"We found surprising levels of methane in home-owners' wells that were close to natural gas wells, " co-author Rob Jackson, Nicholas Professor of Global Change at Duke University, North Carolina, explained.
"We found that within a kilometre of an active gas well, you were much more likely to have high methane concentrations," he told BBC News.
The team from Duke University collected samples from 68 private water wells in the north-eastern states of Pennsylvania and New York.
"We found some extremely high concentrations of methane: 64 milligrams of methane per litre of drinking water, compared with a normal level of one milligram or lower," Professor Jackson observed.
Professor Jackson said he had witnessed contaminated water being set alight
"That sort of concentration is up at a level where people worry about an explosion hazard."
The BBC's Roger Harrabin shows how to get fuel from hard rock
Professor Jackson said that the simplest explanation of how the gas ended up in people's water supplies was down to "leaky gas well casings".
"If there are cracks or imperfections in the gas well, especially in the vertical section nearer the surface, then methane and possibly fracking fluid/waters," he said.
"That is the simplest and most likely explanation.
"There are other possibilities; some people have proposed that methane can migrate to the surface through fissures that are opened in process of fracturing the rock. To me, that is less likely."
Professor Jackson was keen to point out that the study's drinking water samples revealed no evidence of contamination from fracking fluids, of which about five million gallons are used to unlock the gas in each well.
The combination of rising energy prices and concern about future energy supplies has seen the technology being embraced by nations around the globe.
"Ten years ago, people did not really know about this source of gas," said Professor Jackson.
"The boom in the United States started in the Barnett Shale (found in Texas, and considered to be the largest onshore gas reserve in the US) and it has only been in recent years that we have realised how much gas is out there and economically available.
"it is the combination of energy economics and the emergence of new drilling and fracturing technologies that have made it cheap enough to do."
The Tom Johnson summer school - the annual summer school of the Labour Party took place during the weekend in Kilkenny. This year the Jim Kemmy award was given to the community in Rossport and Erris and was accepted by Vincent McGrath of the Rossport Five. The Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte T.D. presented the award.
Independent Newspapers’ boss Tony O’Reilly has secured himself a free ride in an exploration venture off the west coast which will personally net him a 7% stake in oil and gas finds that could be worth over €20 billion according to some analysts.
[3rd May 2007]
MOMENTS of humour have been rare at the high-octane Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) hearing into the issuing of an Integrated Pollution Prevention Control licence for the Corrib gas project. So when Shell witness Dr David Phillips, an expert in marine pollution control, broke the tension, the brief relief rippled through the room like a mini-tornado. Shell to Sea’s John Monaghan was cross-examining three scientists, and intimating that despite their declared objectivity, they clearly enjoyed ‘a cosy, even incestuous, relationship’ with the giant company. “Well, we haven’t had sex yet,” retorted Dr Philips drily.
There have been a number of interesting stories circulating about Frank Fahey recently. The former minister for the Marine and Natural Resources was instrumental in the initial planning stages of the Corrib Gas scheme, and was at the time accused of using "bullying tactics" to secure Shell's preferred option - an onshore pipeline connecting the sea bed with a giant gas refinery built on a peat bog at Ballinaboy.
Serious questions over Shell Oil's alleged involvement in human rights abuses in Nigeria emerged last night after confidential internal documents and court statements revealed how the energy giant enlisted the help of the country's brutal former military government to deal with protesters.
26th May 2006 - Frank Connolly's first (Friday) column for Daily Ireland
In recent weeks, there has been a veritable tsunami of establishment media drivel against those who demand that the Irish government halt the give away of the country's oil and gas reserves and stop pandering to the multi-nationals, much of it from the O’Reilly controlled press.
UP TO THREE new terminals and five new pipelines, for oil as well as gas, are understood to be part of plans for the controversial site at Bellanaboy Bridge in north Mayo.
In a recent publication entitled Atlantic Ireland: An Exciting Petroleum Province, the Petroleum Affairs Division (PAD) - a subsection of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources - assesses the economic viability of the four Atlantic oil and gas basins: the Rockall Basin, the North and South Porcupine, and the Slyne/Erris/Donegal Basins.
"Remove two thirds of remaining alchohol and transport on the instruction of Mr. Conor Byrne Shell E&P Ireland to Belmullet Garda Station to meet with Chief Superintendent John Gilligan, Garda James Gill, Garda Dermot Butler - transfer alchohol to the safe keeping of the three aforementiond gentleman....
Remove the remaining alchohol from Ossl container and using an unmarked vehicle deliver the balance to Athlone town and meet on the Athlone by-pass with a Garda Superintendent Liam Grimes of the sub aqua division of An Garda Siochana pass the remaining alchohol to Superintendent Grimes"
OSSL Invoice - which claims to have given €29,500 worth of alcohol to named Gardaí who policed Corrib protests
"Investigate all allegations and reports of intimidation, harassment and surveillance in the context of the Corrib Gas dispute in a prompt and impartial manner"
Margaret Sekaggya, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders making a recommendation the Government
"The geological ingredients here are good. The fiscal terms are fantastic"
Europa CEO Hugh Mackay on Ireland's oil and gas terms. (Europa got 2 of the licences in Pat Rabbitte's 2011 oil and gas giveaway)
"In the world and In the state we're living in the fulcrum [of balance] is placed very much towards the point of view of the holders of power. Why on earth should I further add to the enormous wave of PR that is in favour of Shell Corrib Gas Project, ... I don't feel any obligation to put my weight behind what I consider the existing bias."
Donal O'Kelly on RTE after being questioned on his responsibility to give a "rounded view" of the Corrib Gas Project
"And if compulsory acquisitions are ordered against local residents, we will see for the first time in the history of the Irish state, the lands of private citizens being controlled by mercenaries under the name IRMS Security, paid for by Shell."
— Niall Harnett from Castlerea Prision in his submission to Bord Pleanala
"It’s [the oil and gas giveaway] a crazy situation..... The answer to that is obviously very simple. If we get nothing out of it or very little out of it, leave it in the ground, sunshine. Someday it will be gettable and profitable, if it’s not profitable now. There’s no point. What is the point in taking anything out if you get nothing out of it. "
Pat Kenny - finally coming around to the Shell to Sea view on the oil and gas giveaway
"I am concerned about the situation and challenges faced by defenders and activists defending the right to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, particularly those peacefully protesting against the Corrib Gas project in County Mayo....
I have received very serious allegations and some evidence of acts of intimidation, harassment and surveillance of those who oppose the Corrib Gas project, both by the part of the Garda Síochána (police) and the private security firm. I have also received credible reports indicating the existence of a pattern of criminalization of what has mostly been a peaceful protest movement"
UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggya
Together with so many others I have a deep and abiding love of Place and it breaks my heart – but not my spirit – and grieves my soul to witness the ugliness, misery and menace created in what may truly be called a Place of Divine Beauty, increasingly rare in a planet under stress.
Maura Harrington, submission to UN Special Rapporteur on situation of human rights defenders to Ireland,
"What's been allowed to happen in Erris for the last ten years regarding the Shell Corrib gas project has significantly devalued the standard of democracy in Ireland. It is a symptom of a wider malaise, for which we're paying by selling off our independence, our very status as a democratic state - lack of proper participatory democratic process."
Donal O'Kelly- Benbo Productions
"There is a long history of pillage of Ireland's natural resources, beginning with England's deforestation of the country for its navy. More recently, domestic politicians have continued that trend."