The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Secretary Jewell on Fracking

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 28, 2014

In an interview with the Huffington Post, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, in just a handful of minutes, does a pretty good job answering some of the most common attacks on hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling made by opponents of fracking – many of whom apparently want no part of the job creation, increased U.S. energy security and reduced emissions of methane and carbon dioxide that safe and responsible fracking brings. Jewell:

“Fracking has been around for over 60 years. It is the ability to actually unlock oil and gas from reservoirs away from the wellbore. New techniques with directional drilling and staged fracking have enabled people to direct those fractures into formations that release a lot of oil and gas a long way away – maybe two miles from the actual wellhead.”

In a nutshell she describes the marriage of advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling that is responsible for America’s ongoing energy renaissance – dramatically increasing domestic oil and natural gas production from vast shale reserves to the point where the U.S. now is No. 1 in the world in natural gas production and is expected to be No. 1 in oil output soon.

Jewell, who in a former life personally worked on fracturing a well, next talks about safe operations:

“So, if done safely and responsibly – and it can be, and it is being done safely and responsibly – it can unlock a lot of resources with less surface disturbance.”

Jewell continues:

“It has to be done well, which means wellbore integrity, it means control over your flowback fluid, it means understanding what is being injected, managing that wastewater effectively.”

The secretary is right about drilling standards, and industry has developed a strong set of guidelines and best practices for safe fracking operations – from drilling, to proper casing to water and waste management. Industry is working with effective, engaged state regulators to protect communities, the environment and energy workers.

On earthquakes, Jewell says don’t blame fracking:

“I would say there’s a lot of misinformation and a lot of things attributed to the term fracking that may be wastewater injection, a lot of things that are injected into subterranean formations to get rid of it.”

Check out video of Jewell’s interview here:


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.