Skip to main content

Meet the Oil & Gas Twins


Things always find a way to happen … A pen leaking. Your shoelace coming untied. Toxic chemicals in your drinking water. What?! The more oil and gas companies frack, the more trouble is finding ways to happen.

The country is in the midst of an unprecedented gas drilling rush—brought on by a controversial technology called hydraulic fracturing or "fracking."

It starts when oil and gas companies take good water, mix it up with not-so-good stuff and shoot it into the ground to force out the gas. And that's when things get really strange …

Behind The Scenes Of Things Find A Way: Meet The Oil & Gas Twins

The gas industry spends a lot of money trying to trick policy makers into thinking that it's part of the clean energy family. C'mon. Who do they think they're fooling? Most gas companies are joined at the hip with their ugly twin—oil companies. They may not want to admit the resemblance, but it's pretty obvious that gas and oil companies are brothers from the same mothers.

Here are five easy ways you can tell:

  1. They both love 'extreme' forms of energy extraction.

    (Although neither has figured out how to do it safely).
    For oil companies, it's the rush of drilling offshore in deep waters or sub-zero Arctic temperatures. For gas companies, it's setting off underground explosions with millions of gallons of chemically-treated water—then sitting back and watching nearby residents light their tap water on fire.

  2. They're both always spilling stuff.

    Sure, oil companies like BP and Exxon have set all the records. But the gas industry is working hard to catch up. Between January 2008 and June 2010, gas companies spilled 4.4 million gallons of fracking and drilling wastewater in Colorado alone.

  3. They belong to all the same clubs.

    The American Petroleum Institute. Independent Petroleum Association of America. The Chamber of Commerce. Friends of James Inhofe.

  4. They switch places with each other all the time.

    It's sort of like how Jose Canseco sometimes has his twin brother sign autographs for him. When BP was short on cash after its massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico, gas producer Anadarko took over some of their operations. And when gas company XTO decided to get out of the risky fracking game in 2009, Exxon stepped right up and filled XTO's place.

  5. They both make a living digging up graves.

    It's not pleasant to think about, but that's essentially what the fossil fuel industry does: digs up long-dead life forms and then burns them. Creepy. When can we switch over to wind and solar already?

Spotlight Features

Fracking Across the United States

Along with the unprecedented oil and gas drilling rush, have come troubling reports of poisoned drinking water, polluted air, mysterious animal deaths, industrial disasters and explosions: "Fraccidents."

Find Your Way: A Citizen's Tip Guide

Jim and Jen Slotterback had only eleven days to save their favorite park from gas drilling—and they succeeded. Find out how they did it so you can protect the areas you love from fracking.

Kids Speak Up On Fracking

The oil and gas industry tried to silence 7- and 10-year-old siblings with a gag order after their parents sued. But the industry can't silence all children.