Daniel Raimi: The Fracking Debate book talk

January 24, 2018 1:15:17
Kaltura Video

Daniel Raimi talks about his new book "The Fracking Debate: The Risks, Benefits, and Uncertainties of the Shale Revolution." January, 2018. 


0:00:02: Good afternoon, and welcome. My name is Catherine Hausman. I'm an assistant professor here in the Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. And I am delighted to welcome you here for today's special book talk at the Ford School, co-sponsored by the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy, the University of Michigan Energy Institute, and the Graham Sustainability Institute. Today's event is going to allow us to dig a little deeper into the fracking debate, its risks, its benefits, the uncertainties of the shale revolution. We are honored to be joined by our very own lecturer in Public Policy, also senior researcher at Resources for the Future, and author of "The Fracking Debate", Daniel Raimi. Daniel is a policy researcher and analyst, with expertise on energy policy issues, including oil and gas markets, and policy in the United States. His additional areas of expertise include the climate implications of shale gas development and federal climate policy design. Daniel has published in academic journals such as Science, Environmental Science and Technology, The Journal of Economic Perspectives, and The Annual Review of Resource Economics. He received his master's degree in Public Policy from Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy, and his bachelor's degree in Music, from Wesleyan University.

0:01:26: In his first book, The Fracking Debate: The Risks, Benefits, and Uncertainties of the Shale Revolution, Daniel directly addresses the most common questions and concerns associated with fracking. What is fracking? Does fracking pollute the water supply? Will fracking make the United States energy independent? Does fracking cause earthquakes? How is fracking regulated? And is it good for the economy? Before we ask Daniel about the answers to these questions, and to tell us more about his journey to writing this book, I'd like to provide you with a brief overview for today's timeline. Daniel will begin with a brief book talk. And then following his talk, I will begin the Q&A portion of our time, and then we'll open up Q&A to the audience here, as well as to those who are watching in on the live stream. That will happen at 4:55. Ford School staff will be standing in the room with handheld microphones for those of you with questions. And I'm told that if you're live streaming, you can tweet your questions as well. At 5:30 there will be a reception outside with books available. Now please join me in welcoming author, Daniel Raimi to the podium.


0:02:43: Thanks, Katie. Good afternoon everyone. It's great to be here.

0:02:52: Good afternoon.

0:02:52: Good afternoon. [chuckle] It's especially fun to be here because this book started in a way in this room. I guess about four years ago, before my wife Kaitlin and I even had the thought that we would move to Ann Arbor and live here in Michigan, I was invited to give a talk at CLOSUP by Barry Rabe. And I made my way up here, I was living in Nashville at the time, I think, and talked about some research that I was doing on the local impacts of oil and gas development. And Barry and I went out for dinner afterwards. We were talking, and I was telling him some stories of the places that I had visited, and he, I think in an off handed comment that he does not remember making, he said, "Oh, you should write a book." And I said, "Oh, you're crazy. I'm not gonna write a book. That's too hard, and it takes too long." But anyway, I wrote the book, and here we are today.

0:03:47: So thanks to Barry and CLOSUP. Thanks to Bonnie Roberts, thanks to Emily Hickey, thanks to the University of Michigan Energy Institute, thanks to the Urban Institute, to CYS, and to the Graham Institute, for helping make today happen. Okay, let's get into it. I'm gonna start with the way any good serious topic should start, which is with Onion Headline. And this is a really great headline, because it captures a really basic idea, which is that the fracking debate is coarse, and opinions are strong. But as I'll describe over the next 20 minutes or so, the realities are complex. The issues are not gonna go away any time soon. And governments, companies, and citizens, need good information to make decisions. What this book does, and what I'll try to do briefly in today's talk is, provide some of that information that I hope can help improve decisions, as well as to improve your understanding, and the public's understanding of this extremely important topic.

0:04:53: Katie mentioned some of these chapter titles. These are the chapters in the book. These are the topics that I try to cover. The book combines stories from places that I visited, with reviews of the relevant academic research on each of these topics. Obviously I'm not gonna talk about all of these today, but I just wanted to give you a sense of what the book covers. I'm gonna come back to this list in a second, but first, a basic question: What is fracking? Again, I'm gonna do this quickly, but fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing. It's also a word that's used on Battlestar Galactica often, if you're a Battlestar Galactica fan. It substitutes for a certain curse word that you can probably guess. But today, when we say fracking, we're talking about hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing is a process that happens after an oil or gas well has been drilled. It involves pumping large volumes of water, mixed with sand and chemicals deep underground to stimulate production from an oil or gas well.

0:06:00: The fluid creates fractures in the rock, as you can see there where the oil and gas is held, and then most of the fluid flows back to the surface. Some of the sand stays behind to keep the fractures open and allow oil or gas to continue to flow. And if everything goes right, the oil and gas flows out of the fractures into the well and up to the surface. Companies have been stimulating oil and gas wells since the beginning of the oil industry in the 1850s in Pennsylvania. So the basic principle of injecting a fluid, or making some kind of explosion happen at the bottom of a well is nothing new in the oil and gas industry. What is new is that hydraulic fracturing has been applied to shale resources and other so called tight rocks. It's been applied at larger scale than it was historically, and it's been combined with horizontal drilling and other new technologies to more economically tap these resources that were not economical previous to this revolution.

0:07:00: And it really is a revolution as I'll show in just a couple minutes. But back to my list of questions, they're each big and complex as I mentioned, and what I'm gonna do instead of trying to go through the research with you, I'm just gonna tell a few stories from three different places that I've been that I think illustrate the complexities of the issue, and illustrate the realities of the benefits and risks that these technologies have led to. And if you're coming into today completely pro fracking or completely anti fracking, my hope is that my talk today will give you at least some reason to see the other side of the argument, and maybe dig a little bit deeper into these topics.

0:07:46: So it's a controversial topic, but one thing that no one debates is that the shale revolution has had an enormous impact on US natural gas and oil production. Sometimes people talk just about shale gas, but this is oil and gas story. This figure shows US natural gas production since the 1950s. You can see how dramatic the effect of shale gas has been on domestic production just in the last 10 years or so. As I mentioned, the same story is true for oil, but maybe even more dramatic. The upturn in oil production has been really astounding. The US is on track to produce more than 10 million barrels per day of oil in the coming months, if we haven't passed that mark already.

0:08:32: This is a map that shows where drilling and fracking actually happens around the United States. It shows all of the oil and gas plays that I've personally visited over the last several years. The blue dots on the map show all of the oil and gas wells in the US that have been drilled either horizontally or directionally. These are the wells that are typically hydraulically fractured.

0:08:55: So, I visited all these places to do research on the impact of oil and gas development on local governments, and I actually interviewed more than 250 local government officials in all of these different regions. This is part of a research project with my colleague, Richard Newell at Resources for the Future. And it was an amazing way to see parts of the country that I never would have gotten to otherwise. I had a lot of conversations, as I mentioned, with government officials during the day. But then at night when I would go back to my hotel room and I had some energy, I didn't have anyone to hang out with. I didn't wanna keep doing work. So I would head out to a restaurant or to a bar and sit at the bar and I talked to the bartender, I talked to whoever was around and asked them questions about how oil and gas development had affected them.

0:09:45: The first trip I took was in 2013, it was to the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania, a prolific natural gas play. I started in the southwestern part of the state, south of Pittsburgh, and then also went to the northeastern part of the state, north of Scranton. I'd read that the Marcellus region was booming, that there were thousands of wells being drilled. There were enormous trucks plying the road, and there were Oklahomans and Texans filling up all the bars and making trouble. And there was some of that. This is a picture of a giant truck heading my way. [chuckle] I don't know why I decided to take my camera out at this particular moment, but I did. But what really struck me was that as I drove around looking for sites like this, looking for wells, looking for rigs, looking for pump jacks, actually I had a hard time finding them, at least in this part of the country.

0:10:38: So I saw a lot more wooded hills and really lovely vistas. This is in Washington County, south of Pittsburgh. I saw a lot of really beautiful old barns and little corn fields. This is in the north eastern part of the state. And it was really beautiful. I kind of expected to go to the Marcellus region expecting to see scenes out of Fritz Lang's Metropolis or something like that. But that's not what I experienced. Nonetheless, I knew where to find some signs of the oil and gas industry, and I found them. This is one particular place, it's called Carter Road in a place called Dimock Township in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, again, north of Scranton. Carter Road, and these wells in particular, are maybe the most high profile cases of water contamination from shale development. Along Carter Road, which is a small dirt road with little houses along the way, there are dozens of signs with big red letters that say things like, "no fracking way" and "ban fracking now", and there was good reason for that. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection found that the well water for over a dozen homes along Carter Road had been contaminated by these wells.

0:11:57: They were contaminated by something called stray gas, also known as methane migration. And to explain this in the simplest way I can. Stray gas is when natural gas that's supposed to stay inside of the well, somehow gets outside of the well and makes its way into someone's water supply. So it was not fracking chemicals that affected these people's water, and natural gas by itself, methane, is not a human health risk if ingested, but, if enough accumulates, you can have an explosion. And there was a small structure that exploded along Carter Road previous to my visit. If you get enough methane in water, you can light that water on fire. And that's an image that you probably have seen as well. But the big question to me was how common are these cases of methane migration. Data are pretty hard to find, but if you dig into data from Pennsylvania, you can get a decent idea. As of last week when I checked, there were 302 cases in Pennsylvania where the state DEP determined that oil and gas activities had negatively affected a water supply. So 302 cases across the state. Most of these... Or about half of these cases came from shale wells that were hydraulically fractured, and about half of them came from so called conventional wells where no fracking was involved.

0:13:26: If you dig deeper into the data, what you find is that in 2010 towards the beginning of shale development in Pennsylvania, there were 12 new cases of stray gas, and 1,600 new shale wells drilled. In other words, you might expect one case of stray gas for every 130 or 135 new wells that were drilled. But over time, since 2010, those numbers have actually come down every year. They've declined, such that in 2015 they were 800 new shale wells drilled in Pennsylvania and zero new cases of stray gas. There are data from other regions that are more limited that I talk about in the book. They generally find similar results, which is that a very small percentage of wells negatively affect ground water. But, because there are tens of thousands of wells drilled in the United States each year, the cumulative impact is not trivial. At the same time, the economic benefits of oil and gas development are meaningful for the people living in these communities.

0:14:31: And this is what I actually found most fascinating about my trip to Demic. Most people in Demic actually want more drilling, not less. What happened was, after the contamination that happened at these wells, the state prohibited any new wells from being drilled within a 9 mile radius of the contamination site. So What happened was, the people on Carter Road were unhappy. But the people in that 9 mile radius who had expected drilling to come in, and who had expected royalty revenue, which would have substantially increased their income, were unhappy because they wanted that drilling to happen. They wanted that revenue. So when I talked to local government officials in Demic in 2013, and then I talked to them again, about month ago I called them up to make sure this was still the case. What they tell me is that most people in Demic want oil and gas drilling to come back.

0:15:29: Here is another story that I found fascinating and surprised me. It's from west Texas from a place called the Permian Basin. Permian Basin is the leading oil producing region of the United States, it has been for a long time. And it's had an amazing renaissance in the last few years, where its just producing more oil than it ever has. There are probably hundreds of thousands of old oil and gas wells in the Permian that look something like this. If you get up really close to this well, which I did, again, probably a bad idea, but I did it anyway. You find that this well is actually leaking a little bit of oil. You can kind of see it there around the base of the well, that dark spot. But there's also lots of new energy development, as I mentioned, in the Permian, lots of new shale development. There's lots of new wind, and there's lots of new solar also being built in West Texas. People in the Permian had been living with the oil and gas industry since the 1920s. Some people like this one in Seminole, Texas, literally have wells in their backyards. They also if... It's a little hard to see, but if you look in the bottom right of this picture, there's a little sign that says "Caution: Poison gas".

0:16:43: There is a pipeline running through seminal Texas, several pipelines that transport something called sour gas which is natural gas that contains hydrogen sulfide, which if inhaled in a sufficient dose can kill you instantly. People in West Texas are familiar with the oil industry. [chuckle] But if you drive a few miles, sorry a few hours southwest to the edge of the Permian Basin, you end up in this wonderful, beautiful spot. It's called Balmorhea State Park, and it's in Balmorhea, Texas. And this photo does not do it justice at all.

0:17:18: It's a natural spring in the middle of the desert. It's warm year round. And when you walk in, you see a big sign in... A yellow sign with red letters that says, "Caution! Rattle snakes", [chuckle] but there are also ducks and turtles in the pond. And so I went swimming and just tried to avoid the rattles snakes which I did. It's a really wonderful place. If you are ever in West Texas, please go here.

0:17:45: So even though Balmorhea is in the Permian Basin, there really hadn't been much drilling in this particular area for, well really, ever. But in 2016, a large oil and gas company called Apache announced that it had discovered oil and gas that it thought would be worth billions of dollars underneath Balmorhea and in the area going into the Davis Mountains, which you can see they're in the background. They called the play Alpine High and they announced that they were going to start drilling wells possibly leading to thousands of wells being put in this area that had not been drilled before.

0:18:18: This being the Permian Basin, most people are supportive of the oil and gas industry, but what surprised me was how many people were unhappy about the idea of drilling in and around this particular place. I have a friend named Rick who works at a large oil and gas company. He and his wife Janice have moved across the country to work in the oil and gas industry. They've lived around the industry their entire... Maybe not their entire lives but their entire adult lives. They generally think that oil and gas companies do a good job protecting the environment in the places where they work under difficult circumstances.

0:18:56: But Janice in particular is really worried about shale development here in Alpine High. She grew up hiking in the mountains in the background with her grandfather, and despite her general support for the industry even in the community where she lives, she doesn't want it to happen in this place. And that perspective where people really familiar with shale development support it in many cases, but not in one case or maybe not in several cases reflects the nuances that I observed meeting people in oil and gas producing regions. And it's something that gets lost when the fight over fracking becomes black and white or purely political.

0:19:37: And there's actually research on this topic about how people view the industry if they live closer or further from it. In general, it finds that people living closer tend to support oil and gas development more. Maybe not a surprise. And it also finds that the further you get from oil and gas producing regions, the more likely people's opinions are to be shaped simply by party affiliation. So if you're a democrat and you live far away you might think something like, "Keep it in the ground" or if you're a conservative and you live far away, you might have a black and white view like, "Drill baby drill." But when you get close to these places where the industry operates, people's views tend to be more nuanced. I saw it over and over again in my conversations in city halls and county court houses but also in bars and restaurants where most people might support the industry overall, but they understood... They understand that it's a mix of good and bad. They understand that there are drawbacks of living with this industry.

0:20:43: Okay. The last place I wanna talk about is Barrow, Alaska. And the last topic I'll address is climate change. Barrow is the northern most city in the United States. It's 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle. And there are no roads that go to Barrow but a few weeks out of the year the sea ice, the Arctic sea ice thaws enough that supplies can be brought in by boat. The rest of the year everything has to be flown in. Which means if you go to the grocery store in Barrow, there's only one and it's small and you try to buy a snack or anything it's incredibly expensive 'cause it all got flown in. So a bag of Cheetos was like $10.

0:21:25: When the sea ice thaws in Barrow village leaders hunt for bowhead whales. These are the jaw bones of a bowhead whale looking out unto the Arctic ocean. The bowhead whales are hunted, they're brought into the village and their meat is divided among the 4,000 mostly native Alaskans who live in Barrow. People store the meat in their basements and they subsist on it throughout the year. But climate change is changing Barrow. I met with local government officials who told me about coastal erosion and how it was accelerating. How they were planning on spending millions of dollars to fortify their coastline. Some of the permafrost that keep the whale meat cold year round is starting to thaw. So it's getting harder to preserve food. It's also damaging some homes that are built on that permafrost.

0:22:21: But local officials that I spoke with and many native Alaskan groups, though not all native Alaskan groups, support the oil industry. They see it as a key economic engine for Barrow, for the North Slope and for Alaska as a whole. The ones that I spoke with, again, they wanna see more not less drilling in northern Alaska. At the same time, they are really worried about dealing with the impacts of climate change in their communities. And again going back to the research, in the short term, the shale revolution has been a positive in the fight against climate change. US greenhouse gas emissions are at their lowest levels since the early 1990s. And that's mostly due to shale gas. That's because cheap natural gas has displaced coal in the electric power sector which is more carbon intensive.

0:23:12: This is a complex issue. There are concerns about methane emissions and other topics but when you look across the breadth of the research, it's quite compelling to me, at least, that the shale revolution has been a clear benefit for climate change in the short run. But, if you look over the next few decades, if you look over the longer term, the climate benefits of shale become less clear. There are varieties of studies on this. One of them authored by Catherine Houseman, one of them authored by myself and a colleague. And what most of them find is that while low cost... While low cost gas does displace coal, it also competes with zero carbon sources like wind and solar as well as nuclear. It has other effects such as lower energy prices which encourage people to use more energy which in turn leads to higher omissions. And so the net result, most of these studies find, is that without climate policy, the shale revolution probably doesn't help that much, and doesn't hurt that much in the long term fight against climate change.

0:24:18: So this is a case where the shale revolution actually provides a major opportunity in the near term to implement climate policies at low cost. Cheap natural gas makes it easy to switch quickly away from coal fired power. The question is whether policy makers will take advantage of that low cost opportunity staring them in the face. And that's kind of how I think about a number of the important topics in the book. Is that the shale revolution presents opportunities. It doesn't necessarily define outcomes.

0:24:49: There are enormous economic opportunities for communities, for states, and for the nation as a whole. There are energy security opportunities for the United States and its allies. There's a climate change opportunity that can support international efforts to deal with this enormous challenge. But the shale revolution by itself will not fulfill those promises, at least not to their full extent. To fulfill those promises, we'll need smart policies, informed citizens, and strong efforts on behalf of the oil and gas companies that actually do this work. It'll also require, in my mind, partisans on both sides of the debate to step back from the extremes and understand that fracking's not all good, and it's not all bad. Coming up with good solutions is going to require wrestling with the complexities, and trying to come up with the right answer rather than simply thinking in black and white and partisan terms. I'll stop there. I look forward to your questions and the conversation with Katie. Thank you.


0:26:03: We're gonna have a quick scene shuffle I think.

[background conversation]

0:26:33: Fabulous. I wanna thank Daniel for an illuminating set of remarks. His book manages, I think, to be both in depth and comprehensive, but at the same time readable and accessible and actually kinda fun to read. And his remarks lived up to that as well. Before we move to Q&A from the community, there are a few areas I wanted to sort of try to get into a little bit more deeply, because I know there's a lot packed into the book that you didn't have time to cover today. So, first question. Something you talk about in the book is the word fracking. What do people mean by it?

0:27:13: So I spent just a couple of seconds talking about what fracking is at the beginning of my talk. The thing that I find really interesting and that I talk about in the book is that people use the word fracking to mean different things at different times depending on the objective of their argument. Generally speaking, those who are opposed to oil and gas development use fracking as broadly as possible, the term fracking as broadly as possible. And I think that's basically a messaging tactic based on the fact that fracking sounds like a really bad word. [chuckle] It doesn't sound like something you would want happening next door. And so you'll hear environmental advocates often referring to fracking wells, or the fracking industry, or fracking pipelines, or things like that. And that's not technically accurate, but I think in the public imagination they've done a good job of defining the word to mean a very broad set of activities when in reality, it's just hydraulic fracturing. It's a discrete activity.

0:28:14: When you go over to the pro-industry communications world, they kind of take two different approaches. They use the narrow definition of fracking or hydraulic fracturing when they're talking about the risks of the industry. So if there is pollution to a water source and it was caused by stray gas or something else that's not related directly to fracking, the industry will say, "Oh, that wasn't fracking that caused that pollution, it was poor cementing and well casing, or it was a spill at the surface it wasn't fracking." Which is technically accurate, but it gets problematic when the industry turns around and when it talks about the benefits of oil and gas development. Then the word fracking takes on this big expansive definition. So fracking has created this many jobs or fracking has reduced oil imports by this amount over time. And I think those different uses of the word creates confusion among people and probably distrust. And it makes it hard to know who to think... Sorry, who to listen to and who to believe when you don't even know what the word fracking means in the context of the argument.

0:29:29: Something that has happened in other policies spheres as well.

0:29:32: Indeed.

0:29:34: I have a lot of family that lives in Colorado. And they don't live in parts that have historically seen oil and gas development, but may well see a lot more in the future. What would you say to family members living in a place where they're not... They haven't historically been exposed to that and they don't have experience dealing with the industry, but they might in the future?

0:29:57: Yeah, it's a hard question because most of the opposition to shale development that you see comes in places where the industry is relatively new, or at least it hasn't occurred at large scale in recent years. And so some of the basic stuff is that you're gonna have a lot of trucks, and there's gonna be some Texans in the bars and there's gonna be noise, there's gonna be light and there's gonna be other disruptions in basic quality of life things. But this also gets to the question of concern over health impacts. There have been a number of studies looking at this risk, and I detail the research in the book, but essentially, the state of the research is still pretty immature. We don't have good answers on what the risks are, and what the likelihood of some negative health impact would be.

0:30:58: That said, there is a lot of uncertainty but some of the best studies show that there's reason to be concerned about health impacts if you live very close to an active hydraulic fracturing site, so within 1 kilometer. There's a recent study that shows fairly compelling evidence that there could be negative health impacts. Not huge negative health impacts, but statistically significant effects that I think are fairly compelling. And so If I was talking to my family, I would say that if they're living near an existing oil and gas well, there's probably not much to worry about. They should do some testing and make sure everything's safe. But living close to a new site, you would have to consider the risks and you would have to ask the question, "How much am I getting paid for this well that's going into my land," and then make the decision as to whether or not that trade off is worth it for you.

0:31:58: And that research that you're referring to is that able to distinguish these new shale revolution fracked sites from conventional oil and gas?

0:32:08: Generally not. The one study that I reference does focus exclusively on shale wells, but most studies lump all oil and gas together. And one of the problems with this literature, and one of the reasons I say that it's still pretty unsettled is that there are no studies that have really defined the pathway of health risk. While some studies find negative health impacts of living close to a well site, it's not clear if that risk comes from air emissions or water maybe, or maybe just stress of living close to an industrial activity. So I think this is an area where we need better information.

0:32:50: You referenced trucks, so that would be one source for air pollution, are there other sources for air pollution?

0:32:56: Yeah, trucks, and the other big... Well, there are two other big sources. One of them is very similar to trucks, it's a bunch of diesel engines that are running on a well site. You need diesel engines to operate a drilling rig, to operate hydraulic fracturing, basically pumps that pump the water down at high pressure and other equipment on the well site. So diesel emissions, we know those have negative health impacts if they are encountered at sufficient doses. And then the other risk at a well site would be, these things called volatile organic compounds, and a couple other pollutants that are emitted during what's called flow back of oil and gas wells. I showed that graphic of the water going down and then the cracks and then the water comes back out. When that water comes back out, so does other stuff, mostly gases. And if those gases are not captured at the site, then they could be a health risk for people living nearby.

0:33:53: Thinking about the, you mentioned, health impacts, noise and light impacts, and other sort of quality of life things, thinking about those but also just stepping back more broadly and thinking about those environmental regulations, economic regulations, what do you think state and local regulators have gotten right? What do they need to do a better job at?

0:34:16: Yeah. The one thing that a lot of people don't know is that the large majority of regulations on the oil and gas industry are developed and applied at the state level. So the EPA's not doing much, never has, with the oil and gas industry. So each state has it's own set of regulations and policies that it develops and then enforces on the ground. States are very diverse in what types of regulations they develop and how they enforce them. I think over time we've mostly seen improvement in state regulations. In Pennsylvania for example, I talked about the reduced rate of contamination from stray gas. That's partly 'cause the industry got better and it's partly 'cause new regulations were put in place that were stricter on some of the risks associated with stray gas.

0:35:14: There's other issues in Pennsylvania where they had trouble managing waste water early on. They were dumping improperly treated waste water into some rivers and streams in Pennsylvania. They fixed that. There are other cases where regulators have gotten better, but there's still a number of blind spots, and I think this health impacts issue we're gonna need to watch closely, because as the evidence develops, my hope is that regulators will respond quickly, but we've seen in some cases, such as earthquakes in Oklahoma, which maybe we'll talk about, state regulators actually don't respond quickly to problems in all cases. And that's unfortunate. So my hope is that regulations will continue to improve, and that regulators will pay attention to the research.

0:36:05: So on the health side, are these gaps in what regulators are able to do, or have done so far, coming from a lack of information? That's your hypothesis to date, but you're hoping that as better information comes out of the research, community regulators will be able to catch up.

0:36:21: Yeah, that's my hope. And I'm not naive, I understand that there are economic pressures and political pressures on elected officials, as well as appointed regulators, and they are... And that is going to shape their decision-making, as well. So my hope is that within those political constraints, they can do a good job and follow the best evidence. And that's really one of the goals of the book and other research that I do, and that you do, and that many of us do here at the Ford School, which is, we try to take complex difficult information and translate it in a way that maybe a state regulator can understand, and their [0:37:00] ____ can understand, and actually act on.

0:37:02: Earthquakes. What's up with earthquakes?

0:37:04: What's up with earthquakes? Earthquakes go by the name, in the oil and gas industry of, induced seismicity, also known as man-made earthquakes. And induced seismicity, again, is not entirely new. They've been having earthquakes in Norway for a long time related to oil and gas development. Parts of Long Beach California actually sunk by 20 feet in the 1940s because so much oil was extracted from underneath the city that there was enormous subsidence. So again, not entirely new, but what's happened is that, in some parts of the country, particularly Oklahoma, large volumes of oil and gas waste water have been produced. So this is not... Most earthquakes don't happen as a direct result of fracking, it's instead the waste water that comes up with all oil and gas. If you have enough wastewater and you pump into the wrong place, then some of that waste water might find its way into a fault, deep below the surface.

0:38:14: I should say that disposing oil and gas waste water deep underground is also a common practice and it generally hasn't caused a lot of problems over the years, but this earthquake problem was a new one and people did not anticipate it. So in Oklahoma, there's this rock formation deep below the Earth, called the Arbuckle formation. And they were injecting, basically, too much water into the Arbuckle. Some of the water started to flow out of the Arbuckle, down into what's called, the "basement rock," and it altered the pressures of existing faults down there, such that some of those faults started to slip. In 2014 or 2015, I don't remember which year, Oklahoma had more than 900 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater, and those were caused by this wastewater management problem. Oklahoma regulators, after about three years of not doing very much, started to really act in 2015, and earthquakes have gone down substantially. So that's what's up with earthquakes, or down maybe.


0:39:23: You've talked about the US, you took us on a tour of various regions in the US, is fracking going to go global? If it does, what benefits, what costs do you see for local communities in Argentina and China?

0:39:42: It's a great question. And the rocks where we get shale gas and tight oil from, those are globally distributed. The rocks are not unique to the United States. The thing that's unique to the United States is that we have this really entrepreneurial oil and gas industry. We have thousands of companies competing with each other to develop technologies and try to make money. In most other countries there isn't that same level of competition and level of innovation. Another important issue is that, in the United States, if you own land, chances are you own what's underneath your land. And so if drilling happens underneath your land, you are paid typically 12.5% or more of the value of that resource that's extracted.

0:40:31: In every other country in the world, the government owns the minerals that are underneath the land, so there's far less incentive for individuals to welcome an oil and gas rig into their backyard. So there are some structural reasons why shale is unlikely to spread really quickly, but governments in Argentina, in China, to a lesser extent in Great Britain and in some other countries, are really pursuing shale gas development for a variety of reasons, and my hope is that they are learning from the US experience and won't repeat some of our mistakes. I've actually participated in several State Department events in Argentina, Colombia and Brazil where regulators, and researchers like me, communicate with government officials in those countries, and try to convey some of these lessons learnt. So, it's something to watch. Right now there's no large scale shale production outside of the United States.

0:41:34: I think we can turn it over to community Q&A, if that's okay with you?

0:41:38: Sounds good.

0:41:40: So our Ford School staff will be circulating with microphones. You can tweet your questions as well. I'd like to remind everyone to keep their questions brief and pose them as questions rather than as statements.

[background conversation]

0:42:12: When you talk about methane migration in spare gas, are there ways of quantifying the total amount of methane that's being emitted to the atmosphere by shale gas production? And how certain are we about that?

0:42:28: It's a really good question. And let me clarify one thing; in my talk, I talked about stray gas, which is gas getting out of the well and into water. That's kind of the underground version of escaping of gas, getting where it shouldn't be. The above ground version is I think what you're referencing, where if methane escapes from a well or a pipeline, or any other facility it has a very... It has a green house gas effect that's substantially more powerful than carbon dioxide. So there's been a big question, and a lot of research on this topic over the last five years, about how much methane is being emitted to the atmosphere, and is there enough methane being emitted to the atmosphere that it negates the climate benefits of shale gas that I was talking about a few minutes ago? I survey that literate extensively in the book, and what you find is that there are a couple studies that find very high rates of methane emissions: One from Utah, one form Colorado and a couple others. But those are the exception, rather than the rule, when it comes to these studies. Most studies, including the ones that I think are the best, the most high quality studies, actually find much lower methane emissions rates on the order... If I had to pick a number, I would say that methane emissions are probably in the neighborhood of 1.5% or 2% of total natural gas production. There's a lot of uncertainty around that, it might be a little higher or lower.

0:44:00: Just to clarify that means 1.5% of methane in the well winds up [0:44:07] ____ in the atmosphere?

0:44:08: Sorry, I should clarify. So, 1.5% or 2% of all natural gas produced in the United States manages to make its way into the atmosphere, without being burned.

0:44:20: Yeah, by mass.

0:44:22: Excuse me?

0:44:22: By mass.

0:44:24: By mass, yes. Yes. I'm not an engineer, I'm not used to those terms. So, yes, it's an issue. And there is work that needs to be done to reduce methane emissions. And there are some regulations, in some states, that actually do this. The Obama administration proposed new methane emissions rules, but the Trump administration is looking to roll back. That would be a detriment to shale gas' climate impact.

[background conversation]

0:45:06: I was just wondering, how long do you think that the resources, unlocked by fracking, will last? I've heard that productivity of fractured wells is very high for the first year, and then drops off dramatically. What's the situation?

0:45:27: It's a great question. And you're correct that shale gas wells, and tight oils wells, more than most other oil and gas wells, they produce at a very high rate, initially, and then they drop off pretty quickly. And then they continue producing at a lower rate for 20, 30 years. The thing that people don't talk about is that, that initial rate of production from shale wells, compared to conventional wells, is much, much higher. And so even though there is a steep decline in production for each individual well, the sheer volume that's coming online, in the early months of production, is far greater than, so called conventional, oil and gas wells. I'm completely... I'm loathed to make any prediction about how long the resource will be viable. My sense is that it's going to viable for the the foreseeable future, that's certainly what the industry thinks and what most projections suggest. My concern over resource constraints is actually more of a carbon atmospheric resource constraint. We're gonna run out of space in the atmosphere to put all of our CO2, far before we run out of oil or gas underground.

[background conversation]

0:46:52: Great talk. Amongst the communities with vast shale oil and gas development, is there a common sentiment that this is an economic Godsend, and if that's true, is this because they like the extra income, or are these areas marked by a lack of other economic opportunities?

0:47:11: It's a really good question. I'm reluctant to speak for the people who live in these communities. I wouldn't... I'm not going to make a generalization about how entire cities feel or whatever, but I can tell you my sense, from what I've learned, from talking to a relatively small number of people in these places. For many individuals, it is a major benefit. I don't know if I would call it a Godsend, but I have talked to many people in, particularly, rural regions, like in the Bakken Shale in North Dakota or in South Texas, who have told me, "My son or daughter moved back into the community, because they now had economic opportunities, and so now I get to hang out with my grandkids." And that, more than the economic benefit, direct economic benefit, is what stands out to me.

0:48:09: And I heard a lot of those stories. Many individuals have also become what some people call "shaleionaires," which is they've leased out their land for oil or gas production, they get paid large bonuses and royalties, and they become millionaires in really short periods of time, often in economically depressed communities. So it's been a real injection of wealth into many places. That said, the oil and gas industry is volatile because it's dependent on volatile oil and gas prices. And for communities that rely primarily on the oil and gas industry, as their economic foundation, they are inherently prone to volatility, and that volatility creates its own economic, negative economic incentives for investment in other sectors. So, I think it's been a benefit, but I think it's been a complicated economic benefit.

0:49:10: Follow up question on that, from me. Can you say something about what local governments or state governments can, or should do to smooth that volatility or to prepare for it?

0:49:21: It's really difficult to do that. There are... It's really difficult, politically, to do that. There are fairly good lessons from oil and gas dependent countries around the world about how you can can use your resource revenue to smooth out the booms and busts of the industry. And the general lessons are: Save as much as you can, invest it into some permanent fund that accrues interest, and then use that interest to try to diversify the economy, and develop other economic sectors. Leave the principle untouched, and allow it to benefit the community or the country for generations to come. That's the best practices idea. Realistically, most states, they have pressing needs, they need to build a new road right now, or they need to fund schools more, and so, that usually doesn't get implemented the way that a theoretician might want it to.

0:50:24: North Dakota is doing a pretty good job in this respect, it's [0:50:27] ____ away a lot of money. Texas is [0:50:29] ____ away some money. Wyoming is actually [0:50:34] ____ away a pretty good amount of money. Pennsylvania is [0:50:38] ____ away zero, which might actually... Might not be the... It might... It's understandable in a sense, because Pennsylvania's economy is really big and diverse, unlike North Dakota where oil has taken over. You've got Pittsburgh, you've got Philadelphia, and so each different state and region has its own needs, but those are some of the best practices.

0:51:03: We have a question coming to us from somebody watching on the livestream. The industry says, "They have been fracking for 60 years." Explain, how today's fracking is different?

0:51:15: I'll answer that, but first my... One of my favorite anecdotes in the book is, I talk about a place called Rulison, Colorado, and an experiment called "Project Rulison." There were three of these experiments in the 1960s and 70s where the US Department of Energy partnered with private companies to detonate nuclear explosives in tight gas reservoirs, to try to increase natural gas production. So, nuclear fracking.


0:51:47: Yes, the industry has been blowing stuff up for a long time. The thing that's really new about today's technologies is that they're being applied at larger scale than they ever have before. Some wells see 10 million gallons of water, tons and tons and tons of sand, large volumes of chemicals, as well. The chemicals are typically a small percentage of the mixture, but because the volume of the mixture is large, the quantity of the chemical is also relatively large. And so this large volume, or high volume hydraulic fracturing is being applied to shale, and other tight rock sources, and it's making the shale and the tight rock economical, when it never was before. And that's really what's new about today's fracking.

[background conversation]

0:52:55: Yeah, my name's Tom Robbins, I'm an interloper. I came over here from the school of public health, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, I'm a physician and an epidemiologist. So of course, I wanna talk about health related issues for a few minutes. First of all, I appreciate the balance in your presentation, I appreciate your talking quite a bit about issues around climate change and the relationship with using fossil fuels whether they be natural gas or coal or other things. And I guess I would maybe not telling anyone anything we don't know but if you want the 900 pound gorilla on all discussions about what energy policy should look like and what it's gonna mean for the next few thousand years about what's gonna happen to humans in the entire world, climate change is where the action is because if you start having sea levels go up, you could be displacing hundreds of millions of people and this is something that could be happening well within a century but I'm not gonna belabor that. I wanted to talk about something much more specific about fracking proper. And I assume you must be aware of this study that was done in the state of Pennsylvania by a group from Hopkins. Rasmussen was the first author, Sarah Rasmussen. What it was...

0:54:16: I have a binder with notes for questions like this.

0:54:17: Yeah. Okay.


0:54:20: Go ahead.

0:54:21: So I looked at a lot of studies that have looked at fracking. This one is by far the most carefully done one and the best one. It has estimations, it's sort of all four stages, what exposures are. It takes account of how close people are living to various sources. And it has a gigantic data pool because it was data from Geisinger Clinic, which has tens of thousands of individuals.

0:54:44: Oh, right. Yeah, asthma.

0:54:47: And as people are aware, asthma's a frequent problem in the general population. At least 5% of people have it, some estimates are closer to 10%. And what they focused on, exacerbation of asthma, asthma attacks. And what they found was for severe asthma attacks with their measures of exposure due to fracking... I think I'm using it in the more narrow sense. I mean, you know, they're talking about...

0:55:16: Proximity to oil and gas wells, probably, but...

0:55:19: Nah. No, it was only oils and gas wells that were using injection of fluids and so on. Nothing else. And they had data from like 2005 to 2016, which also meant that it went from before there was hardly any fracking in Pennsylvania to when it's very intensive, as you know. So they had a lot of good data to work with, I think they were very careful about how they did their study. And what they found was that for severe asthma you were about... If you had a higher exposure the day before due to that industry, the fracking industry, nothing else, that you were about 50% more likely to have a severe asthma attack. For mild asthma, you were over 400% more likely to have an asthma attack.

0:56:07: So you know, this is the kind of thing where people might not realize. Lots of people have asthma, and they had asthma before any of this showed up. It gets exacerbated, people might not be able to make the connection. So I always take our individuals who've lived there happily with what's going on with a little bit of a grain of salt, besides the important economic issues, because it's sometimes hard to figure out what the related health outcomes are. So I'm just wondering whether you've looked at that study, and whether... It's a study that's hard to refute. It's very well done, unusually well done actually, and so to me it said, "Oh, well, there seems to be typical kinds of problems that we see with ambient outdoor air pollution, like exacerbation of asthma." But here someone's pinpointing, how close are you living to sites, and what was actually the activity on the site the day before? You know, usually it takes about 24 hours.

0:57:04: Right. I think I understand your question. So I think... I do talk about that study in the book, and there... I don't remember all the details of it right now, so I'm not gonna talk about details of that particular study. There have been probably over a dozen studies on this topic, and some of them have been done quite well and some of them have been done pretty poorly. So I'll look forward to going back and looking at that one again. I guess my reaction is that, you know, there are real health risks of living near oil and gas production, and during hydraulic fracturing and flow-back, as we've discussed, the diesel emissions, the flow-back emissions. It wouldn't be surprising if there were negative health impacts of being very close to that type of activity. And so thank you for your comment.

0:58:10: [0:58:10] ____.

0:58:13: Thank you. I'm a geologist from Hawaii, and I don't think Hawaii is gonna be fracked for anything. But I'm concerned about several aspects of this, and I'll just concentrate my remarks on a couple of things. First of all the methane releases that go to the atmosphere are going to be part of a positive feedback that's thawing methane out of the cold regions of the northern latitudes, and this of course is gonna contribute to the whole global warming picture. So that certainly is a negative. There were some children playing in the northern peninsula of Michigan... Were playing hide and seek, and a little girl fell into a copper mine and her body was never recovered. And I'm thinking not only about right now, because I've worked in the oil industry in California and I know how wells are sealed. But you said tens of thousands of wells throughout the United States, and that is a hard number to assimilate.

0:59:30: But when you think of that many holes being punctured in the earth's crust and then being sealed with cement. I think there'll probably be people living around here a century or so from now, and they'll be wondering about how secure that seal-age is. But even more than that, the casing that goes down from those wells is going to be in an acid environment, and those casings pass through layer after layer of the earth and there are various... There are layers of saline waters down there and fresh waters and all kinds of waters but they're gonna get mixed up as a result of these pipelines being corroded and this is gonna be leakage through the whole column all the way down. So we got the problem of sealing up the surface and the fact that parts of the earth that were never in communication before are having all these holes punctured in them that are going to provide avenues for these fluids to move between the layers. So not only are the waste waters being pumped down there, the ones that cause the earthquakes, those waste waters are also going to migrate up through those layers from the layers in which they were deposited.

1:00:52: If I remember correctly, you reviewed both casing activity as well closure... Well sealing activity in the book.

1:01:03: Yeah.

1:01:04: How far forward is the industry looking.

1:01:08: Yeah. I think... I understand your question. Well there are several parts and I'm only gonna answer one part. The issue of long term risk and long term environmental degradation associated with the oil and gas industry, I think it's a good question to ask and state regulators have regulations to require oil and gas companies to seal wells when they're abandoned and to take other steps that you've described to prevent the type of connections that would create environmental damage.

1:01:45: But stepping back for a second, when I think about the long term environmental risks of the industry, I think about Titusville, Pennsylvania where the first oil wells were drilled in the 1850s. I think about Beaumont, Texas where the first giant oil wells came into play in around 1900. I think about parts of California where oil and gas production has been happening for over a hundred years and there are thriving cities in those places. People are pulling water from the aquifers overlying those locations and... So I'm not a geologist, I don't have the expertise that you do about corrosion and other issues but just looking simply at the historical record, there are cases of pollution, but they're relatively isolated in these regions and there are cities that are thriving on top of them, so that gives me some reason to think that shale development won't be so different.

1:02:45: Something I think I've read about shale development specifically is that you might have a handful of bad actors, so casing is done properly at many sites and very poorly at a handful of sites and the same with well sealing, but that it can be really hard to know who those bad actors were and to figure out which are the handful of wells that were done really poorly. Is that true and do you have any ideas on how that can be tackled?

1:03:11: It's a great question. I actually have a data set that's been sitting on my computer for about three years of violations in Pennsylvania and I haven't had time to crunch the numbers and figure out are larger companies more likely to pollute or are smaller companies more likely to pollute on a well-by-well basis. I think there's an assumption within the regulatory community that the smaller actors, the smaller operators are more likely to have bad environmental outcomes because they might be not as well capitalized, they cut corners etcetera. But I haven't seen any data that's actually born that out and I think without that data, it's reasonable for regulators to try to apply regulation and enforcement evenly across the spectrum of operators until we have some information about who might be most likely to cause problems.

1:04:09: We have a question come in from Facebook, "Does any state apply the precautionary principle to regulating fracking?"

1:04:19: There are two states. Does anyone know which states they are? New York and...

1:04:25: Michigan.

1:04:26: Nope.

1:04:26: Vermont.

1:04:27: Nope. Oh, maybe Vermont, but Vermont sort of doesn't count because there's no shale in Vermont. [laughter] So New York and Maryland actually, recently.

1:04:36: Can you tell us precautionary principle for people who haven't taken your class which I assume teaches precautionary? I don't know, maybe it doesn't?

1:04:44: Well, do you wanna do it? I'm tired of listening to myself talk.

1:04:47: No, tell us. [chuckle]

1:04:47: Okay. So the precautionary principle is the idea that until all of the risks of a certain activity are understood, it's best to not undertake that activity. So in the case of shale, what New York State did is it reviewed a variety of health studies and it reviewed its particular environmental context and it decided that we don't have enough information to know with certainty that this activity is going to be safe. And so they said, "Until we have that certainty, we're not going to allow hydraulic fracturing." So that's essentially the precautionary principle. And New York and Maryland have applied it, a number of European countries have applied it in the context of shale development. And it's a internally valid approach, it's an understandable approach. Where I think it gets tricky is that there are all kinds of technologies in our world that we use without full understanding of their long term risks. Cellular phones are one.

1:05:58: We know there are short term risks of phones such as people bumping into you on the sidewalk, people having traffic accidents, people just being annoying in a coffee shop. And there are long term risks that are... The research shows that there are low risks related to certain types of cancer but they're not eliminated, we haven't totally ruled them out. And so I think applying the precautionary principle is challenging to be... It's challenging to be consistent with your application of the precautionary principle, and I think from my perspective, the approach of weighing benefits and costs, even with some uncertainty is something that we do all the time and that we probably have to keep doing.

1:06:49: Another tricky thing with the precautionary principle in this context is that energy is being... Other forms of energy are being used, right? So fracking displaces coal for instance. How do you think about precautionary principle in that context, I guess?

1:07:05: Yeah. There are certainly things we don't know about the long-term impacts of shale development. There are probably things we don't know about the long term impacts of coal development and the fact that those two sources are competing directly is meaningful. One other point... This is a little tangential, but one other point on health impacts that relates to this and gas versus coal. So coal fired powered plants emit not just high levels of carbon dioxide but also a variety of what are called criteria pollutants that contribute to tens of thousands of premature deaths in the United States each year and so when natural gas displaces coal, it's not just a climate win, it's actually a big public health win. So even though you have health risks, near oil and gas production sites, you actually have widespread, widely dispersed health benefits from this activity. And I would love for someone to do a really big study and try to quantify what we know about the health risks and what we know about the health benefits and try to lay it all out there. I haven't seen any research that does that yet.

1:08:21: Sarah. At the back.

1:08:25: Getting back to policy or continuing on the policy idea as well, there's been some research done looking at the battle that has ensued between local government and state government as a result of fracking, right? But in most states, local governments generally get to decide how land is used in their communities but in many cases they don't get that choice on oil and gas. I'm curious how from your travels if there was any interesting perspectives that came out of that, where local governments in fact didn't want to have a say or just if you came up with anything interesting on the federalism issue.

1:09:11: Yeah, it's such a good question and there's a lot of again diversity around the country. Different communities have different experiences, different levels of authority with regard to regulating the industry. One thing that I noticed is that in places where there's a lot of oil and gas development happening, the large, large majority of those communities support the industry. The places where you see fracking bans are places where there is no fracking. So, New York State, right? There was essentially no fracking before they put the ban in place. Maryland, no fracking before. Vermont, definitely no fracking.


1:09:57: I used to live in Durham, North Carolina I live now in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and I love Ann Arbor, and I loved living in Durham. But I got asked to sign ban fracking petitions all the time, in Ann Arbor, like outside the Michigan theatre, I get asked to sign a petition. In Durham, I was asked to sign those petitions a lot. I've never seen anyone holding a ban fracking petition in Midland Texas or Williston North Dakota or any of these other communities and so that tells me something about community perspectives on the industry. I'm not really answering your federalism question but I think that underlying political motivation to ban shale development or tightly restrict it. There's not a lot of appetite for that in most, not all, but in most oil and gas producing regions. Wait for the microphone so our online viewers can enjoy your question.

1:11:07: So, I understand that as natural gas is removed from a well overtime, it becomes increasingly difficult and expensive to remove further gas from that well. And given that the yield from many of these deposits is only a fraction of the total volume of the deposit, I'm wondering how we can ensure that the oil and gas industry is not taking an unnecessary number of wells and that they're also not abandoning wells prematurely and that they're actually being held responsible for extracting a reasonable amount from existing infrastructure.

1:11:46: It's a good question, there is some activity going on with re-fracturing wells. So wells that have been producing for five or 10 years, some companies are going in and re-fracturing them to stimulate additional production. So that's happening in some places. I think the oil and gas industry is gonna take care of this on itself... By itself. It has a lot of incentive to continue innovating and it is continuing to innovate to become more efficient extracting these resources. Just over the last five years there have been amazing technological improvements, more incremental improvements in technology such that every new well used to... I'm gonna get these numbers wrong. But many of the new wells that are drilled are ten times, sometimes a hundred times more productive than they were even five or six years ago. And so the industry they've got a lot of R&D going on and they're gonna get as much as they can. So, I'm not particularly worried about that issue.

1:13:00: You've been stating that there is a lot of local community support where the oil drilling is taking place. Did you actually run surveys or is this primarily anecdotal?

1:13:13: So, I've been talking about anecdotes. I talk in the book about about research that exists on this topic and Sarah Mills has actually participated in some of this research. Generally, the research backs up my anecdotes. Yeah.

1:13:29: Are those cited in the book or...

1:13:31: Yeah.

1:13:32: Okay.

1:13:33: Lots of citations in the book. There's like 50 pages of citations in the back.


1:13:44: Before we come to you, I have one question from Facebook and then and you'll be next. Ohio legislation has proposed to consider fracking waste to be a commodity and allowed to be a roadway deicer. What do you know about that?

1:14:01: I don't know a lot about this, but I know that I'm not sure about the proposal in Ohio. I haven't heard of that. But in many parts of the country the salty water, the waste water that's produced from oil and gas wells is actually used as a deicer on roads. And at first glance that seems pretty weird. Seems a little concerning because there are very high levels of salts in those waters. In some cases there are actually radioactive elements in those waters as well as other contaminants. And so I know that some states do this and it gives me pause, but I've never... I don't know of any research on it actually. So, I'd love for maybe the questioner to send me a tweet and let me know if they know of any research because I'd love to see it. I haven't seen any.

1:15:00: Great. I think we have time for one last question. So, down here in front.

1:15:07: So, I have a minor question and a major one on your opinion about something. The minor one is, correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that companies are generally in most situations not required to fully report the contents of the liquid they're using for the fracking. That it's treated as a trade secret and there's not actually complete information which makes using it as a deicer that much more exciting. You can comment on that.

1:15:35: Yeah. So, quickly on that, I'd be very surprised if the flow-back fluid, the flow-back of the fracturing fluid were used as a deicer. So, we're talking about produced water, the stuff that's commingled with oil and gas naturally deep underground. And I think that would be the fluid that was used. But anyway, but on your trade secret question, I actually printed out a list of chemicals used in a hydraulic fracturing treatment in 2016 in Michigan. There were only six wells that were fractured in Michigan in 2016, but this is one of them. And there's a website called Frac Focus, F-R-A-C Focus. The industry doesn't like the K on fracking. But...

1:16:21: Phrasing. They're doing phrasing.

1:16:23: Phrasing yeah. And so what Frac Focus does is it actually provides lists of all of the chemicals used in a hydraulic fracturing treatment along with their quantities. So, most of them are explicitly named but there are a couple in there that are confidential. So, they tell you the basic purpose of the chemical that's used, but they don't tell you the actual chemical itself. And so, yeah, trade secret protection is going on there.

1:16:52: So, my bigger question is, you already commented on it a bit, but taking a step back and talking about is it a net benefit in terms of health to be using all this natural gas that's maybe replacing coal? I mean I appreciate the comment you were making about there's issues to be thinking carefully about with respect to climate change and the use of these types of fuels. So, I guess what I'm wondering is that may be true, but as you mentioned if we, a civilization extract all of the oils and gases and coal that we can and burn this we're gonna create something halfway between the current environment on Earth and the current environment on Venus which runs about 800 degrees Celsius on the on the surface.

1:17:52: Can we turn it over to Daniel so he has time to answer 'cause we're about to go to the reception?

1:17:56: Yeah. I'm just wondering about where do you... With the climate change issue, looming so large. It's only half as much carbon dioxide per dose of energy from gas as coal but it's still carbon dioxide you're producing.

1:18:10: You're correct. And in my talk and in the book I try to distinguish between near term and longer term implications. Near term, shale development has been a win for the climate. Long term, you need policy, to get you where you want to go. Shale gas will not get you to the climate goals that most countries have agreed to pursue. And that was true before the shale revolution, and it's true now. The shale revolution, I think, lowers the cost of implementing that longer term policy, at least in the next 10-20 years, because of the low cost of natural gas. So I think that's a real opportunity. Looking further down the road, you need much more substantial reductions, that includes natural gas, as well as coal and oil.

1:19:00: On that nuance to note, so reflective of the books tone in general. I'd like to thank Daniel, to invite everyone out to the great hall for a reception. There are books there and Daniel will be available for signing them as well. Thank you.

1:19:14: Thanks everyone.