A need for uniform industry standards
The Navigant analyst, Pickering, said improving the technology that has resulted in a twelvefold increase in shale gas production in a decade isn't a stretch.
"We're talking about a technology that's not rocket science; it's been in place for 30 or 40 years," Pickering said. "Doing better is quite within the industry's capability."
Service companies like Halliburton and Schlumberger are heavy hitters in federal and state-level debates about the extent to which technology should be improved, particularly with regard to chemicals blasted into the underground formations. Exxon and Chesapeake, and the cadre of other multinational and domestic gas producers tied in with the shale, have the wherewithal to make improvements and comply with regulations.
Pickering and others say gas companies need to transition from dogged opposition to regulation to an understanding that persnickety landowners and environmental issues are no longer just a local and regional headache. Gas has gone from the second city of energy sources to being a reliable replacement for coal and a point of departure for cutting harmful emissions and diversifying the nation's energy fleet.
It shifts global energy dynamics, too. If environmental issues aren't taken seriously, analysts are telling Chu's panel, companies won't get the gas.
"The stiff-arming needs to stop, because there needs to be communication on these issues to find out what's important," Verrastro said. "If you're drilling somebody's land, it gives you the rights to access the minerals, but not the right to ride roughshod over the community, and I think that needs to be brought home."
"Some companies recognize that," he said, "and some companies don't."
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500