Gasland, Part II
Posted: 08 July 2013 07:33 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Recommended watching.

This is a follow up to the movie Gasland (about Fracking)

Gasland Part II (currently showing on HBO)

I just watched it and it is a revelation and more than scary.

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Posted: 09 July 2013 12:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I was involved in fracking in the oil fields over forty years ago. Very common and it is only used in certain oil fields. I never heard of it being use near the water table until just a few years back. That is totally nuts and wrong in many ways. We used fracking to create cracks, then we would pump acid to dissolve the cracks so oil would flow. Once the oil is removed and the well is abandoned then the hole will close itself naturally. But we always cemented the top 300 feet because there was not enough ground pressure to naturally close the hole. Any wells less than 3,000 ft should not be frackered. There is a new method where they fracker by pumping fine sand under high pressure. Fracking back then was controlled by State Laws. The reason they use fracking is because they are trying to get more oil out of existing wells that already have the permits and wells in place. I see it as a sign we are starting to run out of oil.

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Posted: 09 July 2013 12:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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MikeYohe - 09 July 2013 12:14 AM

I was involved in fracking in the oil fields over forty years ago. Very common and it is only used in certain oil fields. I never heard of it being use near the water table until just a few years back. That is totally nuts and wrong in many ways. We used fracking to create cracks, then we would pump acid to dissolve the cracks so oil would flow. Once the oil is removed and the well is abandoned then the hole will close itself naturally. But we always cemented the top 300 feet because there was not enough ground pressure to naturally close the hole. Any wells less than 3,000 ft should not be frackered. There is a new method where they fracker by pumping fine sand under high pressure. Fracking back then was controlled by State Laws. The reason they use fracking is because they are trying to get more oil out of existing wells that already have the permits and wells in place. I see it as a sign we are starting to run out of oil.

I agree and I am glad to hear that newer methods are being tried but,

After watching the film and a little research showing the true scope of this extraction method, I must conclude that if anything, the movie understates the global implications of this NOW primary method of extracting fossil resources from the ground.

Regulations

As of 2012, fracking is exempt from seven major federal regulations:[8]

The Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, due to the “Halliburton loophole” pushed through by former Vice-President/former Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney, exempting corporations from revealing the chemicals used in fracking fluid;
the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which exempts fracking from federal regulations pertaining to hazardous waste;
the Superfund law, which requires that polluters remediate for carcinogens like benzene released into the environment, except if they come from oil or gas;
the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act;
the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act;
the National Environmental Policy Act; and
the Toxic Release Inventory under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Fracking
and the focus of the film,
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Pennsylvania_and_fracking

and a related article
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Fracking_and_air_pollution

It just occurred to me that if BP had claimed the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was a result of fracking today, they would be exempt from clean-up and economic damages. Go figure.

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Posted: 18 July 2013 11:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Is anybody talking about the amount of fresh water they are making unusable? In Michigan they are obligated to dispose of the flowback water in deep injection wells. 12,000 wells fracked in Michigan in the last 50 years and an average of 3 to 8 million gallons of water used over the lifetime of a well.  Add another 50 or 100 years.  It adds up.

I asked an industry spokesman if this could be considered OK?  He said sure, because for every gallon of methane burned, two gallons of water resulted.  Of course that binds up some oxygen.  And then I suppose they use the new water to frack some more.

But hey, if it were a problem the Government would put a stop to it.

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Posted: 18 July 2013 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The industry spokesman was giving you a snow-job.  We have plenty of water so an additional gallon isn’t going to mean much at all.  However, burning a gallon of methane (CH4) uses up a great deal of atmospheric oxygen and dumps a large amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which will contribute to global warming.

And the water produced will be vapor which will quite likely condense as rain over the ocean where it’ll never have any effect. 

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Posted: 18 July 2013 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Fracking is wrong in many oil fields and ok in others.

Having worked a little in the field I do not think Halliburton, would harm the ground water. Every well except wildcatting in the Rockies’ I would have a company geologist on site with the drilling log which would have every formation almost down to the inch. Surface pipe, called casing would be set well past any fresh water and cemented in.

But what I see is the problem for fracking is the States themselves are the weak link in the process.

The states give power to people who have nothing at risk and have the authority to control the process is the real problem that I see.

Example, back in 1969 I was drilling offshore in Southern California and just up the coast an offshore rig near Santa Barbara had a blowout and a big oil spill.

The oil company was blamed, laws were changed. But I know that the problem was never fixed.

The cementing of the casing was not proper type and mixture. The cementing is not controlled by the oil company; it is controlled by a state geologist and the State of California.

Kind of like what we have going on at the IRS today, who’s in charge and who was making the decisions? Congress can’t even find out.

Then you have to question the areas that are having problems. Pennsylvania has had oil in ground water since the early 1900’s, so the only sure way of knowing is a chemical test. 

I suspect Halliburton’s exemptions were not to be able to pollute, but to protect the company from pollution that would happen by following the state processes.

Think of it like there are two new airplanes on the runway and this will be their first time off the ground. One built by the state college and the other built by Boeing. You have to get on one, which one do you want to get on?

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Posted: 18 July 2013 03:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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A little story to add, Fracking is all about the geology.

State of California geologist vs. company geologist.

In 1976 Hughes Bit was training me as a company representative for Imperial Valley located in desert near Mexico in Southern California. The government had passed tax breaks for energy investments and Imperial Valley is a major geothermal hot spot in America and there was investment money to build huge power plants to supply electricity to San Diego and Los Angeles. 

State geologist shut down the drilling because they claimed the drilling was causing earthquakes. I kid you not. They claimed their new equipment showed the drilling was causing earthquakes. It made the papers and TV.

I talked to the oil field geologist and they told me that what the State was reading was micro earthquakes that are happening all the time. The oil field geologist told me that he had been able to pick up storm waves hitting the beach in Washington State with equipment in Idaho. 

I ask why they didn’t tell the State geologist what was going on so that we could all get to work. They said they did and the State did not believe them. So they ask the State geologist to setup their equipment in any spot in the world where they thought there is no ground movement and that they would pick up the same earthquakes with their new equipment.

The State geologist did, Texas was the place they chose and they found the same micro earthquakes. It did not make TV. But three years had passed by then and the investment money was not on the table anymore.

There were a couple of drilling operations that were still going to move forward so Hugh told me to get ready for work. But that did not work out. Because one of the outfits opened up a lawsuit claiming geothermal was a mineral and the drilling companies did not have the mineral rights.

The Supreme Court ruled several years latter that geothermal was not a mineral, it was hot water.

There are a couple geothermal power operations that got going and are still operating today in the Valley.

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Posted: 18 July 2013 06:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Quoting Mikeyohe:

Think of it like there are two new airplanes on the runway and this will be their first time off the ground. One built by the state college and the other built by Boeing. You have to get on one, which one do you want to get on?

  Seeing all the trouble Boeing has had with their aircraft recently, I think I’d rather take the train. LOL

There seem to be two areas of concern.  1. Some government regulators aren’t too competent.  2. Most industry representatives have profit motives which are very important to them.  One way of compensating is to have very strong public oversight and input.

Occam

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Posted: 18 July 2013 06:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Occam,
I agree.

Some years latter I was using a top geologist who was highly respected and used by the oil field companies who was also a professor at the state college in California for a gold mining operation in Mexico. It would have been nice if they had that type of professionalism years earlier and America could have had one large geothermal operation.
One of the problems I am seeing is it varies by department. The Bullet Train from Las Vegas to Los Angeles involves Nevada and California. Nevada has the biggest part of theirs done. California is still doing environmental studies. It has been twenty-six years now in the permit stage.

It helps when all parties have some thing at risk. Sharecropping works great for farming and profit sharing works for companies.

In the Facking the report took from 2004 to 2009. That seem to work good for the government but it is a business killer for companies.

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Posted: 19 July 2013 07:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Occam. - 18 July 2013 12:49 PM

Occam - “The industry spokesman was giving you a snow-job.  We have plenty of water so an additional gallon isn’t going to mean much at all.  However, burning a gallon of methane (CH4) uses up a great deal of atmospheric oxygen and dumps a large amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which will contribute to global warming. “

Yes, but as for plenty of fresh water to permanently waste, how’s it look a thousand years from now?

Though, I suppose we will have “run the thing into the ground” long before that.

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Posted: 19 July 2013 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Brmckay,
Occam is right; Mother Nature can easily replace a billion gallons of water.
The problem is pollution.
A few hundred years ago what we call surface water was drinkable. All hand dug wells were surface water wells. Any water in the top twenty feet is surface water and by state law you can not use that water for drinking. Because most of it is polluted. 
Even natural spring water you buy in the store today is only 2% spring water and the state allows that for safety reasons.

If the states do not get a handle on the fracking then their most valuable resource may be gone.

It would be simple to fix.
Set up an insurance fund like Workmen’s Compensation Fund. If an employee is hurt, he will heal no matter the cost for life. The Fracking Fund then would make dam sure the Fracking was done right or pay the cost to fix. In other words, this is too big of a deal to trust to State and Federal departments so let the big insurance companies oversee the risk, they are much more capable of protecting the water supply.

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Posted: 20 July 2013 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Mike Yohe,

As a practical solution, I like your “Fracking Fund”.  However, it’s only because I have no power to change the ecological mentality of the my fellow humans and their corporate overlords.

Just like reintroducing untold quantities of previously sequestered carbon back into the active ecosphere will certainly change our experience.  So, sequestering potable water from it will affect us.

The more out of balance we get the larger the effect.

To what degree are we still acting unconsciously?  Without wisdom?

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Posted: 21 July 2013 12:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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It seems to fall under the exponential function.

Where I see the greatest problem is the horizontal drilling and fracking.  Instead of one vertical hole down with little impact on the immediate surroundings and aquifers, wells now cover hundreds if not thousands of acres, with an ever spreading impact on the environment and populations.

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Posted: 21 July 2013 08:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Horizontal drilling is outlawed for water wells in most states. Only deeper holes are horizontal drilled, like offshore wells where you might drill down six thousand feet and turn into the oil bearing formation a couple thousand feet lower and horizontally drill into it as to increase the length of the production hole in the load bearing formation.

Very shallow wells in some eastern states and at a couple locations in Texas can be horizontally drilled because they are close to the surface. Some water well drilling rigs are designed to horizontal drill at the surface, oil rigs are not. Those small wells would have to use a water well drilling rig. Which most do not go more that one thousand feet and are not setup for any high pressure drilling.

As far as impact on populations, the toughest oil field I ever worked was in Los Angeles. There might be a skyscraper sitting were you want to drill. So you have to setup maybe ten blocks away and then drill to the location. You can only drill where you have permits, and that may be down alleys and streets to reach the building. The right angle turns are done by twisting the hole as you are drilling down. Los Angeles, Long Beach, Huntington Beach and many more towns in that area are major California oil field locations. That is why there are oil refineries in the area. Fracking was standard operation when I first drill there 43 years ago.

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Posted: 05 August 2013 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Occam. - 18 July 2013 06:04 PM

One way of compensating is to have very strong public oversight and input.

Occam


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as they say
cool smirk


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MikeYohe, thanks for those bits of insider information, interesting posts…
I’ll have to check out Gasland 2 once it’s available.

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Posted: 05 August 2013 09:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Swift is getting ready to do some exploratory work in my “neighborhood” -

I’m not knee-jerk against it, {as some might suspect}
earlier in the summer I did a bunch of reading, and if you could believe all the oil companies write
It seems reasonable - I do see where some “environmentalist” don’t seem to understand
what they are talking about, so I’m not buying everything my friends are touting. 
Besides, the legit issues are serious enough on their own.

But, trusting the good faith of oil companies. . . is a very big IF…
Jeez with their obsession on maximizing profits, minimizing expenses, ignoring “externalities”, etc.
when push comes to shove - they so often place local and biosphere interests last -
and allow really dumb (and destructive) things to happen, out of neglect and disconnect from Earth systems.


For - now I’m watching and listening.

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