Just The Facts: University of Pitt. Prof. Sets the Record Straight on Hydraulic Fracturing

Just The Facts: University of Pitt. Prof. Sets the Record Straight on Hydraulic Fracturing
Positive benefits created by fracture stimulation technology continue to pour in from coast to coast

In an interview with KDKA radio’s Mike Pintet, Professor Radisav Vidic of the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, sets the record straight on hydraulic fracturing – the 60 year-old energy stimulation technology that has been safely used to produced domestic oil and gas over 1.1 million times. Dr. Vidic, who holds a Ph.D. in environmental engineering, underscores hydraulic fracturing’s tight regulations and long and clear record of environmental safety.

On Hydraulic Fracturing’s Clear, Long Record of Protecting Groundwater: “There hasn’t been any proven case”

  • There hasn’t been any proven case that shows that the hydraulic fracturing itself causes contamination to groundwater. First of all, the well casing — the way it’s designed to be used — there’s multiple barriers there through the aquifer so there’s really no communication between the material that’s injected into the well and a groundwater aquifer. … This water is injected at a 8,000 feet depth so the chances of this water coming up all the way to the surface is very small simply.”

On Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Disclosure: “Go on the DEP’s website”

  • You can go on the DEP website, and there is a list chemicals that are being used in hydro fracturing operation. This list contains a total of I think about 78 chemicals. But you have to understand not all of them are used on every well, every time. This is a list of all the chemicals that are ever being used in the hydrofracturing operation. A subset of those chemicals are used on each well depending on which company is doing it and what is their technology, and approach to hydro fracturing the well. The industry is required to disclose this information, and the DEP has a list of all the chemicals that are being used for hydro fracturing operations.”

On GasLand Claims About Flaming Faucets: “It’s not caused by drilling”

  • It’s not caused by the drilling, it’s caused by the methane that’s coming from some place.”

What are others saying about domestic oil and natural gas production enabled by hydraulic fracturing? We’re glad you asked.





  • Without fracture stimulation, ND’s economic boon wouldn’t be happening: “Hydraulic fracturing — or frac’ing — also is used for natural gas, and it’s controversial. The fluid is mostly water, but it also contains about one-half percent chemicals. Despite industry assurances, environmental groups worry frac’ing is polluting groundwater, and they want more regulation. Some even want an outright ban. But without this technology, the boom in North Dakota wouldn’t be happening.” (NRP, 8/18/10)
  • Hydraulic fracturing helping to create hundreds of jobs in rural Pa.: “New York State lawmakers made a grand show of Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale gas drilling procedures last week. They held our state up as an example of what not to do in a recession and inferred the state is selling its environment out so that it can generate the economy the gas drilling brings. To our friends to the north we would say that sword holds a double edge. … This past week the Sun-Gazette reported on the rapid growth of the cement mixing Halliburton plant off Route 405 in Clinton Township, where ground was broken a year ago. By year’s end there will be about 100 jobs, and there are projections that the plant will eventually employ 400 people. Plants with 400 jobs especially new ones aren’t plentiful in our region. (Williamsport Sun-Gazette Editorial, 8/15/10)
  • Shale drilling could become an economic gusher for Michigan: “The $1.2 billion-a-year oil and gas industry is a modest player in Michigan’s economy, but the situation could change because the shale-rich Great Lakes State could be sitting atop the next in-demand natural resource, experts said. Advances in technology and $3-a-gallon gasoline have made deep-seated shale oil more accessible and desirable, they said. … The industry’s fortunes took a turn for the better when the state sold $178 million in leasing fees in a single auction in May. That equaled the total amount of money the state has collected in leasing fees since the 1920s, a telltale sign that interest in shale drilling is heating up. (Detroit News, 8/18/10)
  • Roustabouts wanted as companies rush to drill for gas: “Workers looking for jobs in the region’s booming natural gas industry may try their hand as a “roustabouts” — general laborers who work physically grueling 12-hour shifts for 14 consecutive days in all kinds of weather to build and remove drilling pads and assist production. “It’s demanding labor, working long stretches without days off. You have to be ready to do quality work and do it a long time. Once they start production, they don’t stop,” said Richard Guenther, an employee relations specialist with Chesapeake Energy Corp. in Mt. Morris, Greene County. Pay can range from $10 to $20 an hour, plus overtime. (Tribune-Review, 8/18/10)
  • 1 million wells have been fractured without a single case of documented harm to groundwater: “Water is mixed with sand and some chemicals and then pumped at high pressure into the well bore to shatter the Bakken shale formation, which can be as hard as a driveway. The “fracking” creates fissures that free up trapped oil and natural gas to flow up to the well bore. … Increasingly refined hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques have doubled Montana’s oil-and-gas production, Richmond said. In the United States, approximately 35,000 wells are “fracked” each year and 1 million wells have been developed without documented harm to groundwater, he said. … Oil in the Bakken lies well below groundwater supplies. (Billings Gazette, 8/14/10)
  • Marcellus Shale’s economic impact is growing: “Marcellus Shale drilling is still in its infancy in West Virginia, but the industry is already contributing millions of dollars to the state’s economy. It may be awhile before the gas industry’s economic impact rivals that of coal in West Virginia. Mike Shaver, clad in a hard hat and muddy boots, surveys a gas drilling rig on a site in Upshur County. As a crew drills towards the Marcellus Shale, a pipe pumps water and dirt out of the hole in the earth and into a huge pit of muddy, rock-filled water. Shaver looks at the water, trying to determine how much farther the drill has to go before reaching shale gas. (Huntington Herald Dispatch, 8/14/10)
  • Fracturing enabling a “transformative opportunity”, says. fmr. Gov. Ridge: “Former Gov. Tom Ridge this afternoon called Marcellus Shale gas production a “transformative opportunity” for Pennsylvania during an appearance Downtown in his new role as a strategic adviser to an industry group. Still dressed in the jeans and checkered shirt that he wore to inspect production operations in Washington County earlier in the day, Mr. Ridge hailed the industry’s economic potential but also stressed the need to manage environmental concerns. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 8/17/10)
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