UpdateCorrected: Fracking uses less water than other energy methods

14 November 2012 20:21  [Source: ICIS news]

Correction: In the ICIS news story headlined "Fracking uses less water than other energy methods - lawyer" dated 14 November, please read in the fourth paragraph ...Corn-derived ethanol also contributes to water pollution... instead of ...Corn-derived ethanol also uses far more water... A corrected story follows.

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (ICIS)--Hydraulic fracturing uses far less water compared to other methods of obtaining energy, a lawyer said on Wednesday, defending the process of extracting natural gas from shale.

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, involves injecting a water-and-sand mixture into deep shale rock formations to free up previously inaccessible natural gas. One criticism is the large amounts of water used in the process.

Less than 1% of Pennsylvania’s 9.48bn gallons/day water consumption is used for fracking, said John Hanger, a counsel with Eckert Seamans and a keynote speaker at the ChemInnovations 2012 conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Meanwhile, some 70% of Pennsylvania water is used by power plants. Corn-derived ethanol also uses far more water, said Hanger, with about 40% of corn grown for ethanol production. And large hydro plants can have a significant impact on water use as well.

“If we’re not going to use [natural] gas, we’re going to use something else,” Hanger said. “What you will find is the use of water from that something else would be considerably more compared to gas.”

Pennsylvania is the third-ranked state in the US natural gas industry, producing 5.3bn cubic feet/day or almost 2 trillion cubic feet/year.

The gas-rich Marcellus Shale geologic formation has enabled Pennsylvania to become a major player in the shale gas boom, contributing 10% of the US natural gas supply.

The advent of shale gas has provided the US petrochemical industry with cheap energy and feedstock natural gas liquids.

By: Tracy Dang
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