December 04, 2009 10:44 AM Eastern Daylight Time
DCBureau.org Releases Investigation into the Natural Gas Drilling Rush in the Marcellus Shale
“The Marcellus Shale: New York is the Natural Gas Industry’s New Lab Rat” examines the financial and environmental conflicts surrounding the largest potential energy source in the continental United States
WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–DCBureau.org’s investigation into the natural gas drilling rush in the Marcellus Shale reveals for the first time that M-I SWACO, the largest drilling fluids company in the world, is licensing new and controversial nanotechnology for potential use by its drilling clients operating in the Marcellus Shale.
“demand the information before a permit can be fully evaluated…”
M-I SWACO is working with University of Texas and Rice University to explore the potential application of nanoparticles in its products used in the Marcellus Shale. These nanotechnologies have been tested only in lab conditions and have not been thoroughly vetted and tested in natural gas wells.
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) does not yet know all the compounds to be pumped under New York to force gas to the surface. The DEC currently has 17 inspectors in its Division of Mineral Resources who have a wide range of duties beyond monitoring drilling company compliance with state laws. If the 17 inspectors did nothing else, each inspector would have to inspect more than one of the 13,687 existing gas and oil wells every day.
With thousands more drilling permits waiting for the moratorium to be lifted and so few inspectors, the financially pressed New York State finds itself asking very well financed drilling companies to reveal details about compounds to be injected into wells, some of which the companies that supply these products argue are trade secrets. In addition, Congress in 2005 exempted chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Yancey Roy, the DEC spokesman, told DCBureau.org that they still do not have the breakdown of at least 40 compounds proposed for use by drilling companies in the Marcellus Shale. Roy said the DEC would “demand the information before a permit can be fully evaluated…” But environmentalists are concerned about the DEC’s ability to monitor what chemicals are being injected into some of New York’s most pristine watershed areas.
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DCBureau.org is a non-profit project staffed by award-winning reporters whose mission is to investigate previously overlooked news stories about significant issues and bring them to the attention of national and international audiences.
Joseph Trento, 202-466-4310