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Ohio Utica Shale

Missouri keeping close eye on Illinois fracking rules

By Bob Downing Published: March 26, 2013

From the Associated Press:

Illinois residents aren't the only people closely watching a hydraulic fracturing bill under consideration in Springfield, Ill. Missouri mining organizations have a keen interest, too.

The Southeast Missourian reported Sunday that the Missouri mining industry stands to gain from an increased need for silica sand, which is critical in hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.

Illinois HB2615 would create the Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act. Passage would subject fracking in Illinois to some of the nation's strictest regulations. Drilling companies have held off on the process until they have known what regulations they would face. Fracking is banned in several states, but supporters say the process helps drive prices down by allowing drilling in unconventional areas.

Fracking has been used in vertical mining operations in Illinois since 1947, said Bob Bauer of the Illinois State Geological Survey. Energy companies are buying leases in southeastern Illinois, but he said they are based on speculation. There is no absolute proof the state will yield significant oil or gas resources, he said.

Missouri is not an abundant resource of oil or natural gas, but it is a resource for silica sand. That is creating concern among Missouri environmentalists.

"As fracking expands, there will be increasing pressure to mine sand here in Missouri," John Hickey, director of the Missouri chapter of the Sierra Club. "Due to the extremely high volume of sand used in fracking, there is a danger that expanded sand mining here will cause environmental damage."

Several silica sand operations already exist in Missouri. Texas-based FTS International operates a mine in Perryville, north of Cape Girardeau. Other mines are on the outskirts of the St. Louis area: Mississippi Sand LLC, based in suburban St. Louis, produces silica sand in a mine near Festus, Mo. Connecticut's Unimin Corp. has a silica sand operation in Pevely, Mo. And U.S. Silica Holdings Inc., of Maryland, has a mine in Pacific, Mo.

The January 2013 Mineral Commodity Summary by the U.S. Geological Survey says Missouri is the sixth-largest producer of industrial sand and gravel, and the price is rising quickly. The average ton cost $44.78 in 2012, up from $30.82 just four years earlier.

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Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.