With the recent flurry of oil and gas activity in Texas, state regulators have set their sights on hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking.” This new technology allows oil and gas companies to tap previously unreachable oil and gas minerals trapped below the earth’s surface in shale rock. Fracking is the process of shooting water, sand and chemicals deep under the earth’s surface to break free these residual hydrocarbons and capture them for sale on the open market.
This process has caused a spike in US domestic oil and gas production, but this benefit comes with its fair share of controversy, including environmental issues such as ground water contamination of our state’s underground aquifers.
These new rules, which are expected to be adopted by the Legislature early next year, will focus on the integrity of the well and force the industry to use quality cement when casing a well as well as conduct pressure testing on the pipes used in fracking. Fracking activities will also be prohibited within 1,000 feet of an underground aquifer. There are also restrictions on offshore activities including the installation of blowout preventers on certain wells, in an effort to avoid another disaster such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.
These changes come on the heels of a recently-published study by the Groundwater Protection Council, which found 10 confirmed instances of groundwater contamination in Texas as the result of faulty drilling and/or well completion activities between 1993-2008.
Environmentalists and some within the oil industry are touting these new regulations as a move in the right direction.
If you or someone you know has a legal question about oil and gas operations, royalties, or groundwater contamination, please call the Oil & Gas Fracking Contamination Attorneys at Hill Law Firm to schedule a free consultation.