What has New York State done to advance fracking technology?
In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for a renewed role for government in advancing economic growth and new technologies. His example of a success story? Hydraulic fracturing – the process of extracting natural gas from rock formations through the injection of high-pressure liquid, which has been widely used in upstate New York. The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation is currently considering rules to regulate the industry.
Today on the Daily Q we ask: What has New York State’s government done to advance hydrofracking technology?
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What we found
New York State has long been closely involved in the development of shale gas technology. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), a public research and development agency, conducted significant field research programs during the 1970s and ’80s and even put out a report titled “How to Find and Develop Shale Gas in New York State.”
Partly funded through the federal Department of Energy, these programs were closely aligned with the federal Eastern Gas Shale Project, as well as explorations in other states.
Information on the amount of state funding that went into the studies, which began three decades ago, is scant; NYSERDA annual reports from that period don’t provide details. But evaluation reports produced by engineering firms hired by NYSERDA provided invaluable information for the drilling industry as it grew in the 2000s.
1979 – 1980
This phase focused on exploration for new natural gas wells. The state’s consultant sited four new shale wells, and drilled them in 1980.
Two of these wells were cored as part of the Department of Energy’s Eastern Gas Shale Project. Exploration and operation were both performed under contract with NYSERDA.
Valley Vista View #1 Well (Rathbone Prospect)
Meter, Kennedy and Howe #1 Well (Dansville Prospect)
Scudder #1 Well, (North Corning Prospect)
Dann #1 Well (Erwin Prospect)
1981 – 1982
This phase was intended to determine the economic benefits of gas recovery for institutional users.
NYSERDA’s consultant, Arlington Exploration, drilled five wells in 1981, targeting Marcellus Shale. It drilled each of these wells on the property of educational institutions.
Alfred University #1 Well
St. Bonaventure #1 Well
Allegany County BOCES #1 Well
Portville Central School #1 Well
Houghton College #2 Well
1982 – 1983
This phase looked at the benefits of exploration and the economics of recovery from shale in different conditions.
The state’s consultant sited and drilled four shale wells during this phase: Two were deep, thick shales that were naturally fractured; two were drilled shallow in preexisting fields.
Tiffany #1 Well (Endicott Prospect)
Hulsebosch #1 Well (Elmira Prospect)
Elliot #1 Well (Rushville Prospect)
Widmer #1 well (Naples Prospect)