Global Valve and Controls

Shale Gas Fact or Fiction

There have been so many articles relating to the shale oil that I believe it is important to know what is true and what is not.

First, what is shale? Shale gas refers to natural gas that is trapped in shale formations. Shales are fine-grained sedimentary rocks that can be rich sources of petroleum and natural gas.

How does one person go about getting these rock formations out of the ground? There are 2 methods. Horizontal drilling and hydraulic drilling.

There is a limited amount of shale to go around: False. According to the EIA Annual Energy Outlook 2011, the United States possesses 2,552 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of potential natural gas resources.

What are some of the most common shale plays that we have heard or read about? Barnett shale, Marcellus shale, and Utica shale.

Coal is cleaner than natural gas. False. Natural gas is cleaner-burning than coal or oil.

Should we be worried when shale is being extracted? Yes. Issues in decreased and polluted water supply in the surrounding areas have been reported. There have also been reports of chemicals being mixed in with water sources due to the drilling.



Mining: Then and Now

Mining has changed over the course of years, including but not limited to the technology, process, health risks and concerns as well as the environment. Back then, in order to claim land miners would simply stick their shovels into the ground and start digging! Today, in order to start digging a mining company would first have to fill out paperwork and pay a fee to make their claim on a piece of property. This process can take up to 10 years, sometimes even longer! There are two types of claims that a person or company can make:

  • Lode claims cover veins of such mineralized rock as quartz, gold or other metallic minerals that have well-defined boundaries and broad zones. The Bureau of Land Management limits the size of a lode claim to 1,500 feet long and 600 feet wide.
  • Placer claims give people rights to loose minerals, such as sand, gravel or gold that has eroded from rock and washed downstream.

Technology has definitely transformed the business, but the process to stake a claim is very time consuming and can be very expensive. To find the perfect spot for their digging miners will use drones to circle above the area to take photographs and measurements.

There are many health risks and environmental concerns to miners. For example, “the mining industry, dominated by a handful of multinational corporations, pays no federal royalties and leaves behind a landscape of dramatically diminished value, the environmentalists say.”

Health risks pose a threat to the miners working as well as the people who live by such as, contaminated water filled with chemicals from mining. These risks also include the animals that live in the area. Their water source gets contaminated as their land gets destroyed by the large machines that dig, thus eliminating migration grounds and displacing wildlife.

Mining officials say they work hard to mitigate negative impacts associated with mining. For example, before ground is disturbed, companies must ensure that adequate funds are available to complete reclamation and remediation of exploration and mining sites” But not everything always goes their way which leads to destruction of land, food and water.