AllEnergy Sand: Fracking Myths & Why They’re Wrong
It’s estimated that by 2020 the United States will surpass Saudi Arabia in energy production largely thanks to advancements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. The world’s largest consumer of energy will eventually become an exporter. The U.S. is already well on the way, meeting energy needs with natural gas extracted from our own continent.
Sounds great right?
Not to everyone.
Fracking is a controversial topic that draws criticism both fair and unfair. Several myths about fracking propagate the internet. Popular films on the subject have proven misleading and served to further polarize a country along political lines.
AllEnergy Sand works in direct support of the movement towards energy independence. The sand producer supplies raw material used in the release of oil and natural gas from shale deep within the Earth. A mixture of sand and water is pumped at high pressure during the fracking process. The sand holds open small cracks made in the rock so that oil and gas may flow.
We invited AllEnergy Sand CEO Dean Sukowatey to examine some of the anti-fracking propaganda which circulate the web:
Fracking Is A New Experimental Procedure
Energy companies have been extracting natural gas from shale since the 1940’s. If you listen to some, fracking is discussed like a new science experiment being tested on local communities.
Not the case.
Fracking has been around for over 70 years and so have the safety measures designed to protect the environment.
In his Times column about the environmental effects of fracking; author Matt Ridley refuses to call it the fracking debate preferring shale gas debate. Shale gas something being mined around the world at an estimated 2.2 million locations.
While fracking is nothing new, some of the technology being used is says Ridley The advancement of horizontal drilling technique has allowed companies to maximize the amount of gas they recover from rock formations. Instead of drilling straight down, an engineer now may guide his drill bit sideways, towards valuable pockets of methane.
The industry has come a long way in 70 years, but capturing natural gas deposits trapped within shale formations is nothing new.
Fracking Causes Earthquakes
The Los Angeles Times ran story titled, “Did ‘fracking’ play role in L.A. earthquake” following a March 17th earthquake that rattled the area. Several council members are cited in the piece for having concerns that fracking was the cause behind the seismic activity.
The claim that fracking causes major earthquakes is unfounded.
“I think people are trying to take advantage of a naturally occurring incident in order to attack our industry,” said California Independent Petroleum Association CEO Rock Zierman. “When fracking fluid is pumped at high pressure it does cause small, nearly unmeasurable seismic events, but nothing in the ballpark of an earthquake.”
Stanford University Geophysicist Mark Zoback compared the energy released during one of these “quakes” to a “gallon of milk hitting the floor after falling off the kitchen counter.”
Fracking Fluid Contains 500 Unknown Chemicals
“Fracking fluid is 99.5% water and sand. The rest is composed of chemicals you find in any household,” says Dean Sukowatey, CEO of AllEnergy Sand.
AllEnergy Sand supplies one of the two basic compounds in fracking fluid by the train load. In an effort to reduce the environmental footprint of his company, Sukowatey transports raw material by conveyor belt and rail car, eliminating the need for diesel burning trucks. It’s the AllEnergy non-trucking model of mining.
The fracking boom in the United States (one million sites and counting) has increased demand and awareness for the material that composes fracking fluid.
Sand and water are obvious commodities, but what else goes in to fracking fluid?
Chemicals commonly found in fracking fluid include: citric acid, guar, isopropanol, sodium carbonate and ammonium bisulphite. These are compounds you’ll find in orange juice, ice cream, deodorant, detergent and makeup. Not exactly mysterious chemicals.
“There’s great incentive within the industry for us to operate with complete transparency and cooperate with the EPA. We face serious fines, civil damages and harm to our reputation if we take shortcuts. That is not who we are. We’re a company you’ll know, like and trust,” says Dean Sukowatey.
Sukowatey is working with the DNR to insure the preservation of wetlands in Trempealeau County, Wisconsin. The successful working partnership between state and private business setting an example for the rest of the industry.
The DNR issued their approval to AllEnergy on January 6th of this year.
“I applaud the DNR’s exercise and AllEnergy’s commitment to protecting our local wetlands,” says Ron Tuschner, the Chairman of the Arcadia Board of Supervisors. “This process should serve as a model for state-private cooperation to achieve business development in an environmentally friendly manner.”
Fracking Makes Tap Water Flammable
In 2014 it’s easy to be fooled by an internet hoax. Video of a man in North Dakota lighting his tap water on fire went viral gaining hundreds of thousands of views late last year. The man insinuates that mining in the area was to blame for a high concentration of methane in the water.
YouTube and Twitter commentators pounced on the story. Too bad it wasn’t true.
Elevated levels of methane in tap water is cause for concern, but has nothing to do with hydraulic fracturing. In fact, the old light the tap water on fire trick has been around for years.
According to Dr. Michael Economides from the University of Houston ground water contamination from fracking is physically impossible.
Drillers bore down through thousands of feet of rock, well below water aquifers from which tap water originates. In order to contaminate the water supply, fracking fluid would have to flow upwards, through millions of tons of impenetrable rock, defying gravity in the mean time.
People are lighting their tap water on fire and it’s a scary trick. Fracking has nothing to do with it.
The plethora of cheap natural gas being made available for consumption is a hot button topic. There are legitimate questions to be answered. Advancing an agenda by misrepresenting facts works against the overall goal of both energy and environmentalists. By working together with regulators energy companies and their supporters aim to appease both sides of the argument.
“We have worked hard to develop a plan that benefits local jobs and commerce while meeting and exceeding out responsibilities as environmental stewards,” Dean Sukowatey said on behalf of AllEnergy Sand.