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Friday, October 24, 2014

EnerVest, Earthquakes, and Arlington Fault Lines

EnerVest CEO John Walker (photo from Houston Business Journal)

On October 7, 2014 Houston Business Journal reported, "It will be first liquid butane frac in that area — and maybe in the United States," Walker said. "If that works, it could open up a very big area. It’d be akin to the oil window of the Eagle Ford. So it’s probably our most upside and the thing that I do my daily prayers over. But I’ll have to caution that every time we really need something to … happen, I don’t think in my life it’s ever happened (laughs)."

So, EnerVest CEO, Mr. Walker, prays over liquid butane frac.  We pray too ~ even harder since attending their Town Hall on September 15th.  We are surrounded by drill sites, and EnerVest, LLC is currently operating inside the borders of our City (Arlington, TX) where 370,000 people reside on top of a massive gas reservoir ~ the Barnett Shale.   They want the gas, and we are a nuisance in the way.

When a resident at the town hall inquired as to whether or not they planned to use the same process in our city as they do in other places around the country, they dodged the question.  We pray they don't plan to experiment with liquid butane frac at the Perr Drill Site.  An explosion on South Cooper Street would be catastrophic for this thriving business sector of Arlington.

When that same resident mentioned the 500 microquakes in Ohio (where EnerVest heavily operates) they knew nothing about that!  One would think that these spokesmen live under a shale rock, but it is doubtful they do.  Industry strategy has always been to tell the public as little as possible.

Take a look at this Railroad Commission GIS map.  See where two earthquakes recently shook Arlington.  Both of these quakes are suspiciously close to EnerVest drill sites:

 This statement was overheard at the EnerVest Town Hall:  "Arlington has a lot of fault lines ~ known and unknown." 

The industry has more knowledge about the location of these fault lines than the average citizen.   We may not find out where they are until an earthquake happens.  It looks like there may be a possible fault line running down Cooper Street, the main artery of the City.  Two quakes struck just to the east of Cooper Street.  If this is true, and the industry had knowledge of this, why were they drilling in the first place?  Our City and State government should not be permitting gas wells in faulted areas because seismicity impacts property and public safety.  There are no regulations in place to address this ~ yet.  This is why we are encouraging everyone to elect Steve Brown for Railroad Commissioner of Texas. 

The USGS reports, "Earthquakes east of the Rockies that are centered in populated areas and large enough to cause damage are, similarly, likely to cause damage out to greater distances than earthquakes of the same magnitude centered in western North America."  Just imagine the impact of a frackquake during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season when droves of people are pouring into the Parks Shopping Mall.

There are two kinds of earthquakes ~  naturally occurring and human-induced.  These human-induced quakes can be triggered by oil and gas extraction.  Extraction is the same as production.  So, if the USGS knows that extraction causes seismicity, and we now know that hydraulic fracturing is linked to earthquakes, and we have known for some time that injection wells are definitely linked to earthquakes, why take the risk of damaging property by allowing such an invasive activity that has the potential to threaten our city's vitality?

Now we can't help but wonder if there is a link to Enervest's activity and these September earthquakes because a workover rig was up at the UTA Drill Site before, during, and after the shaking.  We found out that a resident who lives near the UTA drill site sent an e-mail to Councilwoman Lana Wolff on September 15th and sent another e-mail to UTA on September 16th as she had concerns that the activity taking place on that site could have triggered an earthquake.  During the EnerVest public meeting on September 15th, however, we were told they were not responsible for the earthquakes since, "they were not drilling on those days."  Well, alright, then. 

Since the UTA drill site is on State-owned property, it is doubtful our City gas well inspectors would have visited that location as it is not bound by our local City ordinances.  How do we know they weren't  conducting an experiment which triggered seismicity?  

EnerVest seems to be infamous for their grand experiments.  Currently, they are converting vertical wells into horizontal wells in the Clinton Sandstone, located in eastern Ohio.

We have serious concerns about shale gas operators experimenting with new technology in our communities.   This is where we live, work, and play.  Let them experiment in their own backyards ~ not ours. 

On Tuesday, October 28th at 6:30 p.m. a public hearing is scheduled at Arlington City Hall where EnerVest, LLC will request an amendment to a Special Use Permit to establish the drill zone at the Perr Drill Site located at 2825 South Cooper Street, Arlington, TX.  Everyone is invited, so please come ~ prepare your speech and say a Hail Mary because they have scheduled more town halls with plans to drill all over Arlington.  More about that later...

In case you've never seen EnerVest in action, here is how they operate in Denton, TX.  No wonder the residents there want to ban fracking.

Attribution:  Sharon Wilson of Earthworks