By January 2, 2013 2 Comments Read More →

Facts Not Required

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By Don Briggs
President, Louisiana Oil and Gas Association

Yet again, another negative film has been released regarding the oil and natural gas shale revolution that is sweeping across our nation. The latest film, Promised Land, featuring several A-list actors, attacks the oil and gas industry regarding leasing and hydraulic fracturing. The difference in this film and others, such as Gasland, is very little. The idea is the same: you gather inaccurate data about an industry that is run on very technical details, pitch the film to the mainstream media, and you have yourself a moneymaking movie. Facts are clearly not required to be successful with a film.

The groups that stand behind these movies are doing one thing right – a mass scale public relations campaign. The industry can learn from this basic concept of public relations. The idea is to produce materials that are meant to educate the public about a particular topic using means of the Internet, television, publications, and grass root campaigns.

Promised Land is utilizing all of these PR tactics. According to the cast, the film is meant to start a conversation about hydraulic fracturing. No one will argue that a conversation needs to be had about this technical process, but the conversation needs to be driven by experts, not Matt Damon. Once the oil and gas arena is on the defense about a particular topic, too much time is spent debunking false information, rather than producing quality and factual content that can then be distributed to the medium/s of choice.

What are the facts about hydraulic fracturing and how can the industry improve our messaging and education process? It is important to first note that the process of fracturing was started in the late 1940’s. So while there is much hype today, this technique for extracting oil and gas is not a new idea. By 1989, over one million wells had been drilled using this process. Also, while “studies” are quoted with frequency in the media, the federal government has conducted numerous reports that all came back with the same response: there is no connection between hydraulic fracturing and contamination of any sorts.

The facts about the hydraulic fracturing system favor the oil and gas industry. It is a safe process and economically productive for our national economy and job market. The task at hand is beating the liberal media and Hollywood to the punch. Thus far, it has been a dubious job of the industry having to play defense to widespread film productions that simply are not accurate in their content.

To “beat Hollywood to the punch”, the oil and gas industry must increase its educational output. This output must begin from the smallest service company to the largest operating company. The smaller entities must not rely solely on the large global powers, and the large corporations must not minimize the importance of the voice of the small localized company partaking in the same job: drilling wells, creating jobs and protecting the environment to which we have been entrusted.

While facts are not required by Hollywood to produce a successful film, it will be vitally important for the oil and gas industry to proactively communicate the truth to the general public. If it were only as easy to drill a well with half the facts, as it is to make a movie, energy independence would be yesterday’s news.

Posted in: Presidents Articles

About the Author:

The Louisiana Oil & Gas Association (known before 2006 as LIOGA) was organized in 1992 to represent the Independent and service sectors of the oil and gas industry in Louisiana; this representation includes exploration, production and oilfield services. Our primary goal is to provide our industry with a working environment that will enhance the industry. LOGA services its membership by creating incentives for Louisiana’s oil & gas industry, warding off tax increases, changing existing burdensome regulations, and educating the public and government of the importance of the oil and gas industry in the state of Louisiana.

2 Comments on "Facts Not Required"

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  1. Mike says:

    The only thing I would like to correct from the above article is that fracking is not a drilling method, it is a completion method and part of the fact that their are so many lies and “artistic liberties” taken in Hollywood is the amount of cross-contamination, if you will, of words and phrases that are used in describing the processes of the oil and gas industry. (e.g. diesel oil or diesel fuel or diesel – those are all the same product) Drilling is the process in which, a drill bit is placed on a drill string (multiple connections of drill pipe) that is spun into the ground with drilling mud pumped through the drill string and bit to lubricate the drill bit, return drill cuttings to the surface, maintain bore hole integrity and maintain enough pressure to prevent and blowouts of gas pockets encountered in the drilling. Fracture Stimulation, or frac or frack, for short, is the process that happens after the drill bit has been removed from the hole, therefore no longer drilling, and water, sand/propant and other chemicals and gels are pumped at high pressures into a specific stratigraphic formation to produce fractures in said formation and as the water and chemicals are push out because of the pressure, the sand/propant becomes lodged in those said fractures holding them open for the flow of hydrocarbons. Fracking is not a bad thing, and actually it is a good thing in this country as the United States is RIGHT NOW the most stringent when it comes to regulations and restrictions, we do not need more restrictions, we need more areas to drill opened up to produce the hydrocarbons to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil

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