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Chevron CEO: Industry must address 'legitimate' 'fracking' concerns

June 11, 2013|By Shan Li
  • The chief executive of Chevron said there were "legitimate concerns" over fracking that must be addressed.
The chief executive of Chevron said there were "legitimate concerns"… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

The chief executive of oil giant Chevron Corp. says that oil and gas producers must regulate themselves more tightly over hydraulic fracturing to address "legitimate concerns" that the practice is unsafe and harmful to the environment.

At an event for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, John Watson said the energy industry must work harder to police itself as the public learns more about so-called fracking, the controversial technique that involves injecting large volumes of chemically laced water and sand deep into the ground to release oil or gas.

"There are some risks out there. Some are overstated. But we have to engage them either way," said Watson, according to Bloomberg. "Public expectations are very high, and there is no reason they shouldn't be high."

Watson brought up the 2010 BP oil spill, which gushed millions of barrels of oil before it was finally capped after 87 days, the report said. And with fracking getting at previously unrecoverable oil and gas, more people are pondering the risks and possibilities of the technology.

Chevron has suffered its share of accidents since 2011, including a fire at its Richmond, Calif., refinery and two deaths at a Nigerian drilling rig operated by a subsidiary. Watson and several other top executives saw their compensation cut following these occurrences, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Fracking is a hot topic of late in California. Some industry experts say the state could enjoy a huge oil boom in the future thanks to the Monterey Shale, an oil deposit that spans 1,750 square miles through Southern and Central California.

But environmental concerns could stymie efforts to drill. Democrats in California's Assembly have introduced several measure to impose tighter regulations and impose a moratorium on fracking in the state.

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