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Salon: Fracking and Resurgent Oil and Gas Production in the USA

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Sunday, January 13, 2013 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm

At the January 13 Salon at The Jefferson Center, petroleum geologist Len Eisenberg will describe the basics of petroleum exploration and hydraulic fracturing, contamination problems and remedies. Len will lead a discussion on the various issues in play with regard to the potential huge increase in USA petroleum production engendered by 'fracking'; climate change and environment, national security, USA trade balance and economic impact, domestic job creation.

The International Energy Agency recently predicted that the USA would become the world's largest natural gas producer by 2015, surpass Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest oil producer by 2017, and be a net oil exporter by 2030. This huge turn around from predictions of severe shortages just a few years ago is primarily due to dramatic improvements in drilling and fracturing techniques which have opened up vast new resources of oil and natural gas from previously uneconomic shale deposits. 'Fracking' is the process whereby shales are hydraulically fractured to release trapped oil and natural gas, but many have serious questions about the safety of the technique, particularly with regard to groundwater contamination.