Proponent talks up natural gas drilling

September 27, 2013 Updated Jun 3, 2010 at 6:34 AM EDT

By Business First of Buffalo - by David Bertola

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Proponent talks up natural gas drilling

September 27, 2013 Updated Jun 3, 2010 at 6:34 AM EDT

Brad Gill says that even though there's a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, there should be more of a groundswell of support for hydrofracking the Marcellus Shale formation for natural gas.

Gill is executive director of Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York.

Of the Gulf of Mexico oil leak, he said, "36,000 wells are drilled in the Gulf of Mexico. It's an environmental disaster, it's an accident, an exception and it's awful, but we don't want shut down an industry."

He thought the gulf spill could actually lend support and cause people to rally around shallow natural gas onshore drilling.

Gill equated deep underwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico with dry land shallow natural gas drilling by saying both are energy sources.

He then used a transportation example to make the case for hydrofracking.

"It would be like saying, 'If an airplane crashes, that doesn't bode well for train travel. That would be silly," he said. "I would think that people would support onshore dry land natural gas drilling now, no mistake about it."

Currently, Horizontal and high-volume hydrofracking are not permitted in New York state.

The Marcellus shale formation is rich in natural gas and stretches from New York into Virginia. Hydrofracking is a process where millions of gallons of water are pumped into the rock, which then fractures and releases the gas.

While there's a moratorium on drilling the Marcellus shale in New York state, the formation is being hydrofracked in Pennsylvania.

Those who oppose the decades-old hydrofracking process, especially horizontal hydrofracking, say it threatens to contaminate water supplies and aquifers, and that a lack of facilities exist to treat chemically laced water used in the fracking process.