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Earthquakes – The New Deadly Side Effect of Cheap Gas Production from Shale Formations

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Shale Gas Technology has completely changed the Oil and Gas Picture in North America.Natural Gas prices have touched new low below $3/mmbtu as massive discoveries and production of shale gas has led to a glut.With the Technology being exported to other countries,it is expected that Natural Gas may take over from Coal as the preferred choice of electricity power generation.China and India are already taking out tenders for shale gas blocks.However Shale Gas has a nasty side effect which is normally not talked about.The cases have kept increasing though the mainstream media and the powerful oil lobby has tried its best to suppress it.The first one is water contamination which I had written about earlier

Shale Gas Water Contamination

Shale Gas which is a new form of Gas Extraction through Shale Gas Formation found deep under the Earth through Pressurized Injection of Water Mixed with Chemicals,is coming under Environmental Scrutiny.There have already been questions raised against theEnvironmental Safety of the Shale Gas Extraction Process.However the entry of Big Oil and Gas is preventing a fair and unbiased investigation into the harmful effects of Shale Gas.Note a NGO has accused the provincial officials and Gas Companies of illegaly using Water Supplies in Pennsylvania.The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has deepened the probe into the process by asking 9 Exploration Firms to send Chemicals Data used in Shale Gas.

Earthquakes the New Danger

The digging of new injection wells which is used to dispose of water has been linked to earhquakes in Ohio.Note the biggest disadvantage of hydro power is that it can cause massive earthquakes due to movement of  large earth works.Shale Gas does the same in a  smaller way.The Technology is quite new and all the side effects are not known.Minor earthquakes near shale gas digging has been reported before as well.

Ohio Shuts Wells Following Quakes

Ohio became the latest state to take action on the possible link between seismic activity and wells used to dispose of waste water from oil and gas production when state officials ordered a halt to the practice near Youngstown this weekend after several minor earthquakes.

The wells, known as injection wells, have been proliferating in Ohio to accommodate growing volumes of waste water left over from hydraulic fracturing, which involves blasting water, sand and chemicals underground to break apart dense layers of rock to free up oil and gas.

Diversion of Water by Shale gas Companies is another bad effect of this new Natural Gas production.Pennsylvania is Ground Zero for Shale Gas Companies as it has the largest Shale Gas Formation in the world – Marcellus Formation.Large Number of Wells have been dug in the State using Millions of Tons of Water.This has come under the spotlight as it is not legal to draw water under the Clean Streams Act.Only communities adjacent to the rivers can use this water.An Environmental Group has also accused the state EPA of colluding with these corporate interests.
Read about the advantages and disadvantages of Natural Gas to examine the issue further

Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

2 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Neil Craig

    The term “earthquake” implies the Earth quaking. In fact below 5 on the Richter scale the most you get is a little rattling of teacups – insufficient to be definable as more than an “earth tremor”. Obviously “tremor” is not as scary as “earthquake” & thus, though more accurate, isn’t used by those desperate to find some argument against a source of energy that, alone, is bringing the US economy out of the “green” induced recession.

    In fact most of the tremors being used in this campaign are about 2 on the scale and thus around 1/1000th of the power of even the largest tremors. They are also normally undetectable without instruments and there have been over a million annually since records began and long before shale fracking was thought of.

    It just shows the desperation of the Luddite “environmental” movement that they are trying to foist another false scare story – and one so obviously threadbare.

  2. Abhishek Shah

    Most people refer to the movement of the ground as an earthquake without worrying about the exact scientific definition . Also the glossing over the water contamination,illegal diversion of water resources,”tremors” due to shale gas extraction by the msm is not fiction.The problem is not the Luddite “environmental” movement,the problem is the propaganda and vilification of global warming and the IPCC by the fossil fuel lobby.