Study Says Poorly-Constructed Natural Gas Wells to Blame for Water Pollution

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Study Says Poorly-Constructed Natural Gas Wells to Blame for Water PollutionNatural gas that is polluting some aquifers isn’t caused by hydraulic fracturing, but rather by poor well preparation, a research paper showed.

Poorly engineered and cemented natural gas wells, not fracking, has resulted in contaminants leaking into groundwater supplies and hence polluting them, according to the study that was published in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences.

Fracking has gained notoriety partly due to claims that it fouls aquifers and shallow drinking-water sources, reported the Wall Street Journal.  The method involves pumping slurry of chemicals, water and sand into the underground rocks at high pressure in order to fracture them and free trapped fuel, which is then extracted.

Researchers announce on Monday that they had improvised a kit that can check water any underground gas has seeped into the surface with time, or whether it leaked recently and quickly through the cement-encased well-pipe.

Most experts have always held that contamination is usually caused by poor well construction, rather than by the fracking process. Other quarters insist that natural gas has always been discovered in water wells and aquifers and hence proof lacks whether fracking or drilling activities are to blame.

“Where contamination occurs, it related strictly to well integrity,” said Thomas Darrah, the study co-author and an assistant professor at Ohio State University. “The answer is not to stop drilling. The fix is better executions on the construction of the well and improving well integrity.”

The study’s researchers, who were funded by Duke University and the National Science Foundation, said that they had developed a method of determining whether natural gas in an aquifer or a groundwater source has always been there or it is as a result of man-made drilling activities. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.

To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at john@forexminute.com