INFOGRAPHIC: Shale Wells Are Designed to Protect Groundwater


In every well used to tap into America’s vast shale reserves, millions of pounds of steel and concrete are utilized in multiple layers to isolate the well from groundwater supplies.  These measures, along with strict environmental regulations, help ensure that development of oil and natural gas continues to occur safely and responsibly. Yet despite this proven safety record, some activists opposed to oil and natural gas development have skewed science and data to change the facts, as EID has noted before. Luckily, reality tells a different story.

As the Department of Energy (DOE) explains:

“Hydraulic fracturing …has proven to be a safe and effective stimulation technique. Ground water is protected during the shale gas fracturing process by a combination of the casing and cement that is installed when the well is drilled and the thousands of feet of rock between the fracture zone and any fresh or treatable aquifers.”

And as the University of Michigan highlighted in a recent comprehensive study on shale development, industry is subject to extensive regulations to ensure well integrity. From the study:

“When wells are drilled, completed, or abandoned, drilling companies must abide by regulations that specifically state what efforts that must be undertaken to ensure that no contamination of potable aquifers occurs due to fluid leakage up the wellbore or along the well annulus (exterior of the well casing). These include guidelines for well casing, cementation, and plugging.”

While any instance of well failure leaves room for improvement, industry and regulators alike continue to work hard to ensure this development is happening safely, while also supporting American job creation. Along with updates to state regulations, the industry has also adopted and published a series of recommendations and best practices to reduce potential risks – ensuring this development does not come at the expense of the surrounding environment.

Check out EID’s new infographic — Shale Development and Groundwater Protection — to learn more about how industry is operating to ensure groundwater resources are protected while developing American energy.

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