While a debate rages over the use of hydraulic fracturing to exploit fossil fuel reserves inland, the practice has quietly taken hold offshore, in the Gulf of Mexico.
Documents obtained by “Fault Lines” reveal that the world’s largest oil firms are now fracking in some of the Gulf’s deepest waters — raising questions about how it is being regulated.
A list of about 100 well sites offers one of the first snapshots of the practice, which until just a couple years ago was unknown to the public.
“There’s been a level of secrecy that’s shielded this activity from view, literally and figuratively,” said Jonathan Henderson, who works for New Orleans’ Gulf Restoration Network. “This activity is taking place offshore, and the public can’t get out here [to see it].”
The list of sites obtained by “Fault Lines” reveals that BP, ConocoPhillips, Shell and nearly two dozen other companies were approved to use offshore fracking in 2013. It also reveals that fracking has occurred in the vicinity of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon spill. Chevron, which operates several nearshore rigs visited by a “Fault Lines” team in January, said it also uses offshore fracking “safely and efficiently” at its deepest water sites.
(Source: Al Jazeera-exclusive)