Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Natural Gas Drilling Companies Searching for Hydraulic Fracturing Alternatives

It seems the gas drilling industry is getting a little nervous about what the EPA Hydraulic Fracturing study and the U.S. House committee investigation may find. Some companies are investing time and money into developing environmentally conscious alternatives.

The process of Hydraulic Fracturing uses massive amounts of water, sand, and hundreds of chemicals. Residents living near gas drilling have complained that the process has contaminated their water and soil. In addition to the contamination, there have been reports of many suffering from health issues.

Devon Energy and others are practicing on-site recycling of produced water. Baker Hughes and Schlumberger are trying out environmentally friendly chemicals. Even Halliburton Co is looking at changes to their hydraulic fracturing process.

Everybody seems to be getting in on the green train! In the past gas drilling companies have been afraid of "doing it right" because they complained the cost would put them out of business. It looks like going green could become very profitable for some investors. This paragraph from the Wall Street Journal article mentions a few big names.

The market for such products is also attracting interest from deep-pocketed investors including Drew Bledsoe, who was the former quarterback for the former New England Patriots and other teams. He and his partners -- including Troy Aikman, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback -- have invested $10 million in a Stuart, Fla.-based company that claims it can eliminate the need for antibacterial chemicals by killing bacteria at the surface before water is injected into wells. The company, Ecosphere, is working on ways that gas producers can recycle the waste water used in fracking instead of shipping it to a treatment site or disposal site.

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