Articles from 2012
The real story of Pennsylvania shale gas
- Written by Nick Grealy
- Published: 03 November 2012
I'm continually asked by antis would I let my children drink water from near a shale well or the fluids themselves. I usually reply it is the wrong question. The more correct one would be, given disposable contact lens contain 2.5% polyacrylamide yet Cuadrilla use (only) it at a concentration of 0.25% in fracking, "Would I put fracking fluid in my wife's eye?"
Here's a new question coming up. Would I wipe my baby's bottom with fracking fluid?
For 45 years the Procter & Gamble plant in Mehoopany Township, Wyoming County, was sitting on a shale gas gold mine. But it wasn’t until 2009 that the company realized they had hit the lottery. That’s when Citrus Energy drilled its first well on P&G’s 1400 acre property in Wyoming County, and realized there was a lot of natural gas to tap beneath the ground. Starting February of 2013, Pampers and Luv’s diapers, as well as Charmin’ toilet paper and Bounty paper towels will be manufactured completely off the grid, using P&G’s own Marcellus Shale gas to power the plant, and fuel its fleet of trucks.
So much for "controversial" "unconventional " shale gas. Some would have us believe Pennsylvania is a wasteland devastated by shale gas chemical contaminated water. But what is the other big ingredient of the Pampers, Charmin and Bounty and any paper-making process? Water of course. Yet here we have Procter and Gamble not being aware of the dangers? P+G are a massive multi-national but as one whose products can be found in every kitchen on earth, they need to be very careful about possible damage to the brand:
We are honored to be ranked #5 on Fortune Magazine "World's Most Admired Companies" list. Up from #6 in 2010, we join other prestigious companies in the top 5 including Apple (1), Google (2), Berkshire Hathaway (3) and Southwest Airlines (4). According to Fortune, "P&G has a long history of earning the respect of its peers -- fifth on the overall list this year, it's been ranked first in its industry every year it's been in the survey since 1997."
Fortune also awarded P&G as one of only 8 "Green Star" companies among its Most Admired for our relentless commitment to making our products and operations more sustainable. Our innovative advancements in moving consumers to cold-water washing are highlighted, as well as our vision for making 100% of our products from recyclable materials, and powering our plants with 100% renewable energy.
P+G's embrace of shale gas is significant in rebutting any number of misconceptions. Water contamination evidently isn't an issue, but what about the commonly held view of shale gas having a big decline curve and thus provides only a short term solution little different from a Ponzi scheme?
Alex Fried, a spokesman for P&G Paper Products, says the six Citrus Energy wells operating on P&G property won’t run dry anytime soon.
“I will be retired and probably dead before that happens,” says Fried. “We’re talking decades.”
What about how shale gas works counter to sustainable energy theory?
Fried says even before the gas was discovered, the company had already begun to make changes that would reduce their energy use. In 2008 P&G installed a paper-making process that captured steam exhaust to generate electricity. Overall, the Fortune 500 company has set sustainability goals for 2020 that include increasing their use of renewable energy sources by 25 percent and sending zero waste to landfills.
Or the old chestnut of shale gas emitting so much methane that it's worse than conventional gas or even coal:
In June, 2010, P&G began tapping it’s own shale gas to help power the facility. By October 2011, the gas pipelines that had flowed toward the plant were reversed, and excess gas from their property flowed out to natural gas consumers along the East Coast.
Not only does that save the company money, but it cuts down on lost gas that had to travel up from the Gulf of Mexico. Fried says as the gas travels through the interstate pipeline system, it has to get re-compressed about every two hundred miles, losing about 5 percent of the gas in the process.
This is the story that the UK press needs to be told about Pennsylvania shale gas, as opposed to my hair's falling out or my goat died stupidity that the BBC North West has put out.
Hair dresser Crystal Stroud claimed that within days of drilling starting near her home her hair started falling out and she became seriously ill.
Tests showed her water was contaminated with barium, but a department of environmental protection investigation decided drilling was not to blame and that the contamination was pre-existing.
BTW whatever happened to Crystal Stroud:
Granville Summit resident Crystal Stroud's claim that she suffered barium poisoning by drinking well water contaminated by natural gas drilling has been refuted by a DEP investigation, DEP officials said on Thursday.
Based on the three-month investigation, any water well problems in Stroud's well are a result of pre-existing conditions in the area and are not related to gas drilling, Kevin Sunday, a spokesman for the DEP, said on Thursday.
But more tellingly the DEP refutation of Crystal Stroud happened in July 2011, yet the BBC North West story repeated her allegations November 2011 with no reference whatsoever.
Over the next few weeks we are going to start a debate on UK shale gas. We're determined to make it an informed one. P+G's reality needs to come out and will resonate far more than the handful of allegations among the hundreds of millions of Charmin, Pampers and Bounty consumers worldwide.