This should serve as a warning for residents in the Marcellus Shale and especially in the Haynesville Shale area where Chesapeake wants to drill inside a public park.
Chesapeake Energy breaks another promise. In meetings with Fort Worth, Texas residents, Chesapeake promised they wouldn’t flare the Barnett Shale gas wells in the Trinity Trees area.
The Trinity Trees area was an eight-acre grove of old-growth trees located in Fort Worth along the Trinity River Hike and Bike Trail just upstream from the Rogers Road bridge. Thousands of trail users have enjoyed this peaceful slice of nature for years. Many believed this to be the most beautiful wooded area along the entire trail system.
With the trail winding through the grove, park benches, and tax-funded maintenance, many assumed this parcel of land was a public park. But, in fact, it was private property and was purchased by Chesapeake Energy in January 2007 for a gas well drilling pad site.
Many in the community responded in opposition to Chesapeake’s plans and formed the Trinity Trees coalition that spread the word about potential damage to the grove of trees. Although the entire eight acres were not preserved, it is important to note that the diligent efforts of the Trinity Trees supporters did get the attention of Chesapeake and the City of Fort Worth. The awareness of the potential negative impacts of urban gas drilling on the quality of life of the community has been greatly increased. The City of Fort Worth is considering revisiting its gas drilling ordinance.
Flaring from the Oil and Gas Accountability Project
Flaring is the practice of burning gas that is deemed uneconomical to collect and sell. Flaring is also used to burn gases that would otherwise present a safety problem. It is common to flare natural gas that contains hydrogen sulfide (i.e., sour gas), in order to convert the highly toxic hydrogen sulfide gas into less toxic compounds.
Flares emit a host of air pollutants, depending on the chemical composition of the gas being burned and the efficiency and temperature of the flare. Flaring results in hydrogen sulfide emissions if hydrogen sulfide is present in large enough amounts in the natural gas. There may also be additional by-products formed if some of the chemicals used during the drilling or hydraulic fracturing process are converted to a gaseous form and are burned along with the natural gas.
The Ventura County Air Pollution Control District, in California has estimated that the following air pollutants may be released from natural gas flares: benzene, formaldehyde, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs, including naphthalene), acetaldehyde, acrolein, propylene, toluene, xylenes, ethyl benzene and hexane. Researchers in Canada have measured more than 60 air pollutants downwind of natural gas flares.
Producers can and should use Green Completions to prevent air pollution and waster hydrocarbons that could be used for energy. S.B. 902 written by Wendy Davis places restrictions on release of gas in air and would require Green Completions. S.B. 902 is currently under consideration by the Natural Resources Committee. Please contact committee members and urge them to support this bill in its entirety.