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Re: Another Marcellus Shale Explosion

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From North Central PA
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fish it while you can... I'm sure it will be fine, right? I mean BIG BROTHER is always watching out for the little guy.. just look at BP. Helping all the good folk of the Gulf Coast!!!

(see sarcasm)

Posted on: 2010/6/20 17:28
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Re: Another Marcellus Shale Explosion

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That's a pretty bold statement. PA is unique with it geology, and this is new for here, so as of yet I am not sold that this stuff will forever be isolated.


No, not new. Just deeper than before (and thus much more frac fluid). There are already hundreds of thousands of non-Marcellus gas wells in this state, and many of them were indeed frac'd many years ago.

There are places where Marcellus comes close to the surface, but in these places, drilling is no different at all than the traditional shallow gas wells we have. Most of the places where we are drilling for Marcellus, we're talking a mile deep. Twice our elevation, i.e. way below sea level. Yes, 80% of the water may stay in the ground, but remember these wells are horizontal at depth, well over 80% of the hole volume is at full depth.

So saying it'll naturally migrate upwards to our water table is just not correct. This stuff isn't going to travel upwards above sea level through cracks in the rocks or anything. I wouldn't be shocked, though, if it ended up in the deep oceans somewhere.

But that doesn't mean there aren't problems, I'm not trying to paint it that way. We drill a big hole in the ground and then pressurize it. In other words, we give it the force and the path that it otherwise lacks to find its way into our aquifers. We're relying wholely on these casings to protect our water. With it come all kinds of questions. Are they thick enough? Did they make them deep enough? The answer to these is probably yes the vast majority of the time, but when you drill 10's of thousands of them, laws of probability say its gonna go bad on occasion. As we see with the BP spill in the gulf, your success rate may be 99.99%, but a single failure can have impacts so great it makes it all not worthwhile.

Posted on: 2010/6/21 9:05


Re: Another Marcellus Shale Explosion

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2010/5/3 14:18
From Potter County
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pcray,

It almost sounds like you are getting your info from the gas companies, or working for them, or both.

Do some searching and read some of the scientific studies/info that's been published somewhat recently on this process and the projected effects. Also, read into what has happened in Colorado (fracking fluids found in aquafers (surface) as far as 38 miles away from the closest well sites). I know PA's geology is different, which is one of the biggest problems, because it hasn't been done here, so we really don't know what will happen.

You can also check out how this drilling has caused problems in Dimock and other communities in the N. Tier already by allowing migration of fluids and methane through the water tables. (Which is common EVERYWHERE that the deep fracking has been done)

To assume that these companies are doing this responsibily is a dangerous take on things. It seems like they are cutting any corner they can get away with to save money.

It's scary stuff. Fear-mongering is the second worse thing we could do in this situation, next to telling folks "it's gonna be alright" based on info. we either don't have or is false.

Posted on: 2010/6/21 9:35


Re: Another Marcellus Shale Explosion

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Quote:
Even the most straightforward assurance about the hydraulic fracturing process - that aquifers are protected from fracturing by thousands of feet of layered, solid rock - is not as certain as the industry insists, Dr. Ingraffea, of Cornell, said.

Although he does agree that the chance of contamination through those layers is minuscule, he also knows from experience that the work to predict and measure where fractures go is necessarily inexact, and the rock "unfortunately" is not solid or impermeable.

To say that hydraulic fracturing contamination through direct communication with an aquifer is impossible is "nonsense," he said.

"To say that it is inevitable is nonsense. "We're dealing with a highly probabilistic underground system, where nobody knows, no one can ever know, exactly the geology that's down there, exactly the geometry of what's down there."


Pcray. I hope you are correct. But not everyone agrees with your assessment (see above) that there is potentially no migration route. We just don't know. I do agree though that human error is a bigger potential problem.

Text lifted from here.

Posted on: 2010/6/21 9:38


Re: Another Marcellus Shale Explosion

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Slate Drake,

You're missing my point. I am not saying that we won't see situations where frac fluid/methane contaminate aquifers, I'm saying we will, and some of those will be very damaging indeed. All I'm saying is that your idea of HOW it gets there is off base. Exactly how this makes me an apologist I'm not sure. Just trying to give facts, as I see em. I am an engineer. I don't work for any drilling companies, though I do have a minor level of involvement with them (about the same as I have with the wind and nuclear industries).

The part where you are wrong is in stating that it hasn't been done here. We've been fracking wells right here in PA for decades. The difference with Marcellus is the depth, and the horizontal drilling part. i.e. the hole is a whole lot bigger, thus it takes a whole lot more fluid to fill it, and a whole lot more pressure to frac it.

The fact that the fracturing is many times deeper actually lessens the chances that the fluid will find its way to the surface via natural faults. It's still not a zero % chance, you're right about that. But its sufficiently smaller than the likelihood that fluid will find its way to aquifers via human error or equipment failures nearer the surface. It's just so far below the water table that the chances of a natural fault to the surface are extremely slim, and even if there were, there is no upward force provided to get it there. But in the hole itself, we do pressurize it during fracing operations, and then it is either pressurized by gas or pumped thereafter. This means we give it the force necessary to go up the hole while fracking is going on, and it indeed does, as evidenced by the "gusher" in the Clearfield County incident. The higher pressures involved with Marcellus wells means that equipment failures on or near the surface (pipe bursts, cap failures, well casing failures, etc) are more likely.

Surface spills (busted pipes, etc.), cracked or misengineered well casings, etc. do indeed occur. These things are how frac fluid and methane can end up in an aquifer. On a % basis, the likelihood is low. Better engineering than we're getting can make it lower. But nomatter what the % is, we're putting enough wells in that even low % issues ARE GOING TO HAPPEN.

Yes, once in the aquifer, the stuff can travel many miles and pollute water sources far from the initial leak. That's what aquifers do, they move water underground for many miles.

Posted on: 2010/6/21 10:15


Re: Another Marcellus Shale Explosion

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2009/4/4 8:58
From Reading
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Slate Drake thank you for your response to Pcray. You saved me a long response that probably would have ruffled his feathers.


Pcray after following this post and many like it the past few months it was very obvious to me and I am sure many others on this site your connection to the gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. In fact I figured you were probably an engineer. You see I to am from Reading and I have a good friend who is an engineer who spends a tremendous amount of time up north working with the gas drilling companies. In fact he is only home on the weekends. He is a great guy and we have had many a conversation about what is happening up there. Basically he has a different opinion about the state of drilling in the area than you do. I think he used the word "Ticking time bomb" to describe the mix of the unknown, the drilling itself, and of course usual cost cutting of corners by the the gas companies. He can't wait to get out of there because as he puts it he feels guilty as hell with his roll in everything. Not the best time to switch jobs considering the economy, but he is working on it. Heck he may even work with you! I have a feeling that you are more involved than you are letting on. Or the firm you work for is!

You see Pcray you talk a good game and you seem very intelligent with all your figures and numbers but there is one very important thing missing.... That is a little common sense! Throw away all your numbers and you still have the probability to harm the environment beyond repair. Don't insult me and others on this site with your slim chances of a major event happening!! I am sure they said the same thing in the Gulf.

I don't have the answer to our nations energy dependence. I think we need to slow way down up there. New York has not allowed this type of drilling to be done until they have all the facts... Why can't we? The answer to that is easy Money and Greed. Wake up pcray!

Posted on: 2010/6/21 11:19


Re: Another Marcellus Shale Explosion

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I am friends with pcray, as are many of us here. He's just giving his opinion on the situation. To try to claim that he's astroturfing is nuts.

Posted on: 2010/6/21 11:22


Re: Another Marcellus Shale Explosion

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2009/4/4 8:58
From Reading
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JayL..... Figured you were friends with Pcray. Really don't care. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck. It's a duck.

Posted on: 2010/6/21 11:30


Re: Another Marcellus Shale Explosion

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Quote:

jeff wrote:
JayL..... Figured you were friends with Pcray. Really don't care. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck. It's a duck.



Sooo.... just making insane accusations is how you do things?

Nice to have you around.

"If it walks like a duck..." doesn't make anything you're saying true. It just makes you sound like a fool.

Posted on: 2010/6/21 11:39


Re: Another Marcellus Shale Explosion

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2009/4/4 8:58
From Reading
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Please JayL repost my insane accusations! I for the life of me can't find them.... Sorry if I offended your buddy or ruffled any feathers in the good ol boys club!

Posted on: 2010/6/21 11:48


Re: Another Marcellus Shale Explosion

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From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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Ok, first, I do not work for any drilling company. My job is very loosely related to the drilling industry. I am a metallurgist in R&D at a specialty steel company who is responsible for making new alloys for customers. Basically a customer comes to us and wants an alloy for a specific application. Maybe there is no existing alloy for this application, maybe it doesn't work well enough, maybe its too expensive, etc. Whatever their problem is, we try to solve it. We make new alloys on a small scale, and when one meets the properties we want, we scale it up, and if that succeeds, we give them a sample to see if its what they want. Our business departments also look forward and try to predict future issues, so we are often working on things even before the customer comes to us for help.

Yes, drilling companies are included among our customers, mostly drill collars and bits, but also some piping designed to hold high pressures. Wind turbine manufactures, nuclear reactor builders, national laboratories, solar panel manufacturers, and fuel cell makers are also counted among our customers. And thats just the energy market, which is only a small part of our business. It would be wrong for me to say we don't have a dog in this fight, because it a roundabout way it does effect us. But it would be more correct to say we have all the dogs that are in this fight. We win nomatter who wins the energy race. And it spills over into other industries. For instance, auto manufacturers, in their quest to cut weight for better fuel economy without decreasing performance, put more and more stress on less and less material, meaning they need better materials. Thats where I come in.

Second, you act like I'm stating there are not inherent dangers. Reread my post! I'm claiming the dangers you are discussing are correct! I'm agreeing with you here on the impacts. All that I'm disagreeing on is how the impacts come to be, not on whether they will happen or how damaging they are.

I find your viewpoint essentially correct. But you are correct despite having an incorrect understanding of how things come to be. An opponent would tear apart your argument in a heartbeat. I am not one of your opponents, I'm just pointing out the weaknesses in your argument.

As far as where my info comes from. I grew up with 3 gas wells in sight of my house, in western PA. My biggest "playground" is the ANF where there's 10's of thousands of wells already existing. I get some info from simply observing the drillers for all my life. As far as Marcellus, I'm getting it from external sources just like you, but I put more weight on the engineering and academia sources and less on the points of view of random columnists and agenda driven organizations. Yes, I get a little of the technical side from the drilling engineers, though I can assure you we are not talking about impacts on the environment, we're talking much more about the stresses involved, corrosive environments, etc. and how it all relates to life-cycle costs.

Posted on: 2010/6/21 11:53


Re: Another Marcellus Shale Explosion

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Pcray I didn't say you worked directly for any drilling company but it was obvious your business has ties to what is going on up there. I have read all your posts and although you say this or that could happen you minimize it with but the probabilty of it happening is minimal. Or the damage wouldn't be that bad or something we couldn't recover from. As for someone picking my arguement apart that may be!! Someone can always come up with probabities and numbers and formulas to back their point or view on the matter. I don't have an engineering degree. I don't pretend to know all the ins and outs or exactly how this could eventually pollute our environment. I just know it could! That is good enough for me and I don't see how that could be picked apart.

Pcray just responding with a little emotion. Nothing personal. Tell JayL I am sorry

Posted on: 2010/6/21 12:13


Re: Another Marcellus Shale Explosion
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Whatever your reason pcray, you do often seem to be defending the industry as well as minimizing the effects it does and can have on the environment. On the one hand, it is refreshing to see you aren't fooled by the alarmist commentary that others buy into hook, line and sinker, but it is also discouraging that it seems to many of us that you may be slow to raise your weapon when the enemy appears on the horizon.

Posted on: 2010/6/21 12:15
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Re: Another Marcellus Shale Explosion

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Quote:

jeff wrote:
Pcray I didn't say you worked directly for any drilling company but it was obvious your business has ties to what is going on up there. I have read all your posts and although you say this or that could happen you minimize it with but the probabilty of it happening is minimal. Or the damage wouldn't be that bad or something we couldn't recover from. As for someone picking my arguement apart that may be!! Someone can always come up with probabities and numbers and formulas to back their point or view on the matter. I don't have an engineering degree. I don't pretend to know all the ins and outs or exactly how this could eventually pollute our environment. I just know it could! That is good enough for me and I don't see how that could be picked apart.

Pcray just responding with a little emotion. Nothing personal. Tell JayL I am sorry


Apology accepted, but unnecessary. There is serious business in the world, but a message board ain't it. I'm going to regulate if anyone makes up rubbish about anyone on this board, and that's what I saw happening.

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Posted on: 2010/6/21 12:29


Re: Another Marcellus Shale Explosion

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The chances for any given well are minimal. The number of wells is huge. Thus the overall chances that it will happen somewhere are pretty good.

Take for instance the gulf oil spill. How many thousands of wells have been drilled in history? 10s of thousands most likely, perhaps hundreds of thousands? The chances of an explosion, followed by the collapse of the platform, resulting in an oil leak have to be astronomically small. 0.00001%. But make enough wells, and it'll happen somewhere, eventually. And if it happens just once, the impact can be severe indeed.

Is 100 years of automobiles, globalization, economic strength, prevention of famine, etc. due to oil worth the negative impacts of spills, drill rigs, and perhaps global warming? Yeah, it probably was. Same could be said of coal, the benefits were probably worth the negatives. That doesn't mean that the impacts are any less painful. It doesn't mean that with better regulations, we couldn't have lessened the impacts and kept the benefits. And it doesn't mean that you don't seek a less painful alternative for the future.

Everything is a cost-benefit analysis. But far more than $ is involved on both sides of that equation. My point of view on Marcellus is that we need more time to figure out the best cost-benefit equation. It is very clearly worth doing, nomatter how you cut it the benefit will be greater than the cost. But there's no rush, the stuff is down there and isn't going anywhere. We should have the luxury of time to figure out how to best minimize the costs. Only allow a few permits at first. Observe them closely, look at what they do right and what they do wrong. Learn from it, and apply it to the next few permits.

Companies are going to go RIGHT NOW if they're allowed. It's not their fault, thats just how the system is set up. If they don't, they'll go out of business and someone else will be setting up a derrick tomorrow. It's government thats supposed to be the ones to slow things down, and they ain't doing their jobs, they've been handing out permits left and right with a rubber stamp. They've got $ in their eyeballs, instead of the well-being of their constituents in their heads.

Posted on: 2010/6/21 12:29



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