Energy policy — oil and gas: Halliburton Co. CEO Dave Lesar takes a sip of the company’s new frac fluid during keynote at the Colorado Oil and Gas Association conference in Denver

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From the Associated Press (Catharine Tsai):

He raised a container of Halliburton’s new fracking fluid made from materials sourced from the food industry, then called up a fellow executive to demonstrate how safe it was by drinking it, according to two attendees.

The executive mocked reluctance, then took a swig.

What he drank was apparently CleanStim, which when Halliburton announced it in November was undergoing field trials…

The Houston company, which has operations in about 80 countries, has said the product shouldn’t be considered edible.

Meanwhile The Atlantic (Ben Heineman Jr.) is asking the question Can the Fracking Industry Self-Regulate?. From the article:

…today shale gas production faces important environmental and safety issues which must be addressed through both voluntary corporate action and appropriate regulation, with business leaders playing a key role in both spheres.

This is a central conclusion in an important, interim report from a panel of experts constituted by the Department of Energy to assess environmental and safety implications of the new technologies of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing which have made the shale gas boom possible.

The report was issued on August 11th, but it was lost amidst stock market gyrations and global economic uncertainty. Yet, the long-term implications of dramatically increasing supplies of natural gas from shale are of first-order significance to the global economic future. And the report — from the shale gas subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board — provides incisive perspective on how to balance economic and environmental issues and on the central part enlightened business leaders must play.

Here’s the link to the report. Here’s the executive summary:

The Shale Gas Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board is charged with identifying measures that can be taken to reduce the environmental impact and improve the safety of shale gas production.

Natural gas is a cornerstone of the U.S. economy, providing a quarter of the country’s total energy. Owing to breakthroughs in technology, production from shale formations has gone from a negligible amount just a few years ago to being almost 30 percent of total U.S. natural gas production. This has brought lower prices, domestic jobs, and the prospect of enhanced national security due to the potential of substantial production growth. But the growth has also brought questions about whether both current and future production can be done in an environmentally sound fashion that meets the needs of public trust.

This 90-day report presents recommendations that if implemented will reduce the environmental impacts from shale gas production. The Subcommittee stresses the importance of a process of continuous improvement in the various aspects of shale gas production that relies on best practices and is tied to measurement and disclosure. While many companies are following such a process, much-broader and more extensive adoption is warranted. The approach benefits all parties in shale gas production: regulators will have more complete and accurate information; industry will achieve more efficient operations; and the public will see continuous, measurable improvement in shale gas activities.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

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