A Fracking Earthquake?


006thA Fracking Earthquake?

This is just another one of those things the industry doesn’t like the rest of us to talk about. The cloak of secrecy the industry continues would rival any military operation in the world. We do know that they contaminate wells, bring up radioactive water from deep in the earth,  damage the health of both humans and animals, and evidence is stacking up that they cause earthquakes.

It’s kind of interesting to have a business ethics story of this kind. While it is a national tragedy, academically it’s a beauty of a disaster which will change the field of business ethics forever. After all. we now know when the Vice-President is a former CEO of Haliburton and has years of closed door meetings with energy companies, something bad is about to happen. We now know that when the Congress votes to protect a single industry from government from the laws protecting air and water, that industry is going to do something to the air and water. We now know that when the government is prevented from doing studies and overseeing an industry that our information about the effects of that industry will fragmented, often anectdotal and take years before enough evidence is accumulated before action can be taken.

And as usual, we know that it would have been so much better if we knew then what we know now.

James Pilant

Is Fracking Causing Earthquakes? | Crooks and Liars

In Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio and other states, people who have rarely experienced earthquakes in the past are getting used to them as a fairly common phenomenon. This dramatic uptick in tremors is related to drilling for oil and natural gas, several reports find. And the growing popularity of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is in part to blame.

Between 1970 and 2000, there was an average of 20 earthquakes per year within the central and eastern United States. Between 2010 and 2013, there was an average of more than 100 earthquakes annually. A United States Geological Survey released last month summarized research on man-made earthquakes conducted by one of the agency’s geophysicists:

USGS scientists have found that at some locations the increase in seismicity coincides with the injection of wastewater in deep disposal wells. Much of this wastewater is a byproduct of oil and gas production and is routinely disposed of by injection into wells specifically designed for this purpose.

So, the actual hydraulic fracturing process itself is not to blame in these cases; instead, it’s the injection of wastewater into deep wells that accompanies it.

Hydraulic fracturing produces a higher volume of wastewater than traditional drilling — as the name implies, drillers use millions of gallons of high-pressure water, sand and chemicals to break apart rock and release gas trapped in pockets in the earth. The wastewater generated is often contaminated with salt or poisonous chemicals, and environmental regulations bar drilling companies from allowing it to mix with drinking water; oftentimes, the most economical way for these companies to  dispose of it is to sequester it deep in the ground, below aquifers. Once there, it changes pressure underground and lubricates fault lines, with the potential effect of causing earthquakes.

In both Texas and Oklahoma, the number of earthquakes per year has increased ten-fold. And wells storing wastewater from fracking have also been linked to hundreds of earthquakes near Youngstown, Ohio.

Is Fracking Causing Earthquakes? | Crooks and Liars.

From around the web.

From the web site, Akron Dave.

http://akrondave.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/fracking-suspected-as-cause-of-texas-earthquakes/

A group of residents of a small Texas community traveled to the state capital to protest hydraulic fracturing, “fracking,” in their community that is being blamed for about 30 earthquakes since November.

This follows reports of earthquakes near Youngstown, Ohio, last year that were linked to fracking wells, which led the usually business-friendly Gov. John Kasich to order the operation to shut down.

If Texas quakes are like the Ohio seismic activity, the problem could be the injection of fracking wastewater into the ground near a fault line. Geologists say the liquid can create “slippage” in faults, which triggers the quakes.

The fact that fracking has helped dramatically reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil and natural gas makes shutting down fracking operations highly unpopular in some circles. But when the earth is shaking under your feet, you gotta take it seriously.

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this.

Hydraulic Fracking and Earthquakes?


Does Hydraulic Fracturing Trigger Earthquakes?

Here’s a quote from the article entitled as above –

English: Hanging wall vs Foot wall - faults ar...

Image via Wikipedia

While the presence of a fault line in this region of the United States can be an apt explanation for the 5.6 magnitude Oklahoma earthquake, what about the sudden rise in seismic activity here? Between 1972 to 2008, an average of 2-6 earthquakes were recorded in the state of Oklahoma every year. In 2009, the number of earthquakes recorded reached 50, and further increased to a whopping 1047 in 2010. One cannot ignore the fact that more than a thousand drilling wells and more than a hundred injection wells have cropped up in this region over the course of time. Back in August itself, the region experienced a series of tremors, all ranging between the magnitude of 1 and 2.5, and now the 5.6 magnitude quake. While environmentalists are citing the link between hydraulic fracturing and earthquakes to oppose such projects, those in this business refute these allegations as baseless.

Does Hydraulic Fracturing Trigger Earthquakes?

Does hydraulic fracturing cause earthquakes? From what I have read so far, it would appear possible that fracking may have a lot to do with small earthquakes and may cause thousands of tiny almost insignificant earthquakes.

Having grown up in Oklahoma, I can’t help but recall that there was virtually never an earthquake. However, that they are much more common now is weak evidence that hydraulic fracking is the cause. If there is a pattern of fracking related earthquakes we will soon have measurable data. Both earthquakes and hydraulic fracking are trackable by geography, and patterns, if forming, should become visible.

Let us consider, however, what the effect of thousands of small quakes will be in a state like Oklahoma. What will the effects be? Generally they will be imperceptible one at a time. It seems to me though that bridges, roads and large concrete and stone structures are likely to take damage as the small insults multiply. How much damage? I have no idea. California has many small earthquakes a year. Maybe they have some data.

One thing is clear. Fracking should have been studied in depth before any large amount was done. There should now be continuous studies and a large tax laid upon the industry to finance both studies and regulation.

James Pilant

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Japan to fire top nuclear officials in wake of disaster (via 1 Real News)


This disaster happened in March. Virtually everything you can think of went wrong and now, they fire people. I’m not impressed. Once it became obvious that the people in charge were grossly incompetent, it might have been better to fire them immediately than waiting for months for what is apparently a better political climate.

James Pilant

Japan to fire top nuclear officials in wake of disaster ReutersAugust 4, 2011Japan will replace three senior bureaucrats in charge of nuclear power policy, the minister overseeing energy policy said on Thursday, five months after the world’s worst atomic crisis in 25 years erupted at Fukushima.The move comes as Prime Minister Naoto Kan calls for enhanced nuclear safety accountability and an overhaul of Japan’s energy policy, with the aim of gradually weaning it off its dependence on nuclear power as p … Read More

via 1 Real News

Japan considers stress tests for nuclear reactors (via Financial Post | Business)


This is certainly a classic case of closing the barn door after the animal has fled. Yet, the measure is probably no going to pass, even in the face of solid evidence that the plant was already in partial meltdown from the earthquake before the tsunami hit.

James Pilant

TOKYO – Japan’s government is considering conducting stress tests on nuclear reactors to ease safety concerns which have blocked the restart of idled reactors since the March quake and tsunami, including several that have completed maintenance and complied with new, stiffer safety standards. Japan is struggling with a drawn-out crisis after meltdowns at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi atomic plant, site of the world’s worst nuclear incident in 25 … Read More

via Financial Post | Business

9.1 – Nuclear Energy Continued (via nimerd)


There are a lot of questions that need to be asked about Congress’ decision to increas the United States’ reliance on nuclear power.

There’s no question in my mind that the power plants are going to built either with private money or private money guaranteed by the treasury. The second course is the one chosen by the government.

Congress has acted to guarantee loans used to build these plants and indemnified the industry from damages over a certain point.

It doen not give one faith in the financial security of such an investment or the safety of the plants. But that’s how it’s going to be done.

The author is asking some important questions. Please read his post.

James Pilant

A few weeks back I blogged about the post-tsunami nuclear meltdown in Japan, and predicted it would impact the use of nuclear energy worldwide. However, a month after the event, this does not appear to be the case. An article from an investment article I read today cited several prominent nuclear energy companies in several countries, including the US and Japan, that are saying they will continue to use nuclear energy as usual. Japan, which curre … Read More

via nimerd

The view from Fukushima (via Bolsoversion)


The view from on the ground in Fukushima.

I will admit I don’t care much for the “fear mongering label.” Japan is likely hour to hour to experience a nuclear crisis more severe than what they have now. This is fact. An unfortunate fact but still a fact.

James Pilant

Following the terrible tragedy in Japan and having a big soft spot for the country and its people, I thought I’d re-post something my good friend Becky Dokmanovic recently wrote. She’s been living in Japan for the last four years and has fallen head-over-heels in love with the place. Naturally the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami has touched her in ways those of us looking in from the outside will never know. Her words really move … Read More

via Bolsoversion