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Josh Fox of Gasland fame was on the Daily Show last week Wednesday with an interview with John Oliver.   He had an interesting and provocative comment about leaking oil and gas wells and what the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) has to say about this problem.

This was the extended part 2 online only segment:

The part where Fox mentioned the Society of Petroleum Engineers was here in the third interview Part 3  - start viewing at 3:15 for context:

Several specific points Fox stated in the interview set off my "BullXXXX Detector," including his claims about massive, uncontrolled methane emissions from oil and natural gas well drilling, well completion and production operations -- claims which are not supported in EPA's background documents on air emissions from the oil and gas industry.

But what really caught my eye was Fox's claim about the Society of Petroleum Engineers.    Fox stated:

“Society of Petroleum Engineers says that 35% of the world’s wells are leaking”.

In the main interview portion Fox claimed that the oil and gas industry carried out
wells with 'fatally flawed engineering' and I suppose that Fox thought his claims about the Society of Petroleum Engineers would buttress his point.  

When I first heard it, I immediately thought Fox's claim about SPE was an absolutely unbelievable fabrication and conflation.   So I decided to contact SPE to see what they said about what Josh Fox said about them.

I just received an email from the Society of Petroleum Engineer official Paige McCown, Senior Manager Communication and Energy Education:

Hi Alex,

The actual quote from Mr. Fox on the Daily Show was that the “Society of Petroleum Engineers says that 35% of the world’s wells are leaking”.  Neither SPE, nor anyone representing SPE, has ever made the claim that 35% of the world’s (oil and gas) wells are leaking.  We have no basis for making such a determination.

Thank you,

Paige McCown

Society of Petroleum Engineers

Senior Manager Communication & Energy Education


713-457-6826 office

832-776-3511 cell


Josh Fox's claim stating that the Society of Petroleum Engineers says that 35% of the world's oil and gas wells are leaking is a total and complete fabrication.

This diary is the first of what I hope to be a series of diaries called 'Fact Checking Josh Fox / Gasland' that I'll be posting from time to time.   My next diary on this topic will discuss how Fox/Gasland makes erroneous claims about regulation of the oil and gas industry under the Clean Air Act and why the BREATHE ACT promoted by national environmental groups is an extremely bad idea and constitutes malpractice in the legislative stewardship of the Clean Air Act and a threat to public health in communities around pulp mills, petroleum refineries and synthetic organic chemical manufacturing operations.


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Originally posted to LakeSuperior on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 05:18 PM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Hawks.

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