Company touts alternative fracking method

A Canadian-based energy company that has developed an alternative to the controversial hydraulic fracturing method now widely used to drill for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale is spreading the word about the process in Tioga County, N.Y.

Robert Lestz, chief technology officer for GASFRAC Energy Services Inc. -- located in Calgary with branch offices in Texas -- met Wednesday with the Tioga County Landowners Group in Owego, whose members collectively own about 126,000 acres.

A session for the general public is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Owego Free Academy.

GASFRAC Energy uses a process that injects gelled liquid petroleum gas, with three additives, into an underground rock formation to release trapped natural gas. During the fracking operation, Lestz said, the gelled liquid petroleum gas, or LPG, liquefies and returns to the surface as propane gas, which eliminates the need for a settling pond required by hydraulic fracking. The propane is recovered, chilled back into a gel and reused.

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