The cause of the quake was traced to an injection well that was used to dispose of water used in hydraulic fracturing, a technology”monly called “fracking” which has enabled increased extraction of natural gas.Stewart described the Youngstown incident as “one operator in one well, but people have tried to paint the industry negatively because of it.”
Environmental impacts also have to be considered in developing shale gas in Ohio and elsewhere. Concerns about groundwater contamination already have been raised in several”munities in the Utica region.
“Drilling and protecting the environment are not mutually exclusive concepts,” Hill said. “I believe in American exceptionalism. Give us any problem and we can solve it.”
Jack Shaner, president of the Columbus-based Ohio Environmental Council, added that he believes Ohio can have shale development that’s mindful of the environment. “There are undeniable benefits from shale,” he said, “but there also are undeniable and serious risks to air and water. We need to choose what we regulate and listen to the concerns of the public.”Natural gas developed from the Utica Shale, however, likely will use new pipelines, rather than older existing ones that would be more likely to leak, according to Robert Chase, a professor of petroleum engineering and geology at Marietta College. But Chase added that Ohio’s shale development “has to be both good for the environment and economically acceptable to”panies.”
Hill also”mented on the 2011 Youngstown quake, calling it “an unfortunate event,” but adding that new regulations have been put in place to prevent a similar occurrence.”Now, to site a class 2 injection well in an area with seismic activity in the past, you have to prove you don’t have the same geological setting,” he said. “Youngstown was a perfect storm of events. It happened and we fixed it.”Overall, speakers at the event gave the impression that the potential of Ohio’s shale gas and oil output is worth taking on these challenges.
“Production is expected to dramatically ramp up in 2014 versus 2013,” said Stewart, “and production will jump faster than others because of the experience from other shale plays.”Our best interest is in the orderly development of this resource. I’m very happy to see it”ing to the state of Ohio.”