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Report: Shale Gas Represents 'Low Risk' to Public Health

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Report: Shale Gas Represents 'Low Risk' to Public Health

The UK Onshore Operators Group (UKOOG) announced Thursday that it welcomes a report by Public Health England that has concluded that shale gas extraction emissions represent a "low" risk to public health.

The report, published Thursday, focuses on the potential impact of chemicals and radioactive material from all stages of shale gas extraction, including hydraulic fracturing. It is based on information from countries where shale gas extraction is already taking place.

The report states that the risks to public health from exposure to emissions from shale gas extraction are low if operations are properly run and regulated.

"Where potential risks have been identified in other countries, the reported problems are typically due to operational failure," Dr. John Harrison, the director of Public Health England's Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, said in a statement.

"Good on-site management and appropriate regulation of all aspects of exploratory drilling, gas capture as well as the use and storage of fracking fluid is essential to minimize the risks to the environment and health."

Meanwhile, the report finds that most evidence from other countries suggests that any contamination of groundwater, if it occurs, is likely to be caused by leakage through the vertical borehole. So, good well construction and maintenance is essential to reduce the risks of groundwater contamination. It adds that contamination of groundwater from the underground fracking process itself is unlikely because of the depth at which it occurs.

Commenting on Public Health England's report, UKOOG Chief Executive Ken Cronin said:

"We welcome the report from Public Health England that shows that there is a low risk to public health of properly run and regulated shale gas extraction. As the UK has among the highest standards for onshore oil and gas extraction in the world, backed up by the industry's own stringent shale gas well guidelines, we hope that the Public Health England findings will reassure communities up and down the country that shale gas can be extracted with minimal risk to their well-being."



A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at jmainwaring@rigzone.com

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Post a Comment Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.
John Tilley | Jan. 11, 2014
This Public Health report on the essential requirements for safe fracking should be given much wider publicity in the UK to overcome the deep seated and widespread antipathy to carrying out this much needed drilling exercise here in the UK. A report on the geological existence of shale gas strata in the UK confirms that we have sufficient deposits to satisfy our energy needs being met for many years. So why do our Politicians not free us from the future exploitations of Putins Russian Gas supplies. They fear for their future constituents votes,so let the truth on risks needs be told! USA has many more drilling Rigs plus the environmental expertise of many Oil Companies, send some of them over here.

saxa | Nov. 4, 2013
sorry john you are full of it, and so is this report. watch "gasland" and gasland 2.

John Morris | Nov. 1, 2013
Em, they got it right but a study about nothing that any rig hand could have told them. The idea that the vertical hole has the slightest risk of a leak into the water course from a completed well is completely far fetched given its comprised of multiple layers of heavy steel casing each independently cemented from each other. We live in a world of ignorance and bullshit. Why give any credence whatsoever to the anti-fracing community? Lets just get on with it. Start buy connecting rural Britain to the gas grid as if we dont local people have no benefit from the production of gas so why would they otherwise be interested in supporting the process?



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