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Study finds few problems with fracking

Nov. 10, 2011 at 8:43 AM

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- It's not hydraulic fracturing that poses a threat to groundwater but rather certain aspects of drilling operations, a Texas study concluded.

Some U.S. states and European countries have prohibited the use of hydraulic fracturing -- known as fracking -- to get natural gas out of shale deposits. Critics of the practice see the chemicals used in fracking fluid as a significant threat to groundwater supplies.

Charles Groat, a geologist at the University of Texas Energy Institute, was quoted by the Platts news service as saying that fracking itself isn't the problem.

"From what we've seen so far, many of the problems appear to be related to other aspects of drilling operations, such as poor casing or cement jobs, rather than to hydraulic fracturing, per se," he said.

Fracking has been conducted in shale deposits for several decades. If done correctly, there is a minimal amount of damage to the environment, energy companies and some U.S. state regulators said.

Groat said there wasn't a solid preliminary analysis examining the long-term effects of fracking but noted his research team was working to "separate fact from fiction."

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