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Is Fracking Coming to the Arctic?

Geologist "highlights the potential of Alaska’s shale resources" at Houston conference

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

An energy expert hinted at Alaska's future as a fracking zone at the Arctic Technology Conference in Houston.

The Koyukuk River, Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska At the December 3-5 conference, whose tagline is Challenges for Today, Opportunities for Tomorrow, a geologist "highlight[ed] the potential of Alaska’s shale resources."

Zain Shauk reports at Fuel Fix:

Amid talk of ice-breaking boats and tools for Arctic oil spill cleanup, the shale revolution found its way into a Houston conference Wednesday, with an expert highlighting the potential of Alaska’s shale resources.

The state has an estimated potential of up to 2 billion barrels of oil from shale and more than 80 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, said David Houseknecht, a geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey.

In some areas, the characteristics of rocks, even on the surface, show the likelihood of oil finds, Houseknecht said.

“When you break these open, they stink of oil. So definitely a heavily oil-charged system,” he said of a specific geologic region.

Sponsors of the conference included energy giants ExxonMobil, Shell and Total.

Environmental watchdogs have long pointed to the environmental dangers of the controversial energy-extracting process, including toxic waste with unknown chemicals, contamination of aquifers and air pollution.