Louisiana and fracking
|This article is part of the FrackSwarm coverage of fracking.|
In Louisiana, fracking is being used to access natural gas in the Haynesville Shale area in northwestern Louisiana, and to a lesser extent for oil in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale that stretches across the middle part of the state.
- 1 Background
- 2 History
- 3 LNG terminals
- 4 Environmental and health effects
- 5 Pipelines
- 6 Water Issues
- 7 Brine
- 8 Citizen activism
- 9 Legislative issues and regulations
- 10 Citizen groups
- 11 Industry groups
- 12 Reports
- 13 Resources
In Louisiana, fracking is being used for the natural gas producing Haynesville Shale area in northwestern Louisiana and the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale that stretches across the middle part of the state and contains what is called Louisiana Light Sweet crude oil. The Brown Dense shale area underlying Arkansas and northern Louisiana (ranging in vertical depths from 8,000 to 11,000 feet) is projected to be able to produce both oil and gas, the industry say it is too early to tell how much of the hard-to-reach oil is recoverable.
Fracking in the 11,000-feet-deep Haynesville Shale in Louisiana started in northwest Louisiana in 2008. Since then over 2,200 wells have been drilled and are producing natural gas in the Haynesville Shale formation, with another 232 wells there awaiting completion, in the process of being drilled, or permitted (as of May 2013).
Another 16 producing wells have been drilled in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale formation, which cuts across the center of the state. The formation underlies St. Tammany, Washington, and Tangipahoa parishes, as well as the parishes surrounding Baton Rouge.
By the late 1980s, major oil firms had largely sold their onshore assets to small independents, and moved their non-refinery operations offshore.
The Jurassic Haynesville Shale of northwest Louisiana has been a site for gas production since 1905, but has become a site for fracking since Cubic Energy drilled a well there in November 2007, followed by a March 2008 announcement by Chesapeake Energy that it had "completed" a Haynesville Shale gas well.
- Geology.Com: Haynesville Shale: news, map, videos, lease and royalty information
- OilShaleGas.com - Latest News and Drilling Updates on the Haynesville Shale
- Go Haynesville Shale, a forum for petroleum professionals and landowners to discuss the Haynesville shale.
Cameron LNG is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sempra Energy (SRE), a California-based natural gas distribution and marketing company. It is a liquefied natural gas (LNG) receipt terminal situated on a 260-acre industrial-zoned site along the Calcasieu Channel in Hackberry, Louisiana. It is located 18 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and within 35 miles of five major interstate pipelines that serve nearly two-thirds of all U.S. natural gas markets. Construction at Cameron LNG started in August 2005 and commercial operations began in July 2008.
On January 17, 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy authorized Cameron LNG to export liquefied natural gas. The permit allows Cameron to ship up to 1.7 billion cubic feet a day of LNG to countries possessing free-trade agreements with the U.S. The permit is valid for 20 years after the first export shipment.
In February 2014 the DOE allowed Cameron LNG to export gas to countries that do not have a free-trade agreement with the United States.
In June 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill 266 to 150 that will speed up the process of liquefied natural gas exports. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), allows the Department of Energy a mere "30 days to approve LNG exports to non-Free Trade Agreement countries after an environmental review of the LNG facilities.
On April 16, 2012, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted approval for Houston-based Cheniere Energy Partners to build the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in the lower 48 United States. The $5 billion Sabine Pass LNG project to be located at an existing import terminal in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, along the Gulf Coast.
Construction is expected to begin in 2012, with LNG exports to begin in 2015. Cheniere has signed a contract with Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals Inc. to build the facilities. Cheniere said it has signed LNG supply contracts with utilities in the United Kingdom, Spain, South Korea, and India -- Cheniere has Energy Department license to ship domestic gas to nations that are not U.S. free-trade partners. U.S. gas producers will have the capacity to export up to 18 million tons of LNG annually, worth about $1.7 billion at current prices.
It was FERC’s first authorization of a project of this kind, FERC said in an accompanying statement: “Today’s order finds that the project can be constructed and operated safely and with minimal environmental impacts."
In its Sabine Pass order, FERC settled on the DOE's earlier findings that increased LNG exports "will result in increased production that could be used for domestic requirements if market conditions warrant such use, and this will tend to enhance U.S. domestic energy security." FERC also dismissed charges by the Sierra Club and the Gulf Coast Environmental Labor Coalition that the commission shortchanged its environmental and safety reviews, citing conditions that Cheniere comply with the federal Clean Air Act, including rules governing greenhouse gas emissions and the use of "best available" pollution control technology.
After securing a $2 billion investment in a February 2012 deal with private equity firm Blackstone Group, Cheniere is searching for an additional $3 billion to $4 billion to start construction. Cheniere is working with eight financial institutions to secure the additional financing: Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Credit Suisse Securities LLC, HSBC, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Morgan Stanley, RBC Capital Markets and SG Americas Securities LLC.
Trunkline LNG is a liquefied natural gas plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Trunkline LNG provides terminal service for shippers by receiving LNG at the facility for storage and delivering such LNG to shippers, either in liquid state or gaseous state after regasification.
The Phase I expansion, which included a second ship berth and a new LNG storage tank that increased terminal storage capacity to 9 billion cubic feet (250,000,000 m3), was placed in service on April 5, 2006. Trunkline LNG completed the Phase II terminal expansion in early July 2006, increasing sustained sendout capacity to 1.8 billion cubic feet per day (51,000,000 m3/d) and peak sendout capacity to 2.1 Bcf/d. The Phase II expansion also included the construction of unloading capabilities at the terminal’s second dock.
Environmental and health effects
A confidential industry study from 1990, conducted for the American Petroleum Institute, concluded that “using conservative assumptions,” radium in drilling wastewater dumped off the Louisiana coast posed “potentially significant risks” of cancer for people who eat fish from those waters regularly.
Spills and accidents
Map of high-profile fracking incidents in Louisiana, Earthjustice.
The Bluegrass Pipeline—put forward as a joint venture by Williams Companies Inc. and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP—would carry an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 barrels a day of natural gas liquids (NGL) from western Pennsylvania to Texas, and would convert a portion of Texas Gas in Eunice, LA (the TGT Loop Line) to NGL service. NGLSs ("wet" natural gas) include ethane, butane, propane, methane, and various solid chemicals, which would likely be shipped to overseas markets. Unless maintained under high pressure, the substances are highly flammable and explosive, necessitating construction of additional facilities throughout the South—including a facility in Louisiana. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2015.
Drilling and brine mining is often considered the cause of the salt dome collapse that caused the Bayou Corne sinkhole 40 miles south of Baton Rouge. The sink hole swallowed 15 acres. By 2014 it grew to 32 acres. Most of the residents living in the area have relocated.
Legislative issues and regulations
On October 20, 2011, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources adopted new rules for the oil and gas industry (fracking regulation are on page 3064). The new rules require an operator to obtain a work permit before engaging in hydraulic fracturing, and to publicly disclose the content of the fluids they use in the fracking process, although it allows exemptions for chemicals deemed "trade secrets."
- Joel Kirkland, "NATURAL GAS: U.S. throws open doors to LNG exports with Cheniere approval," E&E, April 17, 2012.
- Jordan Blum, "Congressional hearings look at fracking," The Advocate, May 24, 2013.
- Richard Thompson, "New shale play in north Louisiana may hold oil, gas," The Times-Picayune, September 11, 2011.
- Map of high-profile fracking incidents in Louisiana, Earthjustice, accessed July 2013.
- Mark Schleifstein, "Shale fracking proves $30 billion-a-year boon to waste disposal industry," The Times-Picayune, May 20, 2013.
- Ken Silverstein, "Dirty South The foul legacy of Louisiana oil," Harper's, November 2013.
- Ken Silverstein, [http://harpers.org/archive/2013/11/dirty-south/ "Dirty South The foul legacy of Louisiana oil ,"] Harper's, November 2013.
- Louise S. Durham, "Louisiana play a 'company maker'," AAPG Explorer, July 2008, p.18-36.
- "One of the First New Liquefied Natural Gas Receipt Terminals in North America," Cameron LNG: About Us, accessed April 2012.
- Ben Lefebvre, "Cameron LNG Receives Liquefied-Natural-Gas Export Permit," Dow Jones Newswires, January 20, 2012.
- Hannah Northey, "DOE approves 6th export application," E&E, February 11, 2014.
- "U.S. House Approves Faster LNG Exports" Brandon Baker, EcoWatch, June 26, 2014.
- Luke Johnson, "The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved on Monday Cheniere Energy’s plans to liquefy and export natural gas, clearing the way for the Houston-based company to be first US LNG exporter in decades," Upstream, April 16, 2012.
- Ian Urbina, "Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers," NY Times, February 26, 2011.
- Andrew Morris, "Fracked Gas Pipelines Planned for Ohio and Kentucky," EcoWatch, June 3, 2013.
- Evan Hansen, Dustin Mulvaney, and Meghan Betcher, "The Depths of Hydraulic Fracturing and Accompanying Water Use Across the United States," Environmental Science & Technology, July 2015.
- Emily Lane, "Bayou Corne sinkhole: Texas Brine seeks permit to discharge wastewater at site, residents speak out," NOLA.COM, September 12, 2014.
- "Department of Natural Resources adopts new rules requiring companies that engage in fracking to disclose the chemicals used, and to obtain a work permit," jonesswanson.com, December 2, 2011.
Related SourceWatch articles
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