The California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) released the first volume of an independent scientific assessment today on well stimulation in California, including hydraulic fracturing. This volume describes how and where operators deploy these technologies for oil and gas production in the state, and where the technologies might enable production in the future.
The assessment was prepared for the California Natural Resources Agency in response to Senate Bill 4. It is the first volume in a three-volume CCST study that will assess current and potential future practices of well stimulation technologies in the state. This study builds on the findings of the CCST report “Advanced Well Stimulation Technologies in California” of August 2014, commissioned by the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
“We applaud state leaders for seeking an independent scientific assessment to inform policy choices about well stimulation, which is the reason CCST was created as an independent organization by the Legislature,” said CCST Executive Director, Dr. Susan Hackwood.
The report was developed by experts from CCST and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). CCST studies follow a rigorous process modeled after the National Academies study process, with checks and balances and careful vetting at each stage.
“CCST assembled a steering committee for this report from some of the state’s finest experts on oil and gas production, environment, water, risk assessment and geology,” said Dr. Jane C. S. Long, chairman of CCST’s committee on California’s Energy Future. “The group debated the issues and reached consensus on all conclusions.”
Jens Birkholzer, project leader for Berkeley Lab and Division Deputy of Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division, added, “A highly qualified group of scientists with many years of research experience worked several months to assess the facts associated with well stimulation in California.”
The report’s findings and conclusions are based on a review of published literature and official and voluntary databases through June 2014. Key findings and conclusions include:
The full report and executive summary can be viewed at: https://ccst.us/publications/WST
Volumes II and III of the study will be delivered to the California Natural Resources Agency on or before July 1, 2015. Volume II will discuss how well stimulation affects water, the atmosphere, seismic activity, wildlife and vegetation, traffic, and light and noise levels. It will also explore human health hazards, and identify data gaps and alternative practices. Volume III will present case studies to assess environmental issues and qualitative risks for specific geographic regions.
The California Council on Science and Technology is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit corporation established in 1988 via a unanimous vote of the California Legislature. Bringing together world-class expertise from academia, the national labs, companies and a broad array of Senior Fellows who are distinguished scientists and technical experts, CCST offers expert advice to the Governor, the Executive Branch and the Legislature on science and technology-related policy issues. In recent years, CCST has produced a series of reports on California and innovation, water, energy, STEM and digitally enabled education.
Amber Mace, CCST, (916) 492-0996, cell (510) 326-0685
Richard Stapler, CNRA, (916) 653-9402