Documentary on Fracking – Shattered Ground Hosted by David Suzuki

The Nature of Things – Shattered Ground

fracking documentary

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.youtube.com

ShatteredGround

image credit:  (2)

“[…] “Fracking”, or Hydraulic Fracturing, is a new technology that has opened up immense resources of natural gas buried in deep shale beds. The process involves injection of highly-pressurized water, sand and chemicals to shatter underground layers of shale and extract previously inaccessible natural gas.
But the process and its sudden spread across the North American landscape, has become an incredibly divisive issue, ripping apart communities and even families. The backlash to the gas industry is unprecedented, with some countries, Canadian provinces and American states adopting fracking bans and moratoriums. […] “(1)

(1) http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episodes/shattered-ground 

“[…] In Dimock, Pennsylvania, residents found their water contaminated after fracking began nearby.  As it turns out, the cement casings that were meant to prevent the water from escaping had failed, and now all of their water was contaminated.  One man described his daughter’s experience showering in that water:

“My daughter would get in the shower in the morning, and she would have to get out and lay on the floor because she thought she was going to pass out from the methane.  She had eczema on the insides of her arms, hives up and down her body, and she said, ‘I want to have kids some day’.  You know, my job is to protect my kids, how do I protect them from this?” […] “(2)

(2) http://aftw.net/2015/08/31/shattered-ground-review/

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Water Quantities Used for Hydraulic Fracturing Varies According to Drilling Methods

The amount of water required to hydraulically fracture oil and gas wells varies widely across the country, according to the first national-scale analysis and map of hydraulic fracturing water usage detailed in a new USGS study accepted for publication in Water Resources Research, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.usgs.gov

>” […]  from 2000 to 2014, median annual water volume estimates for hydraulic fracturing in horizontal wells had increased from about 177,000 gallons per oil and gas well to more than 4 million gallons per oil well and 5.1 million gallons per gas well. Meanwhile, median water use in vertical and directional wells remained below 671,000 gallons per well. For comparison, an Olympic-sized swimming pool holds about 660,000 gallons.

“One of the most important things we found was that the amount of water used per well varies quite a bit, even within a single oil and gas basin,” said USGS scientist Tanya Gallegos, the study’s lead author. “This is important for land and resource managers, because a better understanding of the volumes of water injected for hydraulic fracturing could be a key to understanding the potential for some environmental impacts.”

Horizontal wells are those that are first drilled vertically or directionally (at an angle from straight down) to reach the unconventional oil or gas reservoir and then laterally along the oil or gas-bearing rock layers. This is done to increase the contact area with the reservoir rock and stimulate greater oil or gas production than could be achieved through vertical wells alone.

However, horizontal wells also generally require more water than vertical or directional wells. In fact, in 52 out of the 57 watersheds with the highest average water use for hydraulic fracturing, over 90 percent of the wells were horizontally drilled.

Although there has been an increase in the number of horizontal wells drilled since 2008, about 42 percent of new hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells completed in 2014 were still either vertical or directional. The ubiquity of the lower-water-use vertical and directional wells explains, in part, why the amount of water used per well is so variable across the United States.

The watersheds where the most water was used to hydraulically fracture wells on average coincided with parts of the following shale formations:

Eagle Ford (within watersheds located mainly in Texas)Haynesville-Bossier (within watersheds located mainly in Texas & Louisiana)Barnett (within watersheds located mainly in Texas)Fayetteville (within watersheds located in Arkansas)Woodford  (within watersheds located mainly in Oklahoma)Tuscaloosa  (within watersheds located in Louisiana & Mississippi)Marcellus & Utica (within watersheds located in parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and within watersheds extending into southern New York)

Shale gas reservoirs are often hydraulically fractured using slick water, a fluid type that requires a lot of water. In contrast, tight oil formations like the Bakken (in parts of Montana and North Dakota) often use gel-based hydraulic fracturing treatment fluids, which generally contain lower amounts of water. […]”<

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EPA and the Petroleum Industry: Fracking, Cover-ups and Academic Freedom

Thyne says he’s not the only one who’s been subjected to undue pressure from the oil and gas industry. He says he knows of faculty around the nation who have been targeted as well, including an engineer at Cornell University who called for an outright fracking ban in his state.

“Industry did a bunch of nasty pieces on him, trying to make him look like a wild-eyed, pistol-waving lunatic,” Thyne says.

There was even one woman from the tiny town of Raton, N.M., who claimed she was being followed and harassed after complaining about her water well being contaminated by nearby drilling operations.

“This ain’t shit,” Thyne says of his own situation. “I’ve talked to people who’ve been shot at. … It’s a real sticky situation, because there are some people getting jobs in the community, because of the development, and they’re good-paying jobs, and this is changing our economy, so it’s all positive, and then you say, ‘Yeah, well, so-and-so screwed up my well, and they won’t compensate me for it, so I’m going to take them to court, or I’m going to make waves.’ And you’ve got your neighbors mad at you.”

In addition, taking a big oil or gas company to court isn’t a walk in the park.

“You’ve got to have really deep pockets, you’ve got to go to court for a couple of years,” Thyne says. “They’re going to push it back and push it back and push it back, and then they’re going to wait until the last second, literally, and they’re going to settle. And they’re probably going to simply buy your land for what you paid for it, and get you to sign a nondisclosure [agreement] and say bye bye.”

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.boulderweekly.com

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Fracking linked to BC’s liquefied natural gas gambit

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A surplus of natural gas in North America explains why the B.C. government is so desperate to launch a new industry

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>“The prices that the [B.C.] government is looking at in paving the roads with gold is basically based on these short-term factors that are not likely to persist,” Lee said.

Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman did not make himself available for an interview to respond to Lee’s comments.

B.C. misread U.S. energy revolution

The B.C. government missed the mark with its earlier forecasts on royalties because it failed to predict an explosion in U.S. energy production.

This largely came about through hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as “fracking”, and horizontal drilling. Technological innovations in fracking generated huge new supplies, causing North American natural-gas prices to plummet.

The falling prices resulted in fewer royalties flowing into the B.C. government treasury.

Fracking involves pumping huge amounts of water along with sand and chemicals into shale-rock formations to free trapped gas.

Horizontal drilling enables companies to retrieve locked supplies by moving the drill bit across a deposit rather than going straight down.

A single platform can send horizontal drills in a multitude of directions, enhancing efficiency and saving money.

In his 2013 book, The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters (Penguin), Gregory Zuckerman chronicled how a handful of U.S. energy-industry outcasts refined these techniques and caused an American energy revolution.

“To me, it’s fascinating that this resurgence started in 2007 and 2008, which is right when America was sort of on its back,” he told the Straight by phone.

Zuckerman, a Wall Street Journal reporter, said that the United States is now producing about eight million barrels of oil per day, up from five million barrels per day in 2008.

In addition, U.S. natural-gas production rose more than 21 percent between 2008 and 2013.

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson has predicted that the U.S. will be energy self-sufficient by 2020.

The Frackers reveals that the people who spearheaded this sharp increase in energy production were not working for major oil companies like ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, or Chevron.

Rather, they were an assortment of little-known wildcatters from Texas and Oklahoma—George Mitchell, Aubrey McClendon, Tom Ward, and Harold Hamm—who became billionaires as a result.

They crisscrossed areas with shale reserves, buying drilling rights from property owners. Although there has been a lot of howling from environmentalists about the contamination of water supplies with fracking chemicals, the industry continues to grow.

“Everyone focuses on fracking—and fracking is key, as is horizontal drilling—but the most important thing is that innovators like Mitchell got it to work in shale, which everyone kind of ignored, especially the big guys and the experts,” Zuckerman said.

By targeting shale, Zuckerman maintained, Mitchell changed the country and the world.

That’s because manufacturers with high natural-gas input costs—such as makers of chemicals, tires, cement, and aluminum—are basing operations in the United States because of the low natural-gas prices. And Zuckerman said that this will give the U.S. a competitive advantage against other countries for years to come.

“Some economists say as many as two million jobs are going to be created,” he stated.<

See on www.straight.com

Fracking chairman: shale gas not going to cut prices

energy & water insights

Lord Browne, former head of BP and current chairman of the UK’s largest shale gas company Cuadrilla, said this week that fracking is unlikely to reduce gas prices. In a speech at the London School of Economics he also said that…

  • the recent strike price agreed between the government and EDF for nuclear power was “very, very expensive”
  • oil and gas currently receive more subsidies than renewable energy, which he described as “like running the heating and air conditioning at the same time”

The economic, geological, regulatory and social differences between the UK and US mean it is highly unlikely that the shale gas revolution being experienced in North America can be translated across the Atlantic, with even modest production unlikely before the mid-2020s according to most in the industry.

Despite repeated assurances from David Cameron and George Osborne that shale gas will reduce prices, Browne has recognised…

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Obama approves border-crossing pipeline carrying corrosive fracked gas diluent to Alberta Tar-Sands

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But the pipeline has problems with stress corrosion cracking. Is it safe to expand?

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Kinder Morgan Cochin LLC is now allowed to reverse and expand to build a 1,900-mile proposed pipeline to transport gas produced by hydraulic fracturing of the Eagle Ford Shale basin in Texas north into Alberta. It would carry gas condensate that is used to dilute the bitumen in the tar sands. The extra-thick oil produced in the tar sands needs to be cut with 30 per cent condensate so it can be carried, according to the Financial Post.

The Cochin pipeline has had some safety issues in the past, however. Last year, the National Energy Board sent Kinder Morgan a letter regarding Stress Corrosion Cracking (SCC) failure in the U.S. back in 2003. At the time, the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued an order imposing a 20 per cent pressure restriction on the pipeline. Kinder Morgan later voluntarily imposed a further restriction on the operating pressure and received approval to increase  the operating pressure of the pipeline in US to 6895 kPa (1000 psi) in March 2012.<

See on www.vancouverobserver.com

Surplus fossil fuels expected to exceed carbon budget

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It won’t be difficult to blow by the 1-trillion ton threshold based on the amount of fossil fuels still in the ground. As Amy Myers Jaffe remarks, “scarcity will not be the force driving a shift to alternative energy. Climate and energy policy initiatives will have to take into consideration the possibility of oil and gas surpluses and lower fossil fuel prices.”

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The lesson here is that the economics are still in favor of producing fossil fuels. The cyclical nature of energy prices suggests that higher prices will spur development of technologies to reach more difficult energy deposits. This doesn’t mean that oil and natural gas prices will be low for the rest of time, but it does reflect how high energy prices in the 2000s led not only to funding and research in alternative fuels (particularly biofuels), but also in oil and gas technologies. This investment coupled with decades of U.S. government and academic research proved fruitful with the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing becoming a deployable technology.

We have now entered a period of energy surplus where we produce energy from “unconventional sources” using technological breakthroughs like horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in places like North Dakota, south Texas, Lousiana, and Pennsylvannia. (and soon to be California?).<

See on blogs.scientificamerican.com

GE seeks to Clean up Fracking’s Dirty Water Problem

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GE has demonstrated technology aimed at addressing one of the biggest challenges with fracking: water pollution.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Concerns about water pollution and other environmental issues related to fracking have led some places, including France and New York State, to block the process. As fracking increases in dry areas and places that lack adequate treatment and disposal options, pressure to block it could grow.

“Water-treatment technology is going to become more and more critical as the industry moves forward,” says Amy Myers Jaffe, executive director of energy and sustainability at the University of California at Davis, and a new member of a GE environmental advisory board. She says the continued use of fracking depends on the “industry getting its act together to do it in an environmentally sustainable way.”

Better water-treatment options could change the way oil and gas producers operate by making it economical to treat water at fracking sites instead of trucking it long distances to large water-treatment facilities or disposal wells. The technology is specifically targeted to places such as the Marcellus shale, one of the largest sources of shale gas in the U.S., where wastewater is far too salty for existing on-site treatment options (see “Can Fracking Be Cleaned Up?” and “Using Ozone to Clean Up Fracking”).

Each fracking well can require two to five million gallons of fresh water, which is pumped underground at high pressure to fracture rock and release trapped oil and gas. Much of that water flows back out, carrying with it the toxic chemicals used to aid the fracking process, as well as toxic materials flushed from the fractured rock.

Producers currently reuse much of that water, but that involves first storing it in artificial ponds, which can leak, and then diluting it, a step that consumes millions of gallons of fresh water. Eventually they can’t reuse the water any more so they need to ship it, often over long distances, to specialized treatment and disposal locations. Transporting the wastewater is expensive, and it comes with a risk of spills. At disposal sites, the wastewater is injected deep underground in a process that can cause earthquakes.

The new technology would make it unnecessary to dilute the wastewater, or transport it for treatment or disposal. […]<

See on www.technologyreview.com

State’s First Fracking Regulation Will Go Into Effect Next Year

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By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept 20 (Reuters) – California’s first regulations on fracking and related oil production practices will go into effect next year in the most populous U.S.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>State Senator Fran Pavely, a Democrat who represents the Los Angeles suburb of Agoura Hills and was the author of the new law, said the regulations would stop oil companies from fracking in the state without full disclosure of their methods.

“Oil companies will not be allowed to frack or acidize in California unless they test the groundwater, notify neighbors and list each and every chemical on the Internet,” Pavely said. “This is a first step toward greater transparency, accountability and protection of the public and the environment.”

Opposing the measure along with the environmentalists was the oil industry, which said the new law could make it difficult for California to reap the benefits offered by development of the Monterey Shale, including thousands of new jobs, increased tax revenue, and higher incomes for residents.

The law “could create conditions that will make it difficult to continue to provide a reliable supply of domestic petroleum energy for California,” said Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western State Petroleum Association, which represents oil companies in California.<

See on www.huffingtonpost.com

Supply of Renewable Wind Power Surges in Texas with some Plant Closures

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Market Upheaval In the U.S., hydraulic fracturing techniques used to drill shale have produced a flood of cheap natural gas. That, combined with the growth in wind and tepid customer demand, is upending power markets, leading to plant closures and bankruptcy for some generator owners.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Traditional power companies across the U.S. and Europe are struggling to compete in wholesale markets with newer generators supplying subsidized wind and solar energy. In Texas, wind has more than doubled in the past six years and now makes up 13 percent of the state’s generation capacity.[…]

Falling Prices – Electricity prices for 2014 also have fallen. The on-peak North Texas power price for next year has dropped 19 percent since reaching a peak on May 23, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

During a heat wave in the first week of August, ample wind supplies served to keep a lid on prices that would’ve normally spiked from the higher demand, NRG Chief Executive Officer David Crane said during a call with investors on Aug. 9. “Wind energy reduces electricity prices and that is good for consumers,” said Michael Goggin, an analyst for the American Wind Energy Association, an industry trade group. “Wind energy has no fuel costs, allowing it to replace more expensive and polluting sources of energy.”

Once complete, Oncor’s power lines will be part of a system that can eventually deliver about 18,500 megawatts of wind power, nearly double the amount now available in Texas and 25 percent of the state’s current generation capacity.<

See on www.renewableenergyworld.com