Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Oil Co. No Fault

In the past few weeks an unknown cause has produced a puzzling syndrome in the area, a series of small earthquakes. Today, finally, a few voices are emerging into the public arena, making the connection between those unparalleled quakes and local drilling.

In a progressive Texas blog that follows oil company antics, several points of view are aired, and are enlightening, on the strange happenings under Cleburne.

So far earthquakes in the Barnett Shale have been minor and only a nuisance. What happens if the earthquakes increase in magnitude as they did in Colorado where drilling caused a magnitude 5 earthquake that damaged property. Who pays for the damage? Would that be yet another cost borne by unlucky residents who live in areas where natural gas drilling is escalating at an enormous pace?

Other questions that need answers:

* What happens to those supposedly extra special cement casing jobs at the wells and injection wells as we have more earthquakes?
* What about all the pipelines in our neighborhoods?Check out this pipeline map!
* What about the Atmos gas couplings?

An earthquake expert, Cliff Frohlich, associate director and senior research scientist at the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas at Austin, says the data points to drilling as the cause of the recent quakes. Frohlich cowrote a book, Texas Earthquakes , and he believes drilling has caused Texas earthquakes.

Of course, there is a lot of disagreement. The link above will take you through much of it.

After having seen oil companies produce a variety of 'scientific' opinion about global warming that worked in their interest, I admit I cannot believe anyone writing a paean to oil companies, or their excuses.

After all, the Exxon Valdez spill has still to be cleaned up. And oil representatives continue to insist that we're just going through a phase.

(h/t to jobsanger)

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