Pot Meet Kettle: Oil Executive Says “Misinformation And Fear” Hurting Fracking Efforts

Ryan Lance, CEO of oil giant ConocoPhillips, issued a dire warning to colleagues at an energy conference earlier this month.  According to Lance, “misinformation and fear” could easily derail the current financial boom that is taking place within the shale gas industry.

According to The Hill, Lance told those gathered at the conference that they need to actively engage with government officials to fix the problem.  From The Hill’s report:

Industry groups contend that concerns about fracking have been badly overstated and say the method is safe.

Lance accused critics of “creating fear” and touted steps he said the industry is taking on water conservation, disclosure of chemicals and other areas.

To address Lance’s first claim (fear and misinformation), the only misinformation being pushed out related to the safety of fracking is coming from the industry.  The best available research tells us that natural gas fracking activities have been linked to increased seismic activity, groundwater pollution, and abnormally higher concentrations of air pollution near fracking well sites.  The full list of dangers from fracking can be found in DeSmogBlog’s “Fracking The Future” report. 

But focusing on Lance’s claim that “misinformation and fear” are thwarting fracking operations misses another important statement from the CEO.  He also said that he and his colleagues in the industry are taking the initiative in being more transparent in disclosing the chemical cocktails being injected into the ground, as well as improvements in “other areas.”

Lance’s claim is at odds with the truth.  In fact, his company, ConocoPhillips, has helped lead the charge to prevent any form of disclosure.   While they have complied with state regulations that are beginning to require disclosure from shale gas companies, they have done only the bare minimum of reporting, and the majority of wells operated by both Conoco and the rest of the industry continue to skirt disclosure requirements

Conoco’s history goes far beyond fighting disclosure.  They have also been a heavy hitter in Washington when it comes to lobbying against oversight of fracking operations.  According to Polluter Watch, ConocoPhillips has spent $69 million on lobbying efforts over the last 5 years, and poured an additional $2 million into direct political campaign donations.  Polluter Watch also notes that the company is ranked #11 on the list of worst polluters in the country. 

The oil giant also worked alongside other dirty energy companies like BP to lobby against any form of EPA oversight for fracking companies.

Lance’s bio also states that he is a board member of the American Petroleum Institute, an industry-funded think tank that has been one of the strongest opponents of oversight for the shale gas and fracking industry, claiming that the current oversight (or lack thereof) is more than the industry needs.

If the industry, and people like Ryan Lance, wish to be taken seriously, they need to admit to the reality that no form of fossil fuel, especially fuel obtained from fracking, comes without significant health and environmental threats.


The fact is that the industry contends that the technology is completely safe and there are no problems.

The reality is that its not completely safe.  There is a failure rate.  In the industry, we know this is true.

There is more than enough evidence that water wells are getting polluted with industrial man made chemicals.

The industry has closed ranks hiding numbers or hiding behind front groups like CAPP which are increasingly becoming political.

The net result is that evironmental groups are presenting information which is true and paints the oil companies in an increasingly negative light.  The harder the oil companies dig in, the worse they look.

What really needs to happen is for this industry to be regulated by an arms length government organization that is capable of gathering statistics and sharing facts.

Many people are affected by the decisions to frack.  Right now, they get zero information from the industry.  They need to be able to make informed decisions like how often are people affected by fracking failures?  How are the issues delt with?

In the mean time I would ask Ryan Lance to sit down and have a sip of Food Grade Fracking Fluid while he ponders his options.  If Haliburton can do it, so can he. I would then ask him to explain why such fluids were created.  I would ask him why the other 500 some odd chemicals are not food grade.

There are no 'silver bullets' for fracking issues.  Cryogenic techniques cannot be used at many wells.

I first heard about a Calgary company doing cryogenic work.  I made some enquiries about how wide spread it could become and was soundly told it would not become widely used.

Interestingly came across this…  Canadian Environmental Law being contested under NAFTA.


Carol Linnette was predicting exactly this just 2 months ago or so.  Canadian citizens must pay out of pocket for foreign complaints about provincial environmental laws, that the Federal government did not write.

Not sure Bob. My guess there's no new developments right at the moment. Ernst is trying to get the case moved to Drumheller, closer to her home, and closer to the source of her claim. Drumheller is also away from the tall towers and influence of Big Oil in Calgary. At the last hearing in Calgary about 70 people from rural Alberta packed the courthouse.

You can follow developments of the law suit on Jessica's website here: