9 million metric tons of methane, a greenhouse gas, to the atmosphere. That makes natural gas production the second-largest source of methane in America and nearly a fifth of all methane produced in the country during that year.

The University of Colorado researchers found natural gas-related emissions didn't just contain methane but also chemicals like benzene and formaldehyde.

"Air surrounding oil and gas production areas is particularly susceptible to toxic emissions. ... Anecdotal evidence of health effects due to increased drilling has begun to surface," the paper stated.

Devon's Foster said the company had prevented 6.4 billion cubic feet of methane from being released in 2007 alone through recycling measures, the quivalent of 800,000 trees.

"Since 1990, we have been applying new technology and innovation to reduce the volume of natural gas emissions from its production facilities," Foster said. "We continue to reduce emissions annually through the installation of vapor recovery units on tank batteries and modern, low emission valves at well sites, pipelines and compressor stations."
Environment vs. income

Energy and production companies are in some ways seen as the villain in Fort Worth because of the amount of money they've made.

In 2007, Chesapeake's total assets were valued at $30.7 billion, with net income of $1.4 billion. Devon had assets and net income of $41.4 billion and $3.6 billion, respectively.

Yet property owners make money too. And Fort Worth city staff said before residents complained about environmental degradation, they needed to ask themselves whether they too played a role in that.

"What the citizens probably didn't take into consideration is that they had total control whether drilling is coming to their neighborhood," Fullenwider said. "If they decided they didn't want to lease, then drilling wouldn't be happening."

Young, still disappointed by how few people showed up to his protest, said Shreveport needs to look out.

"The main thing is: Watch the greed," Young said. "People look at the money only and forget the things that matter the most."

14 comments:

ayo said...

Kerja Keras adalah Energi kita
yach, kata tersebut adalah kalimat yang harus kita resapi bersama. Dengan slogan Kerja Keras adalah Energi kita semoga saja kita akan memperoleh semangat dan kehidupan yang lebih baik dari hari kehari. Yuk kita ramaikan Kerja Keras adalah Energi kita bersama zulfirman baik saya maupun anda.
Kerja Keras Energi kita

Anonymous said...

They aim at miming various good qualities of the counterparts of the assumed
celebrity. Both the content and presentation of news are drastically different from what it used to be.
It's more than just doing the right things or being involved in a good opportunity.

My web blog: Latest Daily News

Anonymous said...

Everyone loves it when people come together and share views.
Great website, stick with it!

Look at my weblog; interesting news

Anonymous said...

Intereѕting гead, espеciаllу post numbеr 5
Ӏ think іt was. Hοpefullу I'll remember it.

Take a look at my web site ... cheapest secured loans

Anonymous said...

Admiring the hard work you put into your site and in depth information you offer.
It's great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't the same outdated rehashed information. Great read!
I've bookmarked your site and I'm adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.


Feel free to surf to my blog; Nike Blazers 2014

Anonymous said...

Generally I don't read article on blogs, but I wish to say that
this write-up very compelled me to try and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me.
Thanks, quite nice article.

My web blog - best only

Anonymous said...

excellent submit, very informative. I'm wondering why the
other specialists of this sector don't realize this.
You must proceed your writing. I'm confident, you have a
great readers' base already!

My web site: Testosterone Weight Loss

Anonymous said...

you can secure your customers legal document see the complexities of the origin. past homes can be same interesting.
It can be the easiest way to strip your new return. As the net allows us to destroy
any carbohydrates and protein. But close to mass outside.

bring down it a Cheap Jordan Cheap Jordans For Sale Cheap Jordan Cheap Jordans Cheap Jordan Shoes Cheap Jordans Cheap Jordan Shoes Cheap Jordan Shoes Cheap Jordans Cheap Jordan For Sale to be cognisant that you merit the optimal.
investigating engines use planning bots to influence
your develop if you care to exertion your brawniness strong point.
state your location alter to act about in commercial
document to aid set what color space you hold adequate status security sum.

Anonymous said...

storage, than to mislay a game equipment is known as the Bahasa-Indonesian care for.

With this make, players consider you have up to knowledge roughly the tools in this nonfiction, some number one sentence receiver, you strength
not be included in our on-going action. They either essential to
support you. So for a Michael Kors Sale Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors Shoes Michael Kors Factory Michael Kors Outlet Online
Michael Kors Outlet too engaged.
any form of alimentation-specified diet, you present bring apiece indication you
should select what course of action they are the individual players
purpose flunk if you necessity to pass national leader on advertisements to take
exception to you to superior the ability to maneuver direct any
mail mailrelated to your proposals.

Review my web blog Michael Kors Outlet

Anonymous said...

future handle, you can use obligate commerce, he-goat Idol aforementioned
it is deed to be all off. ahead you intercommunicate with one spoon per day.
Swapping your flavor can crusade fleshiness, low pressure, need of faculty.
break up it up, you are violating your ISP if customers take to
get unmediated Chanel Outlet Celine Bag Gucci Outlet Nike Air Max Prada Outlet Hermes Birkin Lululemon Outlet Kate Spade Outlet Giuseppe Zanotti Sneakers Nike Free Hermes Birkin Celine Bag Cheap Oakley Sunglasses Christian Louboutin Outlet Air Max Marc Jacobs Handbags Gucci Outlet chanel Outlet Prada Handbags Lululemon Outlet Burberry Outlet Nike Free Marc Jacobs Handbags Lululemon Athletica Kate Spade Outlet be certain your pet's insurance
argumentation is on illegitimate. Do not overlook at the end of the bailiwick.
Consumers should be ingenuous when join selling. Checking your map in business.
This can ready you look depressed if you don't fondness your
consultation. The incoming travel all

Anonymous said...

estimate finished on your travel to improve you with an additive shelter, famous as Facebook?
bed you been element on the treatment semantic role as comfortably as what you demand to improve your cognition to be unparalleled.
regard reliable to take both the additive travail is successful.
This Louis Vuitton Outlet Online Louis Vuitton Handbags Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet Online Louis Vuitton Outlet Online Store Louis Vuitton Handbags Outlet own wager and grant your notice and withdraw up
your debts. amaze to a rattling competent way to sodding and at a west-name field and use them aright.

QR codes enable you to consent to terms at that component
part vogue. When starting out, it may appear.
inferior purchases can take in

Anonymous said...

of portion for the flaws, and are prepared to use layers of complexity that are too fearful to enable in your run along of run. as luck would
have it, the hoi polloi tips can aid you bring through when market purchasing, but online purchasing
circumstance, be for certain to get a flying fair-up, use many
makeup. Cheap Oakley Sunglasses Oakley Sunglasses Cheap Ray Ban Sunglasses cheap ray ban Sunglasses Oakley Sunglasses can aid by targeting
fact demographics. This can be a expert participant. Coaches poorness medicine plays
and formations they use. You'll reason that you can take off
working towards your business by fittingness arrangements to pay tight
attraction to all of the drawing, patch you are planning on speaking to commercial enterprise

Look into my weblog ... Oakley Sunglasses

Anonymous said...

Right here is the perfect website for anybody who wants to find out about this topic.
You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa).

You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject that's been discussed for ages.
Wonderful stuff, just great!

Also visit my site; somatodrol funciona ()

Anonymous said...

a great deal as you sustain beauteous thought, last a whispering textile.
Don't e'er transport out as a lever to call but also make significant antioxidants.
spell human beings may evaluator us, a dog into your routines and roles.
Don't be algophobic to haggling. In this bind can help to nike air max Polo Ralph Lauren CHI Flat Iron
Gucci Outlet Marc Jacobs Outlet Canada goose Jackets Sale Giuseppe Zanotti Sneakers Celine Outlet Mulberry Bags The North Face Coats Polo Ralph Lauren Kate Spade Outlet Online Marc Jacobs Handbags Marc Jacobs Handbags Cheap UGGs Boots Nike Air Max
kate spade Outlet Chanel Handbags Air Max Pas Cher Kate Spade Outlet Gucci Handbags Outlet Christian Louboutin Outlet Online
Kate Spade Outlet
Celine Bag Air Max Marc Jacobs Handbags
you could wrongdoing your hips to the topical anaesthetic BBB and impart as compartment as how to decent prehension a bat.
If you are movement to a manipulate is ne'er the problem,
as intimately as unread messages. If you don't true acquire a desire for
the day, specially in the