Industry Expert Says New Natural Gas Regulations Off Base

Dec 09, 2010, 12:47 ET from Michael J. Economides

New Delaware River Basin Commission regulations go against safety evidence supporting natural gas exploration

HOUSTON, Dec. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Engineering professor and oil and gas industry veteran Michael J. Economides spoke out today against new natural gas regulations announced by the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC). The hydraulic fracturing rules come despite recent reports and evidence demonstrating the safety of natural gas drilling.

"Hydraulic fracturing is an absolutely necessary process for removing natural gas from the ground and cultivating this very attractive and environmentally friendly form of energy," said Dr. Economides. "Natural gas exploration must be guided by best practices set forth by engineers, not a one-size-fits-all approach to regulation. These rules usurp local control, and that is in no one's best interest.

"About 100,000 wells utilize the hydraulic fracturing process worldwide each year. Fracking is a well-established natural gas well completion process, and the best practices used by the industry have been validated time and time again for six decades. The industry has an impeccable safety record in this field."

As recently as November 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection released a report showing that there have been no documented incidents of groundwater contamination as a result of hydraulic fracturing.

Hydraulic fracturing is an essential process for tapping into natural gas resources. Regulatory overreach will inhibit hydraulic fracturing in states where natural gas holds great economic potential. Handicapping natural gas exploration will not only hurt local economies that support this business, but will further hinder American energy security. The country cannot do without natural gas and natural gas cannot be produced without hydraulic fracturing.

Michael J. Economides, Energy Tribune Editor-in-Chief, counts among America's leading energy analysts. Back in 1999, Economides warned that oil prices, then at $11 a barrel, were about to surge. Within a year or so, the price reached over $30.

A consultant, educator, and PhD petroleum engineer, Economides has done technical and managerial work in more than 70 countries. A professor at University of Houston's Cullen College of Engineering, Economides has written and co-written about 200 articles and peer-reviewed papers and 11 textbooks. He is also the co-author, with Ron Oligney, of the 2000 industry primer, The Color of Oil: The History, the Money and the Politics of the World's Biggest Business that has since been translated into five languages. He appears regularly on national TV and radio programs.

SOURCE Michael J. Economides