From 9News.com (Jessica Zartler):
Some water conservation districts and environmental groups have expressed concern over the sustained use of water in hydraulic fracturing operations and now, the Department of Natural Resources is doing its own analysis to crunch the numbers and address questions from across the state about the short and long-term impacts on Colorado’s water resources. The report is set to be released sometime this month.
Individual water districts are not waiting to start looking at the issue, including the district where residents in the Reunion Subdivision have seen the latest hydrant-hook-up. The South Adams County Water and Sanitation District has already held board meetings and accepted public comment to set its guidelines for when and how much water it will allow oil and gas companies to use.
The water district says at this point is has only issued one construction hydrant permit for water use to Select Energy Services, the company that recently reactivated a fracking operation near the Reunion subdivision.
Under the permit, the company is paying $4.87 per thousand gallons for its water, $1.10 more than the average residential customer. By the end of December, the fracking operation had used 453,700 gallons of water – more than three times the average use of a South Adams Water household for an entire year.
The water district says although it is still working out the details on the limits it will set for leasing water, it does see some potential benefits to leasing water to fracking operations. South Adams County Water and Sanitation District spokesman Jim Jones cites the possibility of lower utility bills for residential customers due to increased profits and less impact on local roads because companies can pump the water direct instead of trucking it in from an outside source.
Meanwhile, here’s a report about waterless hydraulic fracturing from Matt Goodman writing for CBSDFW.com. From the article:
What if it was possible to frack without water?
In 2008, Calgary-based energy company GasFrac did just that: it used a thick propane gel in place of treated water. The method, called liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) fracturing –– or simply gas fracking –– pumps a mix of the gel and sand into the shale formations more than a mile underground.
That mixture is the fracking fluid. It’s used to break up the rock, releasing natural gas bubbles trapped inside. While facing extreme pressure deep inside the earth, the propane gel turns into a vapor and returns to the surface with the natural gas, where it can be recaptured.
“We don’t do any water with the frack,” said Emmett Capt, GasFrac’s vice president of U.S. operations. “We use what actually comes out of the ground.”
Since 2008, GasFrac has successfully harvested natural gas using its method about 1,000 times, Capt said. Nine hundred of those were at wells in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and New Brunswick.
Finally, Governor Hickenlooper wants local government to tread cautiously in the area of oil and gas regulation. Here’s a report from David O. Williams writing for the Colorado Independent. From the article:
“When the Environmental Defense Fund and Halliburton stood together in Colorado in support of the state’s new ‘fracking’ disclosure rule, other states took notice,” Hickenlooper said during his State of the State address. “It’s another reason why we believe so passionately in the power of partnership and collaboration.”
State Rep. Matt Jones, D-Louisville, said last month he was working on a bill with Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins, that would give local governments greater control over drilling operations, including hydraulic fracturing. They’ll be fighting an uphill battle with Hickenlooper, however.
“In that same spirit [of collaboration], we intend to work with counties and municipalities to make sure we have appropriate regulation on oil and gas development, but recognize the state can’t have 64 or even more different sets of rules,” Hickenlooper said, referring to the number of counties in the state…
“My focus has been actually getting the oil and gas commission to move ahead on the rules we have already given them the authority for,” state Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass, said. “Some of the issues are reclamation, setbacks, and the other issue is air quality.”
Schwartz said the COGCC can go ahead with a rulemaking on those issues without the legislature getting involved.
“They have the authority to do it; we’ve already done it legislatively,” Schwartz said. “We’ve already had that fight. We have the battle scars from that. We need to have the commission stepping up and really using their authority as opposed to providing more legislation, and if they don’t, it will call for more legislation.”
More oil and gas coverage here and here.