Gas production operational excellence is hard. No doubt about that. It requires constant attention and total commitment from the top of a drilling company down to all those with whom it contracts. Moreover, handling and containing fluids at the surface remains a true test of whether a company achieves operational excellence.
Two major frack fluid spells in the past 6 weeks in Pennsylvania show surface spills remain a major source of environmental impact from gas production and the imperative need for excellence.
The first spill of 220,000 gallons caused the temporary evacuation of 3 families and this week's spill of 9,000 gallons put frack fluid in the basement of a neighbor's home and onto their horse farm. Also, frack fluid spilt at the surface that breaks containment does not stay at the surface but seeps into soil and eventually groundwater.
When frack fluids are still ending up in the basements of Pennsylvanians, preventing and containing all spills at the surface plainly needs even more attention from regulators and every company in the industry. This real problem would also be a good focus for the new Center For Sustainable Shale Development.