Media mistakes injection wells for fracking

by karlhenk

Detroit — Ohio’s decision to ban a handful of brine-injection wells — and Saturday’s 4.0 magnitude earthquake — has caused some confusion regarding the oil and natural gas drilling frenzy.

Many Mahoning Valley residents have taken to Twitter, Facebook and have even called local politicians calling for a statewide ban on fracking, mistakenly believing that the process has caused 11 Valley earthquakes this year.

Who is to blame for this misinformation? The national media.

NPR, CBC, and Bloomberg have recently implicated fracking as the cause of the Valley quakes.

Fracking is a process in which water, chemicals and sand are blasted into rocks thousands of feet — in the case of the Utica Shale, about 6,000 feet — below the ground to unlock natural gas and oil. Fracking is an extraction process.

Vertical fracking has been around for more than a half-century. Horizontal fracking is a relatively new technology that allows drillers access to untapped natural gas and oil reserves.

Injection wells are the opposite; the fluid used in the fracking process is injected deep into the ground, sometimes as deep as 9,300 feet in Ohio.

In the case of the 11 Valley earthquakes this year, fracking is not the cause.

The nearest horizontal fracking operation is in Milton Township, about 20 miles west of Youngstown.

There is no horizontal fracking going on in the immediate Youngstown area.

There was, however, one fully-functional injection well, on Ohio Works Drive in Youngstown.

That well was shut down by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on Friday. There are between 176 operating injection wells and 194 permitted injection wells in Ohio. There are about 68,000 gas wells in Ohio.

There’s much more on this subject at

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