Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Louisiana Water Reporting Rules

The Louisiana Office of Conservation enacted rules effective October 1, 2009 requiring drillers to report very specific information about the source of water for each new gas well. While these rules result from the growth of the Haynesville Shale and the large water requirements for hydraulic fracturing, they presumably impact any well using fracking.

The rules call for producers to identify the source of the water used, be it from an aquifer, pond, river or other source, and note the quantity of water used.

Also being considered is a three parish (Caddo, Bossier and DeSoto) study of aquifer water quality through approximately 1,000 water wells. The study hasn't been approved by all three parishes, but given the risk to the drinking water aquifers, a baseline study would be money well spent by local governments. If approved it likely would take place in 2010.

It doesn't sound like much, but in the information age, the reporting of detailed data allows the people who actively follow an issue to be better informed. It also puts producer on notice that they are being watched, both by the government and interested citizens.

I've been reading a great deal about the Marcellus Shale lately, and people are going nuts over the water quality issue. There is a great deal of fear about fracking and the potential environmental damage. The battles are being fought at the local level in numerous communities, especially in Pennsylvania and New York. The issue might delay shale gas development in certain areas for a while. It's kind of ironic to hear the hew and cry from Pennsylvania, one of the top three states in terms of active gas wells and the state where oil and gas drilling first started 150 years ago.

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