Oops: New Duke Study Shows Contaminations From Wells, Not Fracking

Blunting the hysteria of anti-fracking forces

(Raleigh N&O) A group of Duke University scientists often accused of anti-fracking bias have published their most definitive research to date linking shale gas exploration with methane gas contamination of drinking water.

But their paper, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, exonerates fracking from the most serious environmental risks. The study blames the water contamination on leaky well shafts near the earth’s surface, not on the process of hydraulic fracturing itself, which takes place thousands of feet underground.

The distinction is critical because fracking foes base much of their opposition to natural gas drilling on the fear that fracturing shale rock poses an environmental danger. They worry that fracturing, or fracking, could cause toxic chemicals and radioactive elements to flow out through fissures and contaminate freshwater aquifers on which residents and farming operations depend.

The findings of the Duke researchers, based on 133 drinking water wells in Texas and Pennsylvania, corroborate claims by the energy industry that the fracturing process alone is not likely to imperil drinking water.

This in no way means that we shouldn’t be cautious and diligent in the push for fracking, nor give up looking at all the different energy methods. What it does show is that certain people have made outlandish accusations based on feelings rather than facts.

Obviously, Warmists/enviro-weenies are not taking this well, as shown by the hysteria in the article comments.

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9 Responses to “Oops: New Duke Study Shows Contaminations From Wells, Not Fracking”

  1. annieoakley says:

    This methane in well water is from cracks in the well for WATER. All of the people who found Methane in their water have admitted it has been there for generations and is seeping from the ground into their well. Fracking is thousands of feet below aquifers. The materials and technology is far superior to these hundreds of years old water wells usually a few feet deep. I dropped rocks into my grandparents well. Not that far and yes there was water I could see and hear. It came out of the faucet kind of hard, leaving mineral deposits but no rust stain. Southeastern Ohio in Appalachia. My Grandpa made a stripper for oil wells.

  2. Jeffery says:

    So it’s not the actual fracturing of rock causing the contamination, it’s the drilling to reach the rock.

    That should make the local residents feel much better about their contaminated drinking water.

    Will the industry now accept tougher rules on well construction and placement? Nah. There’s at least $1 trillion to be made.

  3. Jeffery says:

    The news article itself (and Mr. Teach) wants you to believe the contamination the scientists observed was from faulty residential water wells.

    That is not what the PNAS paper describes.

    The faulty wells they refer to are the wells and casings used by the industry to reach the deep fracturing sites, and to transport the gas from the depths to the surface. In eight cases, these well casings appeared to leak.

    Let’s be clear, the contamination comes from the process of drilling wells to be used for retrieving gas from fracking.

    We can only hope that when fracking comes to NC that Mr. Teach gets to enjoy the delicate bouquet of inflammable drinking water. You will then observe the rapid conversion of a Fossilist to an enviroweenie.

  4. david7134 says:

    I get my water from a well, we have a gas well with one half mile. There is no contamination. Do you ever feel that you should know anything about a topic before commenting? The oil industry is over 100 years old and the number of contaminated wells from the surface substructure can probably be counted on you hand (don’t go looking at Wikipedia as that is an expression). The process of drilling is the same for the last 100 years and is very safe. There is little different at that level from a standard well.

  5. david7134 says:

    The more I think about it, the more puzzled I am by your knowledge base and logic. You will take a gospel the headlines of a liberal web site but will not believe detailed, proven material from some one who you sense is conservative. Why? Do you do any independent analysis?

  6. Jeffery says:


    Once again you attack me rather than anything specific that I wrote. Do you really think that because you get your water from a well that you’re an expert on fracking??

    The paper under discussion found 8 clusters of contaminated water from 134 well samples. The hydrocarbon contamination was coming from leaks in the drill casing or poor pipe connections. This can be fixed – the frackers will have to be more careful. You should be pleased! They concluded that the methane was not rising from the fractured rock.

    So what’s your point?

  7. david7134 says:

    Sorry, my well is only one example. My authority stems from working in the oil field for about 5 years. So, of the two of us, I would say I know considerably more than you and your inability to read.

  8. david7134 says:

    Also, as to attacking you, you bet. That is because you comment on things that you have next to zero knowledge on, misconstrue, obfuscate, and generally represent a deplorable element of our society.

  9. Jeffery says:


    Again. Do you have any comments about the paper in question? I didn’t think so.

    I’ve invited you to correct any of my misstatements of fact and you never do, because you can’t, so you attack me personally. A big problem is that you have little useful knowledge to contribute. Like so many modern conservatives you get your information from unreliable sources such as FOX, WUWT, HotAir, Rupert Murdoch etc… They are lying to you.

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