Citizens aired their concerns last Wednesday over the possibility of fracking, the horizontal drilling for oil and natural gas, taking place in a basin that stretches through parts of the Northern Neck and Essex County.
During a meeting of the Northern Neck Soil and Water Conservation District, Former 99th District Delegate Albert C. Pollard and Richard Moncure of the Friends of the Rappahannock gave a presentation on fracking that explained it as the process of injecting chemicals into beds of rock underground known as shale formations to release natural gas, oil and other resources in the rock.
Local interest in the subject first amassed when it was learned that Texas-based Shore Exploration and Production Corp. had secured 85,000 acres of land in leases for fracking in the nearby Taylorsville Basin. Most of the acres were leased in Caroline County, followed by Westmoreland, King George, Essex and King and Queen Counties. Pollard noted that the leasing landowners will be getting $15 per acre each year as well as more if the oil companies find something.
Back in December, Shore Exploration President Stan Sherrill told the Northern Neck News that his company could practice nitrogen fracking in the basin, which, based on a conversation he said he had with a state inspector, produced very little environmental results as opposed to hydrofracking.
But Pollard, in speaking with other geologists, said that Shore, should they undertake fracking, would have to figure out the right mixture for maximum gas extraction.
“I don’t think they can commit that it’s nitrogen, and if they could…then they would have already written that in all the leases and they’d have a lot less people concerned,” said Pollard.
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