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Duke Univ. Marcellus Study

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Would you like some methane with that well water...

http://money.cnn.com/2011/05/09/news/ ... ing_duke/index.htm?hpt=T2

Posted on: 2011/5/9 18:33


Re: Duke Univ. Marcellus Study

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Meh. Not impressed with the study.

Posted on: 2011/5/9 18:43


Re: Duke Univ. Marcellus Study

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I had to laugh about the last quote about not wanting to deal with climate change. funny. so the use of natural gas will reverse the warming cycle of the earth the we have been experiencing for the past 10,000 years?

Posted on: 2011/5/9 20:12


Re: Duke Univ. Marcellus Study

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Their samples from near fracked wells were from Dimock. It tells us what we already know, there was a problem at Dimock which allowed methane to leak from a well or wells into the ground water.

A truly unbiased study would encompass samples from across various areas of the state and across multiple gas drillers. This would help determine if specific drillers had processes or materials issues. Or if there was a general issue with methane leakage. In addition it should sample wells prior to drilling and after drilling to identify changes that may have been caused by drilling. It's not as if there was a shortage of new sites where such studies could be done.

When I couple this with the Cornell report that claims coal has less impact on global warming that gas, I have to wonder if the science departments changed to political science since I went to school?

Posted on: 2011/5/10 7:37


Re: Duke Univ. Marcellus Study

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Methane in drinking water...
Elevated radiation in waste water from wells...
Accidents/explosions increasing as more are drilled...
Watchdog agencies unable to keep up with the volume of new wells...

In the words of the man on your avatar....
It just doesn't matter!


Posted on: 2011/5/10 14:36
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Re: Duke Univ. Marcellus Study

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Want to see the actual study, not the MSM read out of it which doesn't allow you to see how the study was conducted.

If Franklin is right about all the "near well" sampling sites being near Dimock, then I agree 100% with him. It's just confirming something we all knew. If the results are consistent among all wells, then thats something different. But the article doesn't say one way or the other.

Posted on: 2011/5/11 15:35


Re: Duke Univ. Marcellus Study

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Posted on: 2011/5/11 17:59


Re: Duke Univ. Marcellus Study

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I'm surprised people think this some revolutionary finding. Exploration geologist have known about methane in well water for half a century or more.

One of our exercises in petroleum geochemistry involved plotting gas composition of well water on a structure map. Groups were tasked with proposing a wildcat well location and explaining why. The solution was to drill up-dip from water with high concentration, because they indicated a leak-point in the underlying reservoir. Bonus points for identifying structural closure and distinguishing the oil vs gas prone prospects. Cool thing about the exercise, its exactly how one of the largest oil fields in the Permian basin was discovered: by testing rancher's well water for dissolved gasses.

PA has different geology then W. TX of course but its generally agreed among geochemists that the source of most if not all the oil and gas in the state is from Devonian shales, Marcellus being just one of a half dozen or so. Highest gas concentrations roughly follow the natural fracture trends, which are, coincidentally, favored areas for hydraulic fracturing.

Its a fair question though. Does this new technology make things worse, about the same or better?

Posted on: 2011/5/11 20:34
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Re: Duke Univ. Marcellus Study

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Quote:

franklin wrote:
When I couple this with the Cornell report that claims coal has less impact on global warming then gas, I have to wonder if the science departments changed to political science since I went to school?


I think he was told to stop using university resources for his personal agenda or face disciplinary action. His conclusions have also been held up in the peer review process. Last I heard he was on his 9th re-write of the abstract.

Posted on: 2011/5/11 20:48
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Re: Duke Univ. Marcellus Study

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All but one of their samples from active extraction sites was from nearby Dimock. Of the ones near Dimock all but one were concentrated in a small area, a line about 4 - 5 KM long. So of about 26 samples (it's hard to tell exactly how many, they don't say and you have to try to total up marks on a map and a graph) 24 seem to be concentrated in a very small geographic area.

Anyone want to bet that the water wells that were reported in the Gasland documentary is smack in the middle of the sample set?

Posted on: 2011/5/11 23:58


Re: Duke Univ. Marcellus Study

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Thanks troutbert. It's still not the actual peer reviewed article I'm looking for, but its definitely better than the cnn article.

Franklin, if what you're saying is true, then no question its a biased study. I'm just tryin to verify. Do you have a source?

Gone4Day, thanks, good info as always. I do have a question. I am aware that the gas can be chemically traced to a formation, likely even to an area within a formation. But I'm not sure how specific they can get. For instance, if 2 wells are 3 miles apart and tapping the same shale formation, could you chemically determine which exact well the gas came from?

In any case, the whole situation becomes a circular argument. If gas in aquifers is the result of natural fissures, and gas companies target these fissures, then of course there's going to be more gas in aquifers near gas wells. They chose those areas to drill because there's more gas in aquifers. For any sort of conclusion, you have to have before and after tests from the same wells.

Posted on: 2011/5/12 8:21


Re: Duke Univ. Marcellus Study

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You can find the abstract for the paper, and a link to the full text, here:
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/05/02/1100682108

Posted on: 2011/5/12 8:41


Re: Duke Univ. Marcellus Study

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Quote:

pcray1231 wrote:
Thanks troutbert. It's still not the actual peer reviewed article I'm looking for, but its definitely better than the cnn article.

Franklin, if what you're saying is true, then no question its a biased study. I'm just tryin to verify. Do you have a source?

Gone4Day, thanks, good info as always. I do have a question. I am aware that the gas can be chemically traced to a formation, likely even to an area within a formation. But I'm not sure how specific they can get. For instance, if 2 wells are 3 miles apart and tapping the same shale formation, could you chemically determine which exact well the gas came from?

In any case, the whole situation becomes a circular argument. If gas in aquifers is the result of natural fissures, and gas companies target these fissures, then of course there's going to be more gas in aquifers near gas wells. They chose those areas to drill because there's more gas in aquifers. For any sort of conclusion, you have to have before and after tests from the same wells.


The paper goes into details on how they conclude if methane in samples came from shallow or deep deposits. Most of the paper discusses the sample analysis not any detailed statistics relating to sample sites. I'd like to see the actual site data. How many different gas wells are associated with water sample sites? Why wasn't the testing conducted across a wider geographic area?

If you look at their chart on methane concentration for active extraction sites vs non-active maybe 60% of the active sites are of concern and the rest have similar methane concentrations as non-active sites. Which of the locations were the high concentration sites and which are the lower ones? They don't detail. What if all the high concentration sites are centered in one small location that they sampled? I'd like to know.

Posted on: 2011/5/12 9:16


Re: Duke Univ. Marcellus Study

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Here are some quotes from the Bloomberg article I linked:

"Water wells within 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) of gas drilling had 17 times more methane than more distant wells, according to the findings."

"The researchers tested 68 sites across five counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania and New York. Gases such as methane, ethane and propane were found in the water at 85 percent of the sites tested. The concentrations were higher the closer the samples were taken to gas drilling sites.

Researchers found that some of the gas sampled from the water wells originated from the same deep rock tapped by gas drillers, as opposed to the gas that naturally seeps from shallower formations. Those samples showed “specifically matching natural gas geochemistry from local gas wells,” the researchers said in their paper."

Posted on: 2011/5/12 9:44


Re: Duke Univ. Marcellus Study

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Thank you troutbert, thats what I was looking for.

At first glance, from Figure 1, about half of the "near well" sampling sites were near Dimock. And from Figure 3, about half of the "near well" sites were elevated with methane, with the others showing no elevated methane.

Gong a little deeper, they break it down a lot by formation. Comparing Figure 2 and Figure 1, and the text, it looks to me like the Lockhaven formation wells are in Bradford County, the Genessee formation is in New York, and the Catskill formation is in Susquehanna, Wayne, and Lackawanna Counties. Well over half of the Catskill formation wells are located very close to Dimock.

Table 1 is very telling. In the Genesee formation, they tested both active and nonactive sites, and found no methane increase in active sites. However, there is only 1 data point from active sites, so you don't know how to take that.

Lockhaven formation methane levels were fairly high, but they tested no "non active" data points there, so you have no idea if this is enriched or not, could be just natural. Thus, throughout the article, any reader should simply ignore the value of the Lockhaven formation.

The only place where there's any real result is, predicably, in the Catskill formation. It shows enrichment of methane in "active" sites was the Catskill formation. As this is an average, and they don't give data for individual sites, it is very possible/likely that ALL of this enrichment is due to the Dimock sites.

Further, in Figure 4A, examining the Catskill sites, there is a clear group of wells in the Catskill formation enriched with gas, and a clear group that is not enriched. Remember, again, that the "active" wells in the Catskill formation were a group of wells near Dimock, and then a few outside of that area. Figure 4B splits em up by type of gas, and there is a clear cluster of the Catskill sites, which indicates that these increases likely come from one location. Then there are some random scatter, which likely comes from the unenriched sites farther from Dimock.

It is impossible to tell if they found any clearly enriched sites outside of the Dimock area. But a reader must conclude from the data that ALL of the enrichment may have come from a small area near Dimock. This group of sites skews the average, so when averages are taken, the "active" sites are enriched when compared with the "non active" sites.

It is pretty much proof that in Dimock, the contamination is likely from drilling activity, which I think we all knew anyway. But I'd take nothing from it, for good or bad, regarding other wells.

Posted on: 2011/5/12 9:45



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