American Oil and Gas Reporter - August 2017 - 113

seismic events in Texas."
John Tintera, executive vice president
of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers,
insists that those who consider the panel's
findings should bear in mind the developments that prompted such studies in
the first place. Much of the misinformation
about hydraulic fracturing began with
false depictions that the practice was responsible for groundwater contamination
in Parker County, Tx., as alleged in the
film Gasland, he asserts.
Despite an EPA emergency order
against an oil and gas operator in the
county, the Texas Railroad Commission
later determined that hydraulic fracturing
played no role in Parker County groundwater contamination, Tintera recalls.
"The politicized hype led to the necessity of reports like this," he describes.
"Proper communication allows average
citizens and astute regulators to know
about the science and detailed process
that should be involved prior to regulatory
entities trying to determine whether energy
production or virtually any other type of
industry is a threat to the environment
and needs to be regulated."
Tintera insists there is no place for
what he describes as the type of social
media "snark" that immediately attacks
the credibility of panelists instead of offering substantive criticism of their findings. The same mindset fueled regulatory
overkill during the Obama administration,
he assesses.
The findings note that the Texas Legislature has established the TexNet seismic
monitoring program overseen by the University of Texas Bureau of Economic
Geology to monitor seismic activity and
address needed research that considers
seismicity analysis, geologic characterization, fluid-flow modeling and geomechanical analysis. The number of seismic
monitoring stations in Texas will increase
from 18 to 43 under the TexNet program,
an expansion TIPRO has supported consistently, Longanecker adds.
Land And Air
According to TAMEST, the large
number of new wells drilled in shale formations in Texas since 2007 has impacted
the landscape substantially, but it also
goes on to note that horizontal wells have
a smaller impact than an equivalent number of vertical wells.
The panel suggests that intensifying development in the Permian Basin and across
West Texas offers a significant opportunity
to better understand large-scale impacts of
oil and gas development on the landscape.
The task force concludes that baseline land
and habitat conditions should be characterized and changes to wildlife populations

and vegetation tracked over time, but adds
that about 95 percent of Texas lands are
privately-owned, which limits data and
studies on land impacts. It also indicates
that Texas is the only major oil and gas
producing state without a surface damage
act to protect landowners, and the report
urges the state to consider adopting one.
However, some industry representatives
point out, it may be impossible to find
one size that can fit all in a place as big as
Texas. "There is so much land here that
is privately owned. Currently, any kind
of surface use agreements are negotiated
between the surface owner and the company," Robertson points out. "The study
is right that there is not a wide-ranging
agreement in Texas that reflects a statewide
consensus on how to do things."
In terms of air quality, the report acknowledges that shale production emits
greenhouse gases, photochemical air pollutants and air toxics, although recent
federal and state regulations have reduced
emissions from multiple types of sources,
the report says. For most types of oil and
gas emission sources, about 5 percent of
emitters account for more than 50 percent
of emissions, the review estimates.
According to the task force, emissions
in many categories associated with shale
resource production are dominated by a
small subpopulation of high-emitting sources.
Development of inexpensive, robust, reliable
and accurate methods of rapidly finding
high-emitting sources has the potential to
reduce emissions, the report states.

Water Quality And Quantity
Despite the fact that 1 million-5 million
gallons of water are used to fracture one
well, overall water use in hydraulic fracturing is small compared with water consumption for agriculture or municipalities,
the TAMEST analysis explains. Altogether, water consumption in hydraulic
fracturing accounts for less than 1 percent
of water consumption statewide, the
panel points out.
The impact of water use on supply
can be reduced by limiting freshwater
use and using brackish groundwater or
produced water for hydraulic fracturing,
the report states, noting that some oil
and gas operators already are utilizing
such approaches.
The depth separation between oilbearing zones and drinking water-bearing
zones in Texas makes direct fracturing
into drinking water zones unlikely, and
no such incident has been observed in
the state, the report observes.
In a study of 211 Texas groundwater
contamination incidents associated with
oil and gas activity, only 10 incidents
were associated with well drilling and

completion and none were associated with
hydraulic fracturing, the review adds.

Transportation
The increase in shale oil and gas
drilling and production has accelerated
damage to paved roads along secondary
state highways and local roads, with damages estimated at $1.5 billion-$2 billion
a year, the TAMEST panel observes, and
a correlation between more drilling and
an increase in traffic accidents.
The panel findings note that the Texas
Legislature has allocated funds to address
some of the state's most critical transportation system and safety needs in producing areas. The task force report also
indicates that the state's transportation
systems for oil and gas development and
production should benefit from the:
* Improved availability and quality
of data relating to ongoing and forecasted
drilling;
* Development of integrated, multimodal transportation infrastructure strategies and solutions; and
* Provisions for reliable, sustainable
funding for proactively upgrading the
state's transportation infrastructure for
future drilling activities.
PBPA members continue to assess transportation and other infrastructure needs,
especially with activity climbing in the
Delaware Basin, Robertson says, but he
suggests outside identifying the main travel
corridors, accurate, long-range projections
pinpointing future rig locations and drilling
concentrations may be difficult to achieve
because of changing industry conditions.
"To get from the Midland/Odessa area
out west to Pecos, Tx., or south to Rankin,
Tx., everyone knows what highways to
use," he considers. "But when you turn
off those highways, knowing what county
roads are going to be used to reach a
given drilling location 10 or 20 years
from now is a different story."
However, organizations such as the
Midland-Odessa Transportation Alliance
have been instrumental in identifying
long-range transportation infrastructure
needs, he says, including those around
permanent industry facilities such as crude
storage and saltwater disposal locations.
TIPRO remains committed to working
with lawmakers and county officials to
find permanent solutions for infrastructure
investment and maintenance, Longanecker
adds.
Economic, Social Impacts
The economic impacts of shale drilling
and production are most positive for
local, regional and state economies, but
some of the economic upsides can be
lopsided, TAMEST reports.
AUGUST 2017 113



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