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Innovation continued at a quickened pace well into the new millennium, so that by 2008 even deeper wells were being drilled, extending to 14000, even 19000 feet in depth. Further, companies began combining vertical and directional well bores with horizontal bores. In these instances, a relatively vertical well may extend to a depth of around twelve-thousand feet then deviate at nearly ninety-degrees to create a horizontal run for perhaps another twelve-thousand feet. In this way, multiple zones within a formation could be vertically targeted and fractured; and, in addition, a significant portion of the same well bore could run parallel to and within the stratified source layer, such as the fractured layer of shale itself. In recent times, hydraulic fracturing in the United States has roared forward due to tax breaks and other incentives offered by a federal government which receives royalties, while broadly encouraging fast-tracked exploration and production and technologic innovations geared toward faster, cheaper, more productive operations. In my view, without the benefit of a comprehensive national energy plan, the pursuit of fuel resources has become an exclusively competitively driven endeavor. The result has been an all out race to the bottom, with investments of resources in human health and safety as well as environmental protections seen as a competitive disadvantage to be avoided.

In 2012, a combination of older and emerging technologies have begun to enable operators to 'see' at ever greater depths, interpreting hydrologic and geologic characteristics in much the same way as national security agencies do in penetrating compounds in the mid-east. "Super major" operators willing to invest a high fee for cutting edge technologies can now interpret a formation's basement structure many thousands of feet underground all the way to surface. These technologies, often deployed from helicopter-based platforms, include electro-magnetic, gravity, magnetic, radiometric and hyper spectral applications.

Conclusion

The impact of hydraulic fracturing on the Earth's inherent geo-physical processes and properties, including chemistry, physics, biology and geology, has begun to place them at fundamental odds with a federal emphasis on exploitation and an industry competitively driven toward more efficient and productive output. This writer views current legislation, policies and the representative political system as operating in service to a destructive industry in pursuit of profit during an age of social, cultural and environmental enlightenment. Such conditions are bound to introduce grievous conflict. And it has. There is a better way - through evolved negotiations.

In Part Two of this three-part series, we will explore how deceptively simple mechanics and human error can interact with Earth forces to produce a plethora of devastating impacts which oversight authorities, due to implications of domestic and foreign policy as well as political influence are loath to acknowledge and so, find themselves confronting on a daily basis nearly everywhere fracking operations are occurring within communities worldwide.

Look for Part Two: A Collision of Conflicting Interests and Conditions in the June-July edition of The Negotiator Magazine.



Lisa Bracken is a speaker and the author of You And What Army? How to Neutralize Conflict and Negotiate Justice for the Totally Outgunned, Inwardly Timid, Burnt Out or Socially Defunct -- a field manual for resolving conflict by evolving it. Available in bookstores now (www.youandwhatarmybook.com) . Lisa is also a communications and marketing consultant, paralegal and adjunct instructor in the fields of marketing, communications, publishing and conflict resolution.


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Hydraulic Fracturing: A Controversy and A Case for Evolved Negotiations,Part One: A Primer on Resource Extraction and Hydraulic Fracturing by Lisa Bracken



Copyright © 2012 Lisa Bracken
Copyright © 2012 The Negotiator Magazine
The Negotiator Magazine  (May, 2012)