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Climate Science, General Topics, Hypocrisy, Industrial Strategies, Loony Toons, Shale gas, These items caught my eye

These items caught my eye – 26 August 2013

I thought I would, in this post, focus on what is becoming one of the most important areas in the energy debate, certainly in the UK. As per normal, the green activists have taken over the headlines; we have seen the usual scare tactics and distortion of the facts. What is this area? Why, fracking for gas, no less. I’ve put together a range of articles which, I hope, will clear the air a little. Enjoy.

Shale gas and “fracking”: FAQ

Posted on 24 August, 2013

What is shale gas?
Shale rocks are generally dense and black-coloured, formed from mud deposited at the bottom of past oceans, now solidified into rock. This mud is rich in un-decayed organic matter – that’s what gives shales their black colour. When heated, the organic matter is transformed into oil and gas.

Once it has formed, some of this oil and gas is able to move out of the shale layers, rising through overlying strata, where it may become trapped in sandstone or limestone layers. This oil and gas is what we consider to be ‘conventional’ reservoirs, where we have usually looked for oil.

However, it has always been known that much of the oil and gas formed during burial remains behind, trapped in the shale layers. Compared to sandstones and limestones shales tend to have lower porosity, making it harder for the oil and gas to move about through the shale. This means that it is harder to extract gas from shale than from conventional reservoirs where the fluids can flow more freely.

Click here to read the full article

U.K.’s Bowland Shale Depth Means Wells Won’t Mar Landscape

Posted on 19 April, 2013

The thickness of shale rock in northwest England will allow gas production with minimal disruption above the surface, the head of the explorer aiming to drill in the area said.

Shale in England’s Bowland basin is about three times as thick as the Marcellus deposit in the northeastern U.S. according to a geologist at the U.K.’s Keele University. That will allow horizontal wells to be stacked on top of one another, minimizing the number of well-heads on the surface, said Francis Egan, chief executive officer of Cuadrilla Resources Ltd.

It’s quite unique, the thickness of the shale,” Egan, who joined the company last year from BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), said in an interview in London. “What it opens up is the possibility of stacked laterals so you stack them like a staircase minimizing the surface footprint.”

Click here to read the full article

Fracking is the Future

Posted on 19 August, 2013

Beneath large parts of the UK lies shale gas, from which UK energy production is set to benefit. Fracking is how this abundant resource will be tapped and meddlesome protest groups need to step aside

As protest groups gather in the village of Balcombe in West Sussex, the Energy firm Cuadrilla has announced it will “scale back” fracking operations. In short, fracking (the colloquial term for ‘hydraulic fracturing’) involves drilling miles down into the earth, and then the same distance horizontally. A combination of water, sand and a few chemicals is then injected at a high pressure, causing the rock to fracture and the trapped gas to surface.

The said protest groups, whose campaign is called “No Dash for Gas”, are comprised not of locals but of Occupy movement types – the sort who would have been present at the G20 protests, and outside St Paul’s last year. Threatening behaviour towards Cuadrilla’s workers have prompted the temporary abandonment of works.

Click here to read the full article

I met the fracking protesters

Posted on 21 August, 2013

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is described by its supporters as the solution to our energy needs for decades to come. By forcing water and chemicals deep underground, creating fractures in the rock that release natural gas, countries with large underground gas reserves – the US and UK included – will no longer be reliant on oil from Saudia Arabia. Not only that, but we can dial down our reliance on nuclear power and stop building bat-chomping eco-crucifixes wind turbines all over the country, which scar the landscape.

At least, that’s the theory. It turns out that quite a few people are opposed to this new method of sourcing energy. Their protest efforts have so far been focused on the fracking plant at Balcombe in Sussex. Some people uncharitably claim that they’ve chosen Balcombe, out of all the possible fracking sites, because it’s the easiest to get to from London. But I was sure there must be more to it. So I went to meet them, to find out what all the fuss was about.

Click here to read the full article

Fracking confusion: How UK has been ‘fracked’ for decades

Posted on 22 August, 2013

Protests by environmental campaigners have increased awareness of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, but the process has been used in the UK’s oil and gas industries for decades.

So what has changed, and why are people worried about fracking now?

In West Sussex, environmental activists hold up pun-laden signs near the entrance of the Cuadrilla site in Balcombe.

Get the frack off our land,” reads one, while another claims “Fracking kills: Don’t bore Balcombe to death“.

But 160 miles (260km) north, in the Nottinghamshire village of Beckingham, 71-year-old John Foster walks his dog next to fields which have been fracked for oil and gas for decades.

Click here to read the full article

Spot the Well Pads in Dallas-Fort Worth

Posted on 22 July, 2013

A few weeks ago, Boris Johnson suggested bringing shale gas drilling to the outskirts of London. Surely this area is far too overpopulated to have space for such activity? Perhaps not, if the experience of Dallas-Fort Worth is anything to go by, as I mentioned during a recent radio interview.

So, lets take a look at a shale gas drilling site in Fort Worth. Here’s a portion from the air:

Click here to read the full article

Ten Big Fat Lies About Fracking: Phelim McAleer

Posted on August 25th, 2013

THERE are three places in the US called Burning Springs, and there are historical records of people lighting their water since the 1600s. That’s according to Phelim McAleer who explains what he sees as the ‘Ten Big Fat Lies About Fracking’

1) Anti-fracking activists are nice people who love debate

Actually, far from being liberal, open-minded souls bringing truth to power in a kinder, gentler way, anti-fracking activists have chosen a new disposition: angry! I guess no one told the fracktivists that just because we don’t agree doesn’t mean we can’t get along. Watch Vera Scroggins, for example.

Vera, an anti-fracking, Sierra Club-endorsed activist from Pennsylvania, adds to the ‘dialogue’ with such constructive comments as:
‘You’re a freak.’
‘You’re a male prostitute.’
‘You’re an Irish freak. Go drink some alcohol.’
‘Go get drunk and be a drunken Irish freak.’
‘You’re an alien. You look like a f***ing alien.’

Click here to read the full article

Two earthquakes shake homes in Blackpool

Posted on 25 August, 2013

The 3.3 magnitude earthquake was recorded at just before 10am today by the British Geological Survey, which collected data on the shakes.

An earlier quake at around 5.30am on Sunday measured 2.4 on the Richter scale, with its epicentre about 25km west of Fleetwood in Lancashire.

Click here to read the full article

Fracking: Is it safe and clean enough? – this NYT opinion piece thinks so.

Posted on 15 March, 2013 by tallbloke

Apart from a couple of gripes and moans about co2 from gas, this NYT article is a lot better than most of theirs concerning fossil fuels. Here’s the kicker; Susan Brantley is distinguished professor of geosciences and director of the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute – at Pennsylvania State University.

The Facts on Fracking
Susan Brantley and Anna Meyendorff

Some of the local effects of drilling and fracking have gotten a lot of press but caused few problems, while others are more serious. For example, of the tens of thousands of deep injection wells in use by the energy industry across the United States, only about eight locations have experienced injection-induced earthquakes, most too weak to feel and none causing significant damage.

The Pennsylvania experience with water contamination is also instructive. In Pennsylvania, shale gas is accessed at depths of thousands of feet while drinking water is extracted from depths of only hundreds of feet. Nowhere in the state have fracking compounds injected at depth been shown to contaminate drinking water.

Click here to read the full article

Energy Facts: How Much Water Does Fracking for Shale Gas Consume?

Posted on 6 April, 2013

I’ve been writing a lot recently about the historic transition from coal to gas-fired power generation ongoing in the United States (see here, here, and here). Water is almost always front and center in these stories (see here and here), as the large amounts of water consumed in hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to unlock natural gas trapped in shale formations has brought the water-energy nexus to the fore.

So I felt a bit embarrassed recently when, in a friendly email debate about the environmental merits and demerits of shale gas, I was asked whether or not I was concerned about the millions of gallons of water consumed to frack each of the thousands of shale gas wells now dotting America. I realized I couldn’t really answer that question!

In reporting on the shale gas boom, I’ve been guilty of writing about the “millions of gallons per well” or the “billions of gallons of water consumed annually,” and leaving it at that. That sure sounds like a lot of water. Look at all those “millions” and “billions,” right?! But is that really a lot of water? Compared to what? Where’s the context for me or our readers to interpret what that means?

Click here to read the full article


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