The Widdershins

THERE’S MONEY IN THAT FRACKING WASTE!

Posted on: May 28, 2013

waste-expo-convention-logo

And I mean literally in that fracking waste or the stuff left over when the companies have fracked themselves silly on some farm or other piece of real estate that used to be the family farm.  In fact, Wunderlich Securities held a seminar at the Waste Expo convention recently  in New Orleans on the question of “Is Energy Waste the New Frontier?”  (open only to institutional and *qualified* investors).

Now you know, come to think of it, I bet there is a sh!tload of money to be made in cleaning up that mess.  According to an article in nola. com written during the convention, the waste business can look forward to: Shale fracking proves $30 billion-a-year boon to waste disposal industry.

On the amount of water alone, this article states that “The fracking process uses an estimated 136 billion gallons of water a year in the United States and Canada. Once used, the water must be treated and reused, or disposed. The drilling also produces other waste products, mud and rock”.

Now to have a quick lesson on fracking, how does it work?  According to the nola.com article:

Producers drill wells straight down between 1,500 feet and 15,000 feet deep to reach shale rock, which has oil and natural gas embedded in it. The wellhole is then curved to a horizontal position and extended as much as a mile into the formation. Small explosions are set off to fracture the surrounding rock, while a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals is pumped into the horizontal passage to help release the gas.

Fracking of wells (non-hydraulic type) has been around since the 1860s or so according to Wiki.  But the “super fracking” for oil and gas did not come up until much later in the process.  And it’s those chemicals that have me asking a lot of questions, both about their use in the process and then their disposal after a well is completed.  You see, the exact combination of chemicals and water and other liquids used is considered a “trade secret” by the oil and other companies involved in fracking.  According to Allen Stewart, an attorney in Dallas:

Fracking fluids are complex mixtures of chemicals, water, and sand that are unique to each company. Like Colonel Sanders’ 11 secret herbs and spices, the makeup of this fluid is a jealously guarded trade secret that the oil and gas companies typically refuse to divulge, even under pressure. In the past, the industry has remained largely unregulated, but over the last few years, environmental watchdog groups have become increasingly concerned.

We do know, however, courtesy of the New York State Dept. of Environment Conversation, that at least these chemicals are among the ones used:

2634-33-5 1,2-Benzisothiazolin-2-one / 1,2-benzisothiazolin-3-one
95-63-6 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene
123-91-1 1,4-Dioxane
3452-07-1 1-eicosene
629-73-2 1-hexadecene
112-88-9 1-octadecene
1120-36-1 1-tetradecene
10222-01-2 2,2 Dibromo-3-nitrilopropionamide, a biocide
27776-21-2 2,2′-azobis-{2-(imidazlin-2-yl)propane}-dihydrochloride
73003-80-2 2,2-Dibromomalonamide
15214-89-8 2-Acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulphonic acid sodium salt polymer
46830-22-2 2-acryloyloxyethyl(benzyl)dimethylammonium chloride
52-51-7 2-Bromo-2-nitro-1,3-propanediol
111-76-2 2-Butoxy ethanol
1113-55-9 2-Dibromo-3-Nitriloprionamide (2-Monobromo-3-nitriilopropionamide)
104-76-7 2-Ethyl Hexanol
67-63-0 2-Propanol / Isopropyl Alcohol / Isopropanol / Propan-2-ol
26062-79-3 2-Propen-1-aminium, N,N-dimethyl-N-2-propenyl-chloride, homopolymer
9003-03-6 2-propenoic acid, homopolymer, ammonium salt
25987-30-8 2-Propenoic acid, polymer with 2 p-propenamide, sodium salt / Copolymer of acrylamide and sodium acrylate
71050-62-9 2-Propenoic acid, polymer with sodium phosphinate (1:1)
66019-18-9 2-propenoic acid, telomer with sodium hydrogen sulfite
107-19-7 2-Propyn-1-ol / Propargyl alcohol
51229-78-8 3,5,7-Triaza-1-azoniatricyclo[3.3.1.13,7]decane, 1-(3-chloro-2-propenyl)-chloride,
115-19-5 3-methyl-1-butyn-3-ol
127087-87-0 4-Nonylphenol Polyethylene Glycol Ether Branched / Nonylphenol ethoxylated / Oxyalkylated Phenol
64-19-7 Acetic acid
68442-62-6 Acetic acid, hydroxy-, reaction products with triethanolamine
108-24-7 Acetic Anhydride
67-64-1 Acetone
79-06-1 Acrylamide
38193-60-1 Acrylamide – sodium 2-acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonate copolymer
25085-02-3 Acrylamide – Sodium Acrylate Copolymer or Anionic Polyacrylamide
69418-26-4 Acrylamide polymer with N,N,N-trimethyl-2[1-oxo-2-propenyl]oxy Ethanaminium chloride
15085 -02-3 Acrylamide-sodium acrylate copolymer
68551-12-2 Alcohols, C12-C16, Ethoxylated (a.k.a. Ethoxylated alcohol)
64742-47-8 Aliphatic Hydrocarbon / Hydrotreated light distillate / Petroleum Distillates / Isoparaffinic Solvent / Paraffin Solvent / Napthenic Solvent
64743-02-8 Alkenes
68439-57-6 Alkyl (C14-C16) olefin sulfonate, sodium salt
9016-45-9 Alkylphenol ethoxylate surfactants
1327-41-9 Aluminum chloride
73138-27-9 Amines, C12-14-tert-alkyl, ethoxylated
71011-04-6 Amines, Ditallow alkyl, ethoxylated
68551-33-7 Amines, tallow alkyl, ethoxylated, acetates
1336-21-6 Ammonia
631-61-8 Ammonium acetate
68037-05-8 Ammonium Alcohol Ether Sulfate
7783-20-2 Ammonium bisulfate
10192-30-0 Ammonium bisulfite
12125-02-9 Ammonium chloride
7632-50-0 Ammonium citrate
37475-88-0 Ammonium Cumene Sulfonate
1341-49-7 Ammonium hydrogen-difluoride
6484-52-2 Ammonium nitrate
7727-54-0 Ammonium Persulfate / Diammonium peroxidisulphate
1762-95-4 Ammonium Thiocyanate
7664-41-7 Aqueous ammonia
121888-68-4 Bentonite, benzyl(hydrogenated tallow alkyl) dimethylammonium stearate complex / organophilic clay
71-43-2 Benzene
119345-04-9 Benzene, 1,1′-oxybis, tetratpropylene derivatives, sulfonated, sodium salts
74153-51-8 Benzenemethanaminium, N,N-dimethyl-N-[2-[(1-oxo-2-propenyl)oxy]ethyl]-, chloride, polymer with 2-propenamide
10043-35-3 Boric acid
1303-86-2 Boric oxide / Boric Anhydride
71-36-3 Butan-1-ol
68002-97-1 C10 – C16 Ethoxylated Alcohol
68131-39-5 C12-15 Alcohol, Ethoxylated
10043-52-4 Calcium chloride

That’s only a portion of the list and you can see the rest of them at the link above.  However, the companies are loath to release exactly which chemicals they use.  Again, quoting Wiki:

While some of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing are common and generally harmless, some are known carcinogens at high enough doses.[60] A report prepared for House Democratic members Henry Waxman, Edward Markey and Diana DeGette stated that out of 2,500 hydraulic fracturing products, “more than 650 of these products contained chemicals that are known or possible human carcinogens, regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, or listed as hazardous air pollutants”.[60] The report also shows that between 2005 and 2009, 279 products had at least one component listed as “proprietary” or “trade secret” on their Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) required material safety data sheet (MSDS). The MSDS is a list of chemical components in the products of chemical manufacturers, and according to OSHA, a manufacturer may withhold information designated as “proprietary” from this sheet. When asked to reveal the proprietary components, most companies participating in the investigation were unable to do so, leading the committee to surmise these “companies are injecting fluids containing unknown chemicals about which they may have limited understanding of the potential risks posed to human health and the environment”. Without knowing the identity of the proprietary components, regulators cannot test for their presence. This prevents government regulators from establishing baseline levels of the substances prior to hydraulic fracturing and documenting changes in these levels, thereby making it more difficult to prove that hydraulic fracturing is contaminating the environment with these substances.

You may have seen the italics on “government regulators” because there are no or very few federal government regulations or regulators on fracking.  Quoting again from the nola.com piece:

The oil and gas exploration and production industry is exempt from the stringent federal regulations governing hazardous waste. But repeated concerns about the effects of fracking have resulted in increased regulation in many states, and the federal government is considering similar restrictions.

Restrictions similar to U.S. hazardous waste rules already govern fracking operations in Canada, said John Gibson, chief executive of the Tervita Corp., which makes $1.6 billion a year disposing of drill cuttings, drilling mud and other wastes in Canada and the United States, and another $3.5 billion a year transporting oil by pipeline from wellheads to larger pipelines.

“Canada has a tougher regulatory environment, but I believe the U.S. will evolve,” he said

Now it is interesting to note that Alberta Canada just last year “eliminated ‘land farming’ of oil-field wastes, a practice where the wastes are sprayed over open land and allowed to break down naturally.”  That was something done away with, at least in Louisiana, some time ago when some (I believe)Exxon land had been found to be filled with xylene, benzene, toulene and some of the other “lenes” that have been found to be carcinogenic.

As was said, most of the regulations on fracking currently have been at the state level, namely Colorado, Pennsylvania, Texas and Louisiana (that last one scares me:  lil Bobby will just tell ’em to do what they want).

Going back to nola.com:

The federal government seems poised to develop a moderate approach to regulation, led by President Barack Obama, said Kevin Book, managing director of ClearView Energy Partners LLC, which tracks energy regulations. “We’re seeing the maturation of the political fracking revolution,” Book said.

The first new federal fracking restrictions govern fracking on federally owned lands and were issued last week by the Bureau of Land Management; Book said they include hints about the direction that the Environmental Protection Agency may take in the next two years as it rolls out its own rules governing fracking.

The E.P.A. has already set some rules on fracking, but those rules deal with air pollution from the wells, not the crap they are using underground.

The Obama administration on Wednesday set the first-ever national standards to control air pollution from gas wells that are drilled using a method called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, but not without making concessions to the oil and gas industry.

[snip]

Much of the air pollution from fracked gas wells is vented when the well transitions from drilling to actual production, a three- to 10-day process which is referred to as “completion.” An earlier version of the rule limiting air pollution from gas wells would have required companies to install pollution-reducing equipment immediately after the rule was finalized.

Drillers now will be given more than two years to employ technology to reduce emissions of smog- and soot-forming pollutants during that stage. The Environmental Protection Agency will require drillers to burn off gas in the meantime, an alternative that can release smog-forming nitrogen oxides, but will still slash overall emissions.

In May the administration did set some new rules concerning fracking on federal and Indian land that did cover the issue of chemicals used and water, but there were a lot of concessions to the industry.

In its first update of hydraulic fracturing regulations in three decades, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management would require wider disclosure of chemicals used in drilling. It would also require that companies have a water-management plan for fluids that flow back to the surface and take steps to assure wellbore integrity and prevent toxic fluids from leaking into groundwater.

But environmental groups expressed disappointment that the regulations do not include a ban on the storage of waste fluids in open, lined pits. They also want complete disclosure of chemicals used in fracking, which the regulations would not require.

So here’s my question for the “waste disposal” industry.  If the fracking companies can claim “trade secret” on what’s in their drilling fluids, how in the hell are those disposal companies going to know how to dispose of those fluids?  There’s a

Fracking-on-farm-Mansfield_LA

helluva difference between the way you dispose of cellulose and say, benzene, xylene, hydrochloric acid and others.  Where do you safely dispose this stuff?  And if the federal regulations on the fracking process itself are lax, how strong are they going to be on the disposal companies?

This is an open thread.

27 Responses to "THERE’S MONEY IN THAT FRACKING WASTE!"

Ummmm…… how about if we were to bury it in T. Boone’s back yard?
Frickin’ fracking.

Nothin’ to see here, folks. Now you all move along and don’t worry your little heads about it.

Nope, nothing to see at all.

When writing this piece, I was blown away at the amount of water that’s used in the process and I had to wonder if they can really treat that water after having been used with all of those chemicals. Plus, if the oil and gas companies won’t release what’s in that goo that they use to break up the rock, how in the hell are the disposal companies going to know how to properly dispose of all of it? And one thing was made abundantly clear: these companies absolutely do not want the Feds creating regulations on any of this. They want state regulations (if those) only. Perhaps Colorado and New York state could write decent regulations but I damn sure don’t trust the state governments of Texas and Louisiana to act in the interest of the citizens.

Stop asking so many hard questions, Fredster.

Fracking waste disposal means jobs, jobs, jobs! I’m sure our Gov. Pence is hoping to cash in. Give us your frackin’ waste but we don’t want no frickin’ Obamacare!!!

Fracking is bad — horribly bad and it is all happening to put the refined, environmentally devastating product on the world market since we are at stasis in terms of percentage of ordinary production and use.

Thank you for this post Fredster — there’s so much to plow through here to make it understandable, you’ve made it easier for me.

In all these articles and all the commentary, have you seen one piece that talks about the oil companies, the richest companies the planet has ever seen, that details the decades of lies they have used to persuade the world that oil is a finite resource for which they must continue to gouge the public while at the same time they were holding these “reserves” on their books? The way oil companies are valued by their reserves and these “fracking properties” have been held on their books for decades and only now when the price of oil has met their price point with affordable technology, they are feeding the world oil demand of China, India, Russia, and Brazil while whining about the struggling and tepid EPA decides what to do with the mess.

Disgusting!

Stop asking so many hard questions, Fredster.

I’m a pain in the ass that way sometimes. 😉

@4, Beata, your comment reminds me of changing the inscription on the Statue of Liberty to: Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled mass of billions of tons of fracking waste for we no longer yearn to breathe air free of smothering pollutants.”

Of course, the rededication and new inscription will be underwritten by BP and Exxon-Mobil as a joint tribute to the thirty years of “trickle down” economics that they are now turning into trickle up fracking.

Prolix, of course I barely touched the surface.

Fracking, in and of itself wasn’t a bad idea at first, the way they were doing it, say, to drill water wells, at least that’s what I got from the wiki piece. But it’s the stuff they’re doing now to go after the oil and gas, using all of these chemicals that’s the scary part. And the companies get about two years or so of production out of these wells. After that they become sort of like “stripper wells” in oil. They get some gas out of there but not much.

Prolix said: they are feeding the world oil demand of China, India, Russia, and Brazil while whining about the struggling and tepid EPA decides what to do with the mess.

Bingo! And apparently our Prez is coming down on the “moderate” side on the regs. But those are the regs only governing the process. I haven’t see any mention of regulations regarding the disposal process of all of that mess.

Slightly OT: I grew up in a lower-middle-class neighborhood. Nothing fancy but it was nice and quiet. We lived on a small street that had a woods at one end. There was a fence at the back of the woods and a factory on the other side. A creek ran down from the factory, through the fence, and into the woods. All the neighborhood children, including me, played in that woods and waded barefoot in that creek. We spent many happy hours there. My childhood best friend and I liked to take our Barbie dolls “swimming” in the creek. We called it “Rainbow Creek” because it was often such pretty colors – blues, greens, pinks. Lots of times the pretty colors were foamy, like some kind of soap floating on the water. Little did we know the factory was working on DOD contracts at the time. This was during the Cold War. The factory has been closed for years now. Who knows what was in that water? Factory records are unavailable. At least three of the children from those years who once played in “Rainbow Creek” at the end of that small street developed a rare type of brain tumor. One of them is dead. Two are still alive – my childhood best friend and I. There may be more of us. Lots of neighborhood children moved away from town a long time ago. We don’t know where they are or what happened to them.

Beata@10: Oh dear Lord. And since the factory was working on a DoD contract you’ll probably never know what the hell they were doing. SMH

@7: Well said, Prolix.

@13 — Old turtlehead has been running both radio and teevee spots for the past month or so. It is the same old harangue, Obama is scary, Obama doesn’t like me, I’m a thorn in Obama’s Muslim side, sorta thing. He’s been running all over the state declaring a “war on coal” blah, blah, blah, but that story outside of the mine owners (interestingly, rank and file accept the truth about the economics of natural gas) isn’t holding much sway.

The editorial boards and even the vast majority of letters to the editor are really calling him out on his obstructionist ways on healthcare and believe it not, gun safety. The ads have backfired, it’s two years and he’s blasting away at imaginary foes. Strategically, what he’s doing is trying to prove his bona fides to the Tea Party types (he hired Jesse Benton, a Rand Paul brother-in-law) to run his campaign in order to engender some lovin’ from the leggings and tri-corner sporters.

Sec. of State Allison Lundergan Grimes is still, as yet, undeclared. She is very popular and comes from an old line Democratic family. Her dad is a big pal with Bill and Hillary and he actually catered Chelsea’s wedding. Allison could pick her next office — AG or Lt. Gov. and I don’t know if she will want to become a warrior in the scorched earth politics of turtle head.

The down and dirty of this story is that turtle head has never had a well-spring of support in the state — his support has always been lukewarm. He was Jefferson County (Louisville) Judge before he beat a terribly weak candidate in his first election in 1984 — since that time, he’s always had tons of money (he married into it), weak opponents, and he’s just ruthless.

It has caught up with him on his obstructionist ways — there’s over 300,000 people who will now have insurance and he’s done everything possible to see that they don’t get it. That’s a pretty good voting bloc from which to start campaigning against him. Fun fact to know and tell, after California and New York, Kentucky has received the third most federal dollars to get the ACA exchanges up and running. His pandering over Obamacare might be just the thing to send him into his shell permanently.

Fun fact to know and tell, after California and New York, Kentucky has received the third most federal dollars to get the ACA exchanges up and running.

That’s great! La obviously won’t be participating in the exchanges but the Feds will create an exchange for us. I saw some stuff on the Cali program, http://www.coveredca.com/news/index.html and the good thing is that there are choices, and the prices aren’t bad for single coverage. Not great, but not bad either. So good on for Ky!

Grimes could do worse than having the Big Dawg and Hillary to campaign for her if she runs and of course I’m pickled tink about turtlehead possibly sweating it out and then losing. 🙂

Going out to eat, Stove’s cook top exploded and caught fire. It is a 1970’s golden wheat Litton Micromatic Stove with a microwave-oven combo devise. I am okay and the fire is out. It scared me Sh*tless.

Well he got his money’s worth out of it called landlord 2 times and it went to voice mail….I better have a new stove soon or else.

heavens, Fuzzy! I completely understand. I don’t work as well as I did in the ’70s either/

Fuzzy OMG! At least you’re okay. If the landlord doesn’t replace the stove, can you report him? Were the appliances included with your apt.?

Fredster, great post!

Beata – that is truly horrible and scary. To think that Rainbow Creek could have been the cause of your illness!

Fuzzy – I’m so glad you are okay. Your poor stove and kitchen!

MB@19: Thank ye! 🙂

Oh and about the little picture in the post: That’s a pic of a farm in Mansfield LA where the owner has signed away his heritage for a fracking operation, to the right in the picture. You can bet that land will never be the same afterwards.

I agree Fredster, it is dreadful. People are desperate in this economy and will do whatever they have to to keep the money flowing…

he is a good guy but flaky and fredster yes came with appliances stove refrigerator

Fuzzy@23: Well then, he’s responsible to replace it. If he’s too slow to do so, tell him you’ll buy one yourself and then subtract that from the rent. That should get him moving. 😉

Fredster, excellent article. You’re right this is an up and coming business. Hubbie has heard a lot of talk about it.

Fuzzy, thank god you’re okay!

Prolix, hope you’re right and the end of the reign of the turtle is in sight.

Beata, that is really scary. I wish you could sue them. I wonder if its a superfund site. You can look it up on the superfund website.

Socal: are you and the family being affected by the latest fires around there? Saw something about it on the teevee.

No, I don’t even know about them. Laker is leaving for Miami in a few hours and I’ve been busy all day getting his stuff ready.

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