Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rupert Murdoch and Dick Cheney Back an Oil Shale Company With Faulty Wells. We’re Shocked!

By Climate Guest Blogger on Sep 6, 2011 at 9:37 am
by Sarah Pavlus in a Media Matters cross-post

The state of Colorado says it will require American Shale Oil, LLC — a company backed by Rupert Murdoch and Dick Cheney — to fix several poorly cemented wells that, according to the state, appear to be endangering ground water in western Colorado.

Halliburton — the oil and gas giant once headed by Cheney — conducted the cementing and cement evaluation of the wells and rated several as having “poor” cement bonds in certain segments, according to a memo that American Shale Oil (AMSO) submitted to state and federal regulators in late July.

In the July 26 memo, AMSO claimed the poor cementing in its wells “poses little threat” to groundwater resources in the Piceance Basin on Colorado’s Western Slope, where the company is leasing federal land to pursue oil shale research and development.

But the state disagrees. When contacted about the AMSO memo, Steve Shuey, a Senior Environmental Protection Specialist for the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (DRMS), told Media Matters in a statement that the cementing fell short of the plans filed by the company and it “appears to be inadequate to protect” the region’s aquifers. Shuey said the state would require AMSO to fix the cementing:

DRMS has reviewed the document to which you refer. We recognize that the well completion cementing was not conducted as specified in the Well Construction Designs of the approved NOI [Notice of Intent]. The current well completion status appears to be inadequate to protect the Uinta and A-Groove aquifers. DRMS will be sending AMSO a letter requiring remedial cement and completion work be performed on tomography wells TM-1 through TM-4 to ensure adequate protection of the groundwater resource.

When asked about Shuey’s statement, AMSO maintained that the cementing issues identified in its July memo do not significantly impact the “protection of water quality” and told Media Matters the company would “work with the responsible agencies to resolve any outstanding concerns.” According to an AMSO spokesperson:

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