Wed August 3, 2011

Halliburton Chief: Fracking is Safe, Proven

Oil and gas industry officials meeting in Denver say the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a safe technology that doesn’t pollute groundwater.  But they say it’s getting a bad rap among some policymakers and in the media.

Oil and gas drillers frack wells by injecting a mix of mostly sand and water and some chemicals to blast through tight-sand formations to unlock oil and gas reserves that often lie thousands of feet below the earth’s surface.  Advances in technology have allowed the so-called unconventional oil industry to flourish.  But this has also led many states to tighten regulations amid reports of suspected groundwater contamination. 

Speaking at the Colorado Oil and Gas Association's annual meeting, Halliburton CEO Dave Lesar says companies need to do a better job controlling contamination at the surface of their wells.  But he says fracking itself does not threaten water.

"The truth is there have been no documented cases of hydaulic fracturing affecting the water table," Lesar said.  He added that there has been "propaganda" and false statements surrounding the process by its critics. 

"We’re not perfect as an industry," Lesar said. "But I don’t know of any industry in the world that’s perfect, but we do strive for it, every single day."

Lesar also spent part of a keynote speech touting the economic impacts of the industry in Rocky Mountain states where Halliburton's workforce has grown by more than 25% lately. He said his company now employs about 5,000 people in Colorado alone.  Halliburton recently moved its western hemisphere corporate headquarters from Texas to Denver. 

Statements like those heard often here seem to go against comments widely made by industry executives just a couple of years ago when companies said they were shedding jobs due to Colorado’s regulatory climate.