Tribpedia: Barnett Shale

The Barnett Shale is a rich source of natural gas that spans 5,000 miles beneath at least 18 North Texas counties, stretching west from Dallas to Wichita Falls and south to Waco. Shale is a sedimentary rock made mostly of clay and very fine grains of quartz. The Barnett Shale is an impermeable and nonporous shale that did not ...

Shale Drilling Leaks More Methane Than Feds Thought

Gas producers in North Texas’ Barnett Shale are responsible for significantly more methane pollution than previously estimated, according to a new series of studies. The research adds to a growing body of research into the true climate benefits of shifting away from coal-fired electricity in favor of natural gas, now abundant thanks to fracking.

 

 

Pipes used for fracking are shown in front of a Fasken OIl and Ranch drilling rig outside of Midland on Oct. 8, 2013.
Pipes used for fracking are shown in front of a Fasken OIl and Ranch drilling rig outside of Midland on Oct. 8, 2013.

Texas Bearing Brunt of Drop in Oil Drilling

After a drop in drilling permits and months of plummeting oil prices, nightmares about idled drilling rigs are becoming reality, and Texas oilfields are the hardest hit. Here's the data illustrating how much rig counts are falling, and how Texas oilfields are faring.  

Steve Lipsky shows the methane contamination of his well by igniting the gas with a lighter outside his family's home in Parker County near Weatherford on June 17.
Steve Lipsky shows the methane contamination of his well by igniting the gas with a lighter outside his family's home in Parker County near Weatherford on June 17.

Regulators Pan Study on Methane Gas in Wells

No one disputes that high levels of methane have shown up in several Parker County water wells. But the source of the gas has stirred a heated debate. The Railroad Commission says a new academic study pointing to drilling isn't enough for it to reopen the case.

A grassroots effort to ban fracking in Denton succeeded last fall, but has now been trumped by state lawmakers.
A grassroots effort to ban fracking in Denton succeeded last fall, but has now been trumped by state lawmakers.

Dissecting Denton: How a Texas City Banned Fracking

State lawmakers, the oil and gas industry and national environmental groups are asking deep questions about Denton, home to two universities, 277 gas wells and, now, thanks to a rag-tag group of local activists, Texas’ first ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. 

Drilling Brings Rise in Health Complaints

While drilling for oil and gas has exploded across Texas, residents and environmental advocates allege that state regulators haven't kept up with complaints about negative health effects. Regulators say they've stepped up enforcement, but dispute that airborne emissions from oil and gas drilling pose a threat to health. This story is part of our Shale Life project. 

A gas well last fracked in March sits less than 400 feet from a home in Denton, which just became Texas' first city to ban fracking.
A gas well last fracked in March sits less than 400 feet from a home in Denton, which just became Texas' first city to ban fracking.

Courts Will Take Up Case of Fracking v. Drilling

Legal wrangling will settle challenges to Denton's newly passed fracking ban, and give Texans a free course on the widely mischaracterized oilfield technique that has put Texas at the forefront a national energy boom.

Fracking in Fort Worth, Sept. 27, 2013
Fracking in Fort Worth, Sept. 27, 2013

First Lawsuits Filed Over Denton's New Fracking Ban

Just hours after Denton voted to ban hydraulic fracturing, the state’s General Land Office and biggest petroleum group filed off legal challenges to the new rule. The Texas Oil and Gas Association called the ban unconstitutional, saying it supercedes state law and deprives mineral owners of their property rights.

 

Life Inside a Man Camp

Visit Custom Touch Village, a workforce lodging facility, or “man camp,” that has popped up to accommodate West Texas' transient oilfield workers. These temporary neighborhoods are common in the regions touched by Texas’ shale boom, where housing is in short supply and hotels are stuffed to the gills. This audio slideshow is part of our Shale Life project. 

Understanding the Shale Boom

The oil and gas industry almost singlehandedly lifted Texas from the country’s last recession. But such booms come with unsettling questions: How long will the bonanza last? And will an eventual drop in oil prices decimate local economies — as has happened throughout Texas’ history? This story is part of our Shale Life project. 

 

The Shale Life Project

Where there’s oil and natural gas, there’s money to be made and jobs to be found. But the challenges these dramatic booms present for communities across South and West Texas are immense. Use our 15-part multimedia series — the result of more than six months of reporting from the state's most active shale plays — to see how surging energy production is changing lives and fortunes across Texas. 

Railroad Commissioners Barry Smitherman (center), David Porter (left) and Christi Craddick (right) are shown at a Jan. 15, 2013, meeting in Austin.
Railroad Commissioners Barry Smitherman (center), David Porter (left) and Christi Craddick (right) are shown at a Jan. 15, 2013, meeting in Austin.

Christi Craddick: The TT Interview

The Railroad Commission's new chairman on the agency's dual role as an industry watchdog and champion, the push to ban fracking in Denton and the commission’s efforts on earthquakes and disposal wells.

 

 

Lynda Stokes, the mayor of Reno, Texas, testified before the Railroad Commission of Texas on Jan. 21, 2014. She voiced her concern about an increased number of earthquakes around Eagle Mountain Lake.
Lynda Stokes, the mayor of Reno, Texas, testified before the Railroad Commission of Texas on Jan. 21, 2014. She voiced her concern about an increased number of earthquakes around Eagle Mountain Lake.

Railroad Commission Hopefuls Discuss Disposal Well Plan

Two candidates for the Railroad Commission welcomed the agency's newly proposed requirements for disposal well applications, saying they were a good first step in addressing the spate of earthquakes that have shaken up parts of North Texas.

A gas well last fracked in March sits less than 400 feet from a home in Denton, which just became Texas' first city to ban fracking.
A gas well last fracked in March sits less than 400 feet from a home in Denton, which just became Texas' first city to ban fracking.

Denton Fracking Ban Could Spur Wider Legal Clash

A North Texas town's effort to ban hydraulic fracturing may prompt an unprecedented showdown between two powerful rights: a city's authority to shape development inside its borders, and mineral owners' right to tap their resources. The outcome could reshape Texas law at a time when drilling is causing tension in some urban areas.

Gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis are shown on primary night on March 4, 2014.
Gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis are shown on primary night on March 4, 2014.

Abbott, Davis Oil and Gas Records Show Contrast

Neither Greg Abbott nor Wendy Davis has spent much of their gubernatorial campaigns talking about the energy industry and regulations. But Texans should have little trouble distinguishing their positions on the issue. As a lawmaker, Davis has a detailed record, and Abbott has staked his position in the courts.

An oil & gas drilling rig is drilling a well for Pioneer Natural Resources in the Eagle Ford Shale formation near Yorktown.
An oil & gas drilling rig is drilling a well for Pioneer Natural Resources in the Eagle Ford Shale formation near Yorktown.

Visualization: Water for Fracking in Ten Texas Counties

In drought-stricken regions of Texas, some oil and gas companies could be at risk of depleting their own water supplies. Explore how much water was used for fracking in 10 Texas counties in 2012. In some counties, fracking water use in 2012 equaled at least half of the county's entire water usage in 2011. 

A natural gas compressor station located near La Grange, Texas, on Jan. 29, 2014.
A natural gas compressor station located near La Grange, Texas, on Jan. 29, 2014.

Anti-Regulation Politics May Have Hurt Energy Industry

Texas' anti-regulation stance may have hurt business when the state refused to issue required greenhouse permits for almost two years. Energy companies had to delay large industry facilities that needed the permits. As a result, they say, they have been unable to take full advantage of the area's shale boom.

Texas Railroad Commission lead engineering technician for districts 1 and 2, Michael Polasek, inspects a salt water disposal injection well at a Heckman Water Resources commercial disposal facility on the LAMZA lease near Highway 80, January 22, 2012.
Texas Railroad Commission lead engineering technician for districts 1 and 2, Michael Polasek, inspects a salt water disposal injection well at a Heckman Water Resources commercial disposal facility on the LAMZA lease near Highway 80, January 22, 2012.

After Surprise Quakes, North Texans Speak of Impact

After a contentious town hall meeting concerning the possible links between wastewater injection and a spate of North Texas earthquakes, locals say they cannot afford to wait for state regulators to address the issue.