Shale gas scandal

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It’s a book that just came out in Quebec.  I know what you are thinking.  Someone finally wrote a book to expose the scandalous destruction of value of small natural gas companies whose principal mistake was to follow the rules and take very high risks to make a discovery.  Or on expropriations of industry rights without compensation or even on how a recent Quebec scientific study is completely ignored.

But you would be wrong.   The book instead discusses how natural gas has been a scandal in Quebec.    It’s no small accusation when many refer to recent allegations of mafia involvement in construction as a scandal.

One book review thought the book did a good job representing two sides.  I would agree if one side was NIMBY and the other was activists and protestors.  It is important we hear from these people who have legitimate concerns but for evidence based decisions we need to hear from science too.

The natural gas scandal apparently consists of things like me suggesting in my blog that contaminating ground water through deep hydraulic fracturing is as likely as the moon landings being staged.   The author implies I said there were no legitimate concerns completely contrary to my blogs where I was among the first to publicize in Quebec some of the legitimate risks and impacts of our industry.  (Do you think they did this on purpose?  I would hate to consider the alternative that someone might not read all my blogs.)

Funny it wasn’t a scandal when the University of Texas, Groundwater Protection Council, MIT, Popular Mechanics, World Watch, Suzuki Foundation and Pembina Institute, Department of Environment of New York, and many others said more or less the same thing as I did (to be fair none of them mentioned popular figures like Elvis).  Instead they have been essentially ignored by the fact checking impoverished.

It’s the same for the first ever peer reviewed study specifically addressing this issue in Quebec.  It’s by a team of industry geoscientists with access to the data and Quebec based academic geoscientists.   (full disclosure QEC with TLM assistance and permission contributed much of the data and work not publicly available until this study).  It’s been presented at the Quebec Oil & Gas Association conference in Montreal and at the Canadian Society for Unconventional Resources in Calgary.  It is in the process of peer review now and following that it will be translated into French.

It concludes that it is highly unlikely that the fracturing process could reactivate faults or contaminate groundwater in the study area in Quebec.  The study does not address drilling and engineering issues where there are acknowledged risks.

Yet it seems only my blog rates a mention.  MIT, University of Texas and the rest you will just have to work a little harder.