BUSINESS

Oil Execs Drink Fracking Fluid At Montreal Meeting

11/01/2013 02:12 EDT | Updated 11/01/2013 02:13 EDT
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Oil and gas executives at an industry conference in Montreal sipped on a rather unique beverage this week, the National Post reports — fracking fluid.

During a lunch presentation at the Quebec Oil And Gas Association’s annual conference, Halliburton Canada vice-president John Gorman handed out glasses of the company’s “CleanStim” fracking fluid, and some 20 to 25 execs — Gorman included — took a sip, the Post reported.

Talk about a potent potable.

Gorman said Halliburton “only had to replace very few chemicals with some food additives” to create a fracking fluid safe enough to drink. But the company maintains its fracking fluid is “not intended for human consumption.”

It was a publicity stunt, of course, one that Halliburton — which used to be headed by former Vice President Dick Cheney — has repeated multiple times in recent years.

It’s meant to show that environmentalists’ concerns about toxic fluids in fracking operations are overblown.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper told a U.S. congressional committee earlier this year that he drank Halliburton fracking fluid.

You can drink it. We did drink it around the table, almost ritual-like, in a funny way,” he told the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

And it was likely not a coincidence that the latest round of fracking fluid drinking took place in Quebec, which has instituted a moratorium on fracking.

That moratorium has frustrated some energy companies hoping to jump-start the fracking industry in the province, and led to a lawsuit against the federal government.

Lone Pine Resources says it plans to sue Ottawa for $250 million under NAFTA provisions. The company claims Quebec’s moratorium on fracking beneath the St. Lawrence River, instituted in 2011, takes away the company’s “valuable right” to frack.

Critics say the move shows the potential of free trade agreements such as NAFTA to limit governments' options in setting policy.

Violent clashes broke out earlier this month at Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick when police tried to enforce an injunction against an ongoing protest against shale gas exploration. Shale gas is typically extracted through fracking, which is a process by which water and chemicals are forced into rock formations in order to extract oil or gas.

Besides concerns that toxic chemicals could leak into the groundwater from fracking operations, some studies have suggested fracking exploration is causing earthquakes.

A new study from the British government, released this week, says fracking isn’t a public health risk, so long as it’s well regulated and well run, the Guardian reported.

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Elsipogtog First Nation Protest Fracking Projects