Research: Shale Water Stays in the Ground in “Permeability Jail”

Real ScienceHack “researchers” will collect research others have done, run some numbers in a spreadsheet to bias the outcome, and then make off-the-wall pronouncements like burning coal is less damaging to the environment than drilling for natural gas (see New Study Final Nail in Coffin of Inflated Fugitive Methane Claims). Then there are real researchers–you know, scientists that perform actual measurements in the lab and in the field. They do real science to test hypotheses and issue real results–not theoretical hyperbole. Yesterday a real scientist/researcher from Penn State (Terry Engelder, geologist), a real scientist/researcher from Cornell University (Larry Cathless, earth and atmospheric sciences), and a real scientist/researcher from Shell (Taras Bryndzia, geologist) released the results of careful scientific testing. They wanted to know if the water injected into shale wells really stays in the ground–or if it, per chance, somehow magically travels back to the surface in a capillary fashion, possibly contaminating ground water sources. Their research paper, titled “The fate of residual treatment water in gas shale,” is published in the September 2014 issue of Journal of Unconventional Oil and Gas Resources. Here’s what they found…

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