First of all, let me begin by clarifying what The Barnett Shale is. The Barnett Shale is a geological formation consisting in sedimentary rocks that underlie under the Dallas- Ft Worth Metroplex. 5.000 miles long portion of rocks sitting under 17 counties. The productive portion of the shale is under Johnson, Tarrant, and Dallas counties.
It’s considered as being the largest producible reserve of natural gas found on shores of the United States. Also, oil has been found here but in smaller quantities.
Because gas was hard to extract so it can be produced in commercial quantities the gas and oil companies use hydraulic fracking; The hydraulic fracturing is a technique that fractures the rocks with pressurized liquid.
The high-pressure injection of the hydraulic liquid ( a mix of water, sand, and thickening agents) produces breaks in the rock formation. The gas, petroleum, and sodium chloride ( salty water) will flow freely through these cracks.
The hydraulic fracturing was introduced in 1947 and used by millions of oil and gas wells.The hydraulic fracking is a controversial subject. In many countries, the fracking was already banned but the advocate of it sustain that the economical gain received from the approachable hydrocarbons are an critical factor for not to be banned in the United States.
The potential environmental impact can’t be ignored either. The risk of water and ground contamination, air pollution, noise pollution, public health problems, and earthquakes are growing problems associated with fracking.
A major part of the formation is under the urban area of Dallas- Ft Worth. Ideas like drilling in the public parks, so the local governments may obtain royalties if any minerals are found, or seeking compensations for the damage roads caused by overweight trucks from the local trucking companies, are discussed frequently. Most of the roads in the area are not designed to sustain the high traffic of the heavy duty equipment, and they are destroyed, so the local government is seeking for compensation from the drilling companies.
From 2002 to 2010 the Barnett Shale was the most productive shale in the U.S. In 2010 there were 14.000 wells in the Barnett Shale and 3.000 more got new permits in the same year.
In January 2013, the Barnett Shale produced over 4 billion cubic feet of gas each day which represented almost 7 % of all the natural gas produced in the United States.
The first company drilling wells in the Barnette area was Mitchel Energy in 1981, but the first successful and cost effective drill was made in 1998. After 1998 competitors realized that, the gas can be extracted profitably, so they started buying leases. By 2008, the landowners that had wells on their land were paid bonuses between $500 and $69.000/ ha
The cleanup costs of the toxic byproducts of drilling may not be worth the tax revenue and the environmental effects of the contaminated drinking water, air pollution from natural gas compression.