Oil Well Waste Water Used to Generate Geothermal Power

The team took off-the-shelf geothermal generators and hooked them to pipes carrying boiling waste water. They’re set to flip the switch any day. When they do, large pumps will drive the steaming water through the generators housed in 40-foot (12-meter) containers, producing electricity that could either be used on site or hooked up to power lines and sold to the electricity grid.

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

>”Oil fracking companies seeking to improve their image and pull in a little extra cash are turning their waste water into clean geothermal power.

For every barrel of oil produced from a well, there’s another seven of water, much of it boiling hot. Instead of letting it go to waste, some companies are planning to harness that heat to make electricity they can sell to the grid.

Companies such as Continental Resources Inc. and Hungary’s MOL Group are getting ready to test systems that pump scalding-hot water through equipment that uses the heat to turn electricity-generating turbines before forcing it back underground to coax out more crude.

Though the technology has yet to be applied broadly, early results are promising. And if widely adopted, the environmental and financial benefits could be significant. Drillers in the U.S. process 25 billion gallons (95 billion liters) of water annually, enough to generate as much electricity as three coal-fired plants running around the clock — without carbon emissions.

“We can have distributed power throughout the oil patch,” said Will Gosnold, a researcher at the University of North Dakota who’s leading Continental Resources’ project well.

Geothermal power also holds out the promise of boosting frackers’ green credentials after years of criticism for being the industry’s worst polluters, says Lorne Stockman, research director at Oil Change International, an environmental organization that promotes non-fossil fuel energy.

“This is one way to make it look like the industry cares about the carbon issue,” he said. Even if steam generates less carbon than other oil field power sources, “if you’re in the business of oil and gas, you’re not part of the solution.”

Cheap Oil

Then there’s the money. With crude at less than $50 a barrel, every little bit can help lower costs. At projects like the one being tested by Continental Resources in North Dakota, a 250 kilowatt geothermal generator has the potential to contribute an extra $100,000 annually per well, according to estimates from the U.S. Energy Department.

That’s not big money and the $3.4 million cost to test the technology is still too much to apply to each of Continental’s hundreds of wells. Yet if the company can lower the costs of the technology, it will not only generate electricity it will also extend the economic life of wells, making them more profitable, said Greg Rowe, a production manager with Continental Resources. […]”<

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IMF Reports Global Energy Subsidies are Unmanageable, Inefficient and Reinforce Inequality

A new report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged policymakers the world over to reform subsidies for products from coal to gasoline, arguing that this could translate into major gains both for economic growth and the environment.

Image Source:  http://bit.ly/1LO0yQb

Source: www.imf.org

>” […] In a speech at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington D.C., marking the release of the paper, IMF First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton noted that “subsidy reform can lead to a more efficient allocation of resources, which will help spur higher economic growth over the longer term.” Removing energy subsidies can also strengthen incentives for “research and development in energy-saving and alternative technologies,” he said. He also noted that, while intended to benefit consumers, subsidies are often inefficient and “could be replaced with better means of protecting the most vulnerable parts of the population.”

“The paper shows that for some countries the fiscal weight of energy subsidies is growing so large that budget deficits are becoming unmanageable and threaten the stability of the economy,” Mr. Lipton said, adding that IMF research shows that 20 countries maintain pre-tax energy subsidies that exceed 5 percent of GDP. For other emerging and developing countries, he said, the share of the scarce government resources spent on subsidies remains “a stumbling block” to higher growth and fundamentally impairs their future. “Because of low prices, there is little investment in much-needed infrastructure. More is spent on subsidies than on public health and education, undermining the development of human capital.”

Energy subsidies also reinforce inequality because they mostly benefit upper-income groups, which are the biggest consumers of energy. “On average, the richest 20 percent of households in low- and middle-income countries capture 43 percent of fuel subsidies,” said Mr. Lipton.

At the same time, Mr. Lipton warned that an increase in prices which can result from subsidy reform can have a significant impact on the poor and that “mitigating measures to protect them as subsidy reform is implemented” must be an integral part of any successful and equitable reform program.

In addition, Mr. Lipton noted that “subsidies aggravate climate change and worsen local pollution and congestion.” The study finds that eliminating pre-tax subsidies would reduce global CO2 emissions by about 1-2 percent which would, by itself, represent “a significant first step in reducing emissions by delivering about 15-30 percent of the Copenhagen Accord’s goal.” As for advanced economies, he noted that subsidies most often take the form of taxes that are too low to capture the true costs to society of energy use (“tax subsidies”), including pollution and road congestion. “Eliminating energy tax subsidies would deliver even more significant emissions reductions said Mr. Lipton, reducing “CO2 emissions by 4.5 billion tons, a 13 percent reduction.” […]”<

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The Hidden Costs of Fossil Fuel Dependency

It is estimated that 80 to 85 percent of the energy consumed in the U.S. is from fossil fuels. One of the main reasons given for continuing to use this energy source is that it is much less expensive than alternatives. The true cost, however, depends on what you include in the calculation, and there are so many costs not figured in the bills we pay for energy.

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

>” […] Just last week, on May 19, a pipeline rupture caused over 100,000 gallons to spill into Santa Barbara waters. The channel where the spill occurred is where warm water from the south mixes with cold water from the north, creating one of most bio-diverse habitats in the world, with over 800 species of sea creatures, from crabs and snails to sea lions and otters, and a forest of kelp and other undersea plants; it’s also a place through which 19,000 gray whales migrate this time each year. […]

Hidden Costs of Using Fossil Fuels for Energy

It is estimated that 80 to 85 percent of the energy consumed in the U.S. is from fossil fuels. One of the main reasons given for continuing to use this energy source is that it is much less expensive than alternatives. The true cost, however, depends on what you include in the calculation. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, there are so many costs not figured in the bills we pay for energy. The following includes just some of them:

  1. Human health problems caused by environmental pollution.
  2. Damage to the food chain from toxins absorbed and passed along.
  3. Damage to miners and energy workers.
  4. Damage to the earth from coal mining and fracking.
  5. Global warming caused by greenhouse gasses.
  6. Acid rain and groundwater pollution.
  7. National security costs from protecting oil sources and from terrorism (some of which is financed by oil revenues).

Additional Costs From Continued Subsidies

That’s not all. In addition to the above costs, each and every U.S. taxpayer has been subsidizing the oil industry since 1916, when the oil depletion allowance was instituted. Government subsidies in the U.S. are estimated to be between $4 billion and $52 billion annually. The worldwide figure is pegged between $775 billion and $1 trillion. Why don’t oil and gas companies and governments around the world divert at least some of these subsidies to invest in alternative clean energy sources? Rather than invest in the depleting and damaging energy sources of the past, isn’t it time to look to the future and stop “kicking the can down the road”?

More Hidden Costs

While some call it an urban legend, others say quite emphatically that the oil industry conspired with the automobile industry and other vested interests to put streetcars out of business so that people would be forced to use automobiles and buses to get from point A to B — selling more automobiles, tires, fuel, insurance, etc. Fact or fiction, many big cities (and especially Los Angeles, where alternatives are sparse) are choking from traffic gridlock. The first study on this subject determined that traffic congestion robbed the U.S. economy of $124 billion in 2013. That’s an annual cost of $1,700 per household. This is expected to waste $2.8 trillion by 2030 if we do not take immediate measures to reverse the situation. For those who are skeptical, visit Los Angeles and try to drive around. Even with Waze, much more time and energy is wasted sitting in traffic than you could ever imagine. A commute that formerly took five to 10 minutes can now take upwards of an hour.

There Is a Solution

The solution to many of the problems related to gridlock, damage to the environment and human health includes the following:

  1. Clean energy and storage. […]
  2. More effective and efficient transportation (clean and safe mass transit […]
  3. Better marketing of, and accounting for, the true cost of the alternatives.
  4. Investment to do it.
  5. Political vision and will to transparently tell the truth and make the investment.

Doing the Right Thing Is Rarely Easy

While what is most worthwhile is rarely easy, it is necessary for the planet and living things that call it home.  […]”<

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Will Falling oil prices cause oil sands shut-downs in Alberta?

Alberta Premier Jim Prentice says his province’s oil companies are not facing closures, even as prices approach $70 a barrel.

Source: www.ctvnews.ca

>””We don’t see oilsands operations shutting down,” Prentice told CTV’s Question Period in an interview that aired Sunday. “These are massive capital investments that have been built on a 50-year time horizon.”

Crude oil prices have dramatically fallen since June, when prices reached this year’s high of $107.54 USD per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil. On Friday, WTI oil was about $75.70 per barrel.

[…]

The report said falling oil prices have been caused by large supply, low demand, and strong U.S. dollar. In order for the price to stabilize, “further oil price drops would likely be needed for supply to take a hit — or for demand growth to get a lift,” it said.

Analysts suggest that once prices fall below $72 a barrel, companies will begin to face serious financial consequences, and that some may be forced to close. But Prentice said Albertan oilsands companies are expected to survive the continuing drop in prices, even if they reach that $72 threshold.

Conservative Alberta MP Kevin Sorenson, the minister of state for finance, disagrees, saying falling oil prices could hurt employment numbers.

“We know that if oil prices continue to fall … in the long term that’s going to be very difficult,” Sorenson told Question Period. “It’s not so much that $70 is the plateau, but if it continued to fall, we could expect that there would be job losses.”

Though Prentice was more optimistic about the “resilience” of Albertan companies, he also said falling prices are cause for concern.

“I don’t want to underestimate the importance of this. The low-price environment has a significant implication for all of us,” Prentice said.

The premier said new projects may need to be postponed, and that the Albertan government must be prepared to control spending and budgeting.

According to the Alberta government’s budget website, if oil prices drop even $1 per barrel over 12 months, it can result in more than $200 million less in revenue for the province.

[…]

But Alberta’s provincial government factors all these variables into their economic forecasts.

“People need to be aware it’s a time for fiscal prudence. It’s a time for caution,” Prentice said Sunday. “And it’s a time to control what we can control, which is our public expenditures.” “<

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/falling-oil-prices-won-t-cause-shut-downs-in-alberta-prentice-1.2104374#ixzz3JXBPxTA3

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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

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.<

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Drilling Companies Cheating Landowners and Government Out of Royalty Payments

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Don Feusner ran dairy cattle on his 370-acre slice of northern Pennsylvania until he could no longer turn a profit by farming.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Like every landowner who signs a lease agreement to allow a drilling company to take resources off his land, Feusner is owed a cut of what is produced, called a royalty.

In 1982, in a landmark effort to keep people from being fleeced by the oil industry, the federal government passed a law establishing that royalty payments to landowners would be no less than 12.5 percent of the oil and gas sales from their leases.

From Pennsylvania to North Dakota, a powerful argument for allowing extensive new drilling has been that royalty payments would enrich local landowners, lifting the economies of heartland and rural America. The boom was also supposed to fill the government’s coffers, since roughly 30 percent of the nation’s drilling takes place on federal land.

Over the last decade, an untold number of leases were signed, and hundreds of thousands of wells have been sunk into new energy deposits across the country.

But manipulation of costs and other data by oil companies is keeping billions of dollars in royalties out of the hands of private and government landholders, an investigation by ProPublica has found.

An analysis of lease agreements, government documents and thousands of pages of court records shows that such underpayments are widespread. Thousands of landowners like Feusner are receiving far less than they expected based on the sales value of gas or oil produced on their property. In some cases, they are being paid virtually nothing at all.

In many cases, lawyers and auditors who specialize in production accounting tell ProPublica energy companies are using complex accounting and business arrangements to skim profits off the sale of resources and increase the expenses charged to landowners.<

See on insideclimatenews.org

UK offers Big Tax Breaks for Shale Gas Fracking

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Chancellor George Osborne has said that the Treasury will go ahead with the most generous tax regime for shale gas in the world.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>In the North Sea oil and gas exploration has received tax breaks along the same lines. This has brought about a renewed interest in this field, which is both technically very difficult and rather expensive. The tax allowance will see a huge relief for fracking, with a portion of each production sites income taxation going to a level of 30% in place of the 62% currently levied.

The British Geological Society has said that shale gas in northern England alone could be as high as 1,300 trillion cubic feet and just 10% of that would meet Britain’s needs for more than 40 years.

Water UK, a representative of Britain’s biggest water suppliers has voiced fears that large quantities of water needed for fracking would stretch water supplies very thinly in the areas earmarked for fracking sites, and there is a concern of contamination of water supplies with chemical waste and methane gas. Water UK said that damage could be done to the existing water pipe infrastructure with resultant shortages for home and business use.

Fracking companies say that lengthy waiting periods for environmental permission to begin fracking are a major concern, and Ministers have said they will endeavour to minimise the waiting period from over three months to under two weeks. Public support for shale gas exploration is low.<

See on www.pcmswitch.co.uk

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

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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

Alliance Pipeline partners with GE to turn waste heat into energy

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Whitecourt project is a first for the Calgary-based pipeline company

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

 The Whitecourt Recovered Energy Project captures exhaust heat from Alliance’s compressor stations northwest of Edmonton. The heat is transferred into a closed loop system and powers one of three 40,000-horsepower gas turbines at the site. The power system creates 14 megawatts of baseload electricity. It is expected to be tied into the provincial power grid in May 2013.

See on www.albertaoilmagazine.com