After four years of studies, scientists have found no link between methane present in water wells outside of Fort Worth and nearby gas production activities in the Barnett Shale. The methane appears to have migrated naturally to the wells from the shallower Strawn formations and not from the Barnett Shale, where natural gas production and hydraulic fracturing are occurring. By conducting the studies, researchers believe they have developed important methods that could be applied in similar situations to determine where methane originates in an environment.
The latest study, published in August in Water Resources Research, is the fifth and final in a series conducted by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan that looks at groundwater wells in the Barnett Shale area. The vast majority of the wells have little or no methane in the water, but a cluster of 11 wells near the Parker County and Hood County line had methane levels above 10 milligrams per liter of water, a level that can require venting of well water systems to ensure the flammable gas does not accumulate to hazardous levels.
“Protecting groundwater quality is a fundamental requirement for sustainable energy development, and it is important to develop tools that can be used to monitor ongoing gas exploration and production activities,” said lead author Toti Larson, a research associate at the Bureau of Economic Geology, a research unit of the UT Jackson School of Geosciences.Read the rest by clicking here.