Industry Group Calls New Fracking Report Confusing

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A worker fills a truck tank with Liquefied natural gas.

One group unhappy with the Department of Energy’s draft report on shale gas drilling is the American Petroleum Institute, calling it disappointing and confusing. API represents about 470 oil and natural gas companies. C.E.O. Jack Gerard criticized the Shale Gas Subcommittee’s recommendations to reduce the use of diesel engines during the natural production process. The Subcommittee wants the natural gas industry to use natural gas burning engines instead, because, as we are often told by industry, natural gas is a cleaner burning. But in a press release, Gerard says natural gas would cost too much.

It recommended reduction in use of diesel engines, oblivious or dismissive of the practical and economic considerations that require their use.  And it ignored consideration of the potential benefits and costs of new rules, an omission that could cause harm to consumers, jobs and the economy.”

Potential benefits and costs? I’m confused more by the API’s statement than the 42-page D.O.E report.

But wait, there’s more:

“The shortcomings may in part be due to the fact that none of its members are from the industry or have direct experience in natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations.”

None of its members are from the industry or have fracking experience?

John Deutch, who led President Obama’s fracking panel [also known as the Shale Gas Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board], served as Director of Energy Research for the D.O.E in the Carter Administration. The use of hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling to tap shale gas was, in part, developed by the D.O.E. under the Carter Administration. And Deutch is now a board member of Raytheon and Cheniere Energy. Several other members of the Subcommittee have ties to the gas industry. Stephen Holditch serves on the board of Triangle Petroleum and Matador Resources. Holditch is a petroleum engineer who founded his own consulting company that specializes in shale gas. He’s written about hydraulic fracturing and has taught fracking for 30 years. Full bios of the Subcommittee members can be found here.

But API is not the only unhappy camper. The Environmental Working Group took issue with the report even before it was released, saying all but one member had ties to industry. Now EWG says the Subcommittee side-stepped the meaty issues and instead took a cynical approach by focusing on gaining back the public’s trust.


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