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« Build it right | Main | The El »

Jun 07, 2012


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Well, yes, the bill is at the behest of the drilling companies. Why make them wait?

Might be a good time to stock up on water filters.


I am not shocked, its all about the money with our elected officials in our capital. I researched a few states and all have had problems with fracking. I hope the ones that voted for fracking will drink the water in the area, but I think they will stick with deer park water.

Bill Bush

Let the job creation begin, as soon as we're sure all tax breaks accrue to the drillers and all environmental costs get put on the taxpayers. I just love these public-private partnerships. Or is that legislature-lobbyist tongue-wrestling?

David Boyd

Why would gas prices being low benefit the drillers?

Ed Cone

DB -- because they can peg the lease rates to the current prices?

Andrew Brod

My guess is that lease rates will be reckoned rather like royalties, i.e. as a function of the price of the extracted resource. Energy prices are notoriously volatile, and few people would lock them into a contract without also doing a whole lot of hedging.

David Boyd

What AB said is my understanding of how these are set up. The land owner is paid a percentage based on current value.

With gas prices low, supplies high and storage full, producers are shutting wells down. They want prices high. I imagine they'd be more than happy to write big checks to land owners as it would mean they'd be getting big checks themselves.


I got a better question, NC is in a drought and recent years have been the same. Where is all the water going to come from. My math is better ten my spelling, it takes about 1 to 8 million gallons of water per well.


Sal, what specific instances can you cite about other states fracking problems?

Ed Cone

A royalty structure might mean even less need to rush -- why hurry to sell the (possibly meager) supplies into a depressed market?

Two years of study and decision-making seems like a plan, as long they actually take the work seriously.

Hugh, there have been plenty of problems reported in PA.

Overall, one hears that fracking can be done safely ... if it's done safely. So that's why I'd like to see NC take its time and make sure we don't get rolled.


Ed, problems reported or reports with evidence?

PA and NC are two different types of geology. I have no issues with what's being done in PA but think NC should be very careful as the depth to hydrocarbon horizons in the slate belt vary from the surface to 2,500'. In PA there is several thousand feet of impermeable rock between the production layer and the water table.

Here in NC there's anywhere from Zero to only a couple of thousand feet and with a more fractured rock type separating the production horizon from the water tables.

Lots of room for a royal SNAFU if not fracked with the greatest of care.


There have been problems in Dimock, PA and other states. I am all for money coming into the state but once the damage is done, well it's done. There is to much risk with fracking that I just don't know if it is worth it. I see Hugh that you know that our geology is different from PA, but our environment is not something I want to gamble with. Hugh, you seem like a smart guy so just ask yourself if you are welling to drink any water near a fracking accident.




Billy Jones

Well, if nothing else, my 10 plus years of blogging has taught me that the worst possible decision will be the most likely outcome when politics are involved. Frankly, the water supply of the City of Greensboro is safe from any possible fracking contamination real or imagined so why should I give a shit?

And when rural neighbors start shooting at one another over polluted wells I'll just yell, "Duck!"

Hugh, you're starting to sound like a liberal. ;-)


Did you have the same concerns about getting the facts right first when the Obama health care plan was passed?

I recall at the time we were told that we had to pass it first in order to find out what was in it.

Your criticism here seems like it would also apply to the way the health care bill was handled.

I do agree with Andrew on the pricing. My knowledge of oil and gas law is rusty, but I did take the course in law school because it was on the Texas bar exam. My recollection is that most of the income from leases comes from royalties.

I do think that waiting for two years until safeguards are in place isn't rushing things through. In fact it would appear that your chief complaint is about safeguards. They are being addressed so I'm not sure what the constant whining is about.



...so I'm not sure what the constant whining is about.

It's all they have. And they sense it is all they are likely to have for some time.



Ginia Zenke

"The only way you'll know is by actually punching down some wells"
Sounds a lot like:
"The only way you'll know what's in the bill is to pass the bill"
Kinda familiar...and just as problematic.

Ginia Zenke

Sorry Spag, didn't mean to echo; I just scanned and shot from the hip. You got it right first.

Ed Cone

Hugh, that issue of NC's specific geology vs other places where fracking is done is something I've wondered about a lot, thanks for the detail and the point about water safety.

That's exactly the kind of thing we need to figure out in the next couple of years.


Their are general issues in addition to NC's specific geology that NCer's would be wise to consider seriously. For example see ND:

Gallons Of Drilling Waste Around North Dakota

But Keller, a natural resource manager for the Army Corps of Engineers, has seen a more ominous effect of the boom, too: Oil companies are spilling and dumping drilling waste onto the region's land and into its waterways with increasing regularity.

This goes to enforcement and regulation infrastructure and costs.


A sort of inconvenient truth for those that deny that injection wells used to dispose of fracking waste are safe.

Scientific American - June 21, 2012

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