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

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

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

GE seeks to Clean up Fracking’s Dirty Water Problem

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

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

BP battles for billions in latest Gulf Oil Spill pollution trial

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

HOUSTON/LONDON (Reuters) – BP will battle to hold down fines that could hit $18 billion in a new phase of the Gulf of Mexico trial that will rule on how much oil it spilled in 2010 and judge its efforts…

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>POLLUTION FINES

BP says 3.26 million barrels leaked from the well during the nearly three months it took to cap the blowout at the Deepwater Horizon rig; the U.S. government says it was 4.9 million. Both those totals include 810,000 barrels that were collected during clean-up and which Barbier has agreed to exclude.

This month, BP’s lawyers questioned the government’s figure. “United States experts employ unproven methods that require significant assumptions and extrapolations in lieu of … available data and other evidence,” they said in a filing.

They have also sought to convince Barbier that if the company is to be found guilty, it should amount to only “negligence” and not “gross negligence” – a crucial distinction since the latter carries much higher maximum penalties.

Under the Clean Water Act, negligence can be punished with a maximum fine of $1,100 for each barrel of oil spilled; a gross negligence verdict carries a potential $4,300 per barrel fine.

If the court judged the spill to have been 4.09 million barrels – the government estimate less oil recovered – the price of negligence could reach $4.5 billion. Gross negligence, in the costliest scenario, could run to $17.6 billion.<

See on www.reuters.com

UK Energy Minister defends fracking comments

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

Energy minister Michael Fallon defends comments about fracking, in which he appeared to suggest the process would affect those living near drilling sites.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Mr Fallon said fracking would only be allowed if “absolutely safe”.

In an exchange with the BBC Mr Fallon confirmed he had made the remarks but said the newspaper report had “completely misconstrued a light hearted remark”.

He said “no fracking will be allowed in the Weald unless it is absolutely safe and the environment is fully protected”.

[…]

But demonstrators from across the UK have gathered in the area saying they fear test drilling could lead to the search for shale gas and fracking at the site.

In a separate development, Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan revealed he had received an anonymous email saying the company would receive “pipe bombs delivered by express mail to its premises” unless the company ceased its activities in the UK.

“Fracking kills and so do we,” the message said.<

See on www.bbc.co.uk

Bakken Oil: North Dakota flaring burns 4 times Total National Consumption (2011 figure)

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil drillers in North Dakota’s Bakken shale fields are allowing nearly a third of the natural gas they drill to burn off into the air, with a value of more than $100 million per month,…

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

An alarming state of affairs.  As per the article the flared Natural gas in North Dakota is reported to be 266,000,000,000 cfd (cubic feet per day) flared methane or 2750 x 10(9) cu m/year.

According to Wiki the 2011 US annual consumption for natural gas was 689.9 x 10(9) cu m, so apparently Bakken is actually burning 4 times the total 2011 national requirements.

>Roughly 29 percent of natural gas extracted in North Dakota was flared in May, down from an all-time high of 36 percent in September 2011. But the volume of natural gas produced has nearly tripled in that timeframe to about 900,000 million cubic feet per day, boosting flaring in the state to roughly 266,000 million cubic feet per day, according to North Dakota state and Ceres data.<

See on www.reuters.com

Colorado’s oil and gas boom is polluting the state’s air

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

Drillers pump 600 tons of air pollution over Colorado every day, and three-quarters of the state’s air pollution enforcement cases are linked to drilling.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The 50,000 oil and gas wells in the state are collectively pumping hundreds of tons of pollution into the air every day, making the drilling industry the state’s largest source of airborne volatile organic compounds and third-largest source of nitrogen oxides. That’s according to a report in The Denver Post: […]<

See on grist.org

Refinery woes cause nationwide gas price spike

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

Troubles at several oil refineries are driving gasoline prices sharply higher in the Midwest, and the regional shortages are expected to boost the cost of gasoline higher nationwide.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>While the USA may be dripping in new found crude oil deposits and early May supplies were at their highest levels since the early 1930s, issues at a handful of refineries that turn crude into gasoline and diesel fuel underscore how kinks in the supply chain can cause quick surges in what consumers pay at the pump.<

See on www.usatoday.com

What Will Be the Next Technological Breakthrough in Energy?

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

What technological breakthrough is most likely in the next 10 years that could completely change the energy equation as we now see it?

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

Jeffrey Ball: Information Technologies to Increase Efficiency, and Solar Power Seem Promising

Predicting new-energy technological breakthroughs tends to be a fool’s errand. A decade ago, few envisioned the breakthrough that has most rocked the U.S. energy world: the one-two punch of fracking and horizontal drilling that has unlocked huge stores of shale gas from California to New York.

Right now, two broad areas of new energy technology seem particularly promising: information technologies that could spur major energy-efficiency improvements; and cheaper and more-reliable solar power. […]

Study after study has pegged energy efficiency as the lowest-cost way to curb fossil-fuel consumption and the resulting greenhouse-gas emissions. The problem has been figuring out how to unlock those efficiency improvements in the real world. Today, creative minds are at work developing electronic systems to track and display the energy use of institutional and individual consumers in ways that could make those users much more conscious both about how much energy they consume and about precisely what they could do to cost-effectively consume less. More information, in short, could equal less power.

See on online.wsj.com

Historic Energy Decisions in U.S. and Canada | The Energy Collective

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

Renewable energy in the U.S. and Canada will rise while the consumption of fossil fuels lessens.Wishful thinking by some people to the contrary, fossil fuels are here to stay for at least the next 30-40 years. In North America this timeframe will be an era of transition as the proportion of renewable energy in the U.S. and Canada will rise while the consumption of fossil fuels lessens.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

The increase in U.S. oil production is the result of advances in non-traditional drilling technologies, including oil hydrofracking […].  For its natural gas production, the U.S. is in the throes of a hydrofracking frenzy, producing natural gas in unprecedented amounts. […]

The U.S. trend toward energy self sufficiency represents a precarious situation for Canada’s economic wellbeing since 95 percent of Canada’s energy exports (including hydroelectric power) today go to the U.S.  […]

See on theenergycollective.com

Renewable energy now cheaper than new fossil fuels in Australia | Bloomberg New Energy Finance

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

Sydney, 7 February 2013 – Unsubsidised renewable energy is now cheaper than electricity from new-build coal- and gas-fired power stations in Australia, according to new analysis from research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

[…] research on Australia shows that since 2011, the cost of wind generation has fallen by 10% and the cost of solar photovoltaics by 29%. In contrast, the cost of energy from new fossil-fuelled plants is high and rising. New coal is made expensive by high financing costs. […] New gas-fired generation is expensive as the massive expansion of Australia’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) export market forces local prices upwards. […]

[…] Australia’s fleet of coal-fired power stations built by state governments in the 1970s and 1980s can still produce power at lower cost than renewables, because their original construction cost has now been depreciated.

“New wind is cheaper than building new coal and gas, but cannot compete with old assets that have already been paid off,” Bhavnagri said. “For that reason policy support is still needed to put megawatts in the ground today and build up the skills and experience to de-carbonise the energy system in the long-term.”

See on about.bnef.com