When crude oil prices sank this winter, companies scaled back their fracking plans in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale deposit, running from central and southeast Louisiana into Mississippi. Exploration and drilling is mostly on hiatus there until crude rebounds, industry members said last week.
Within a few months, New Orleans-based Helis Oil & Gas Co. hopes to explore a deep part of the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale play by drilling down 13,000 feet near Mandeville, La. Other companies are fracking shallower parts of the TMS deposit to the northwest.
Fracking companies claim that drilling, when done properly, is no threat to drinking water. But in late 2011, the EPA said fluids used to drill for natural gas most likely polluted an aquifer near Pavillion, Wyoming.