Is this what Canada's petro-slag heap, a.k.a. Alberta, has coming?
The Tyee's fossil fuel writer and author, Andrew Nikiforuk, offers a look at the ecological price being exacted on the population of west Texas.
New radar satellite imagery shows that intense oil and gas activity has destabilized the geology of a 10,000-sq.-kilometre area in west Texas causing the ground to heave and sink dramatically.
“If we do not mitigate the possible geohazards with continuous monitoring of surface deformation,” warned researchers, “we can expect one or more possible outcomes” including damage to roads, railroads and dams, groundwater pollution, more earthquake activity and “potential threat to residents in surrounding communities.”
Geophysicists at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, took a hard look at the Permian Basin where companies such as Calgary-based Encana are now furiously fracking for light oil.
The Permian is one of the continent’s oldest oil fields, with more than 30 billion barrels of oil pulled out of the ground over the last 100 years.
With the advent of hydraulic fracturing, west Texas has experienced “unprecedented increases” in seismic activity in the last five to six years, as have Alberta and B.C.
The study, published in Nature, also reported that the ground was sinking by two to 10 centimetres around active, abandoned and orphaned wells.
“This region of Texas has been punctured like a pin cushion with oil wells and injection wells since the 1940s, and our findings associate that activity with ground movement,” explained Jin-Woo Kim, a research scientist at the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences at SMU.
Researchers also found that in some areas oil and gas activity had created sinkholes by introducing freshwater to salt formations which caused them to dissolve.
Similar issues have plagued oilsands development near Fort McMurray where the melting of salt formations under bitumen deposits has created sinkholes and other geohazards and cracked the cap rock.Follow the link. Read the article. I'm done.