No rush for fracking in southern Illinois

Staff Report

Two months since Illinois enacted rules for hydraulic fracturing, or high-volume oil and gas drilling, no company has applied for a state permit to put hydraulic fracturing to use.

The Springfield State Journal-Register reported that Denver-based Strata-X Energy registered Nov. 14 with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, but the company hasn’t formally applied to begin any fracking in southern Illinois.
The Illinois Oil and Gas Association’s Brad Richards said he believes the slow response may be because of the state’s delay in adopting regulatory rules, as well as low oil prices that may have discouraged energy companies. As oil prices fall, fracking becomes less attractive as a profit-making venture.

Strata-X Chief Financial Officer David Hettich says the company holds oil and gas exploration rights to 67,000 southern Illinois acres. He says the company still is working through how to best manage the complicated fracking rules.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the process of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers deep within the earth. Fracking generates vast amounts of wastewater, far more than traditional drilling methods. The water is pumped into injection wells, which send the waste thousands of feet underground. No one knows for certain exactly what happens to the liquids after that. Scientists now are convinced that fracking causes small earthquakes by increasing underground pressures and lubricating faults. Fears now exist that these small quakes may lead to bigger quakes and fault line shifts.

From the Jan. 21-27, 2015, issue

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