Hydrofracking - are we nuts? (OT)

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golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 18, 2011 - 05:01pm PT
Frack!

I don't know enough about hydrofracturing to get oil out of the ground to determine whether it is alright or not. But injecting chemicals into the ground to aid it? That is nuts.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/science/earth/17gas.html

WASHINGTON — Oil and gas companies injected hundreds of millions of gallons of hazardous or carcinogenic chemicals into wells in more than 13 states from 2005 to 2009, according to an investigation by Congressional Democrats.


Companies injected large amounts of other hazardous chemicals, including 11.4 million gallons of fluids containing at least one of the toxic or carcinogenic B.T.E.X. chemicals — benzene, toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene. The companies used the highest volume of fluids containing one or more carcinogens in Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas.

Millions of dollars have been spent remediating older leaking underground storage tanks used at gasoline stations. the primary contaminants were BTEX.

[url="http://www.egr.msu.edu/tosc/akron/factsheets/fs_btexpdf.pdf"]

http://www.egr.msu.edu/tosc/akron/factsheets/fs_btexpdf.pdf[/url]

hb81

climber
Apr 18, 2011 - 07:30pm PT
Find the movie / documentary "Gasland" which covers this subject.
Yes, it is nuts. It's nuts beyond belief actually.

trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZe1AeH0Qz8

Nohea

Trad climber
Sunny Aiea,Hi
Apr 18, 2011 - 07:52pm PT
http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/

Yea that is nuts, the doc used to be on HBO. In it a guy turns on his water faucet and lights it, and the flame stays.

I showed my seniors some of the resources on the website.

Studly

Trad climber
WA
Apr 18, 2011 - 09:31pm PT
The George W. Bush legacy.
Auto-X Fil

Mountain climber
Apr 18, 2011 - 10:25pm PT
I live in PA, right in the center of a shale formation being fracked right now. There are two sides to every story.

Gasland is utter sensationalist bullsh#t. I can't even start a conversation with it because every single facet is twisted to be inflammatory.

People are in an uproar becuase they are injecting diesel fuel in places with the frack water. Where do you think the diesel came from?! The fact that the aquifer is 100 feet down and the gas is 5,000 feet down seems to go over the heads of many folks.

I've seen wells lit on fire around here for decades before the gas companies showed up. The natural gas is, well, natural. It's been in the water here for as long as people have been drilling water wells.

There are some companies doing a lousy job. Cabot Oil and Gas seems to have an environmental policy along the lines of "it's better to ask forgiveness than permission".

Forunately, they seem to be in the minority. Overall it seems to be a fairly low-impact means of feeding our fossil fuel habit. I think the debate on the sources of and issues with that habit belong elsewhere. But accepting that it's going to come from somewhere, even with all this occurring in my back yard, I'm not crying NIMBY.
weschrist

Gym climber
left sac
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:47am PT
Sh#t BASE104, that was LOOOOOOONG... but I read most of it. I don't do much of that kind of field work, but I sure love me the modeling side of it all.

Any idear what the formation they drill in the Red River Gorge is? After my last trip I've been meaning to look into that for the sake of curiosity. Not a lot of seepage from the sandstone... most likely due to the bomber iron oxide cement I suspect. I also suspect the cement is a result of shallow subsurface groundwater, but I would like to know for sure. Give me a push in the right direction... some formation names?

Certain crags, when the wind is just right, you get a pretty nauseating whif... and the "oil stained" walls are kind of cool.
Nohea

Trad climber
Sunny Aiea,Hi
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:57am PT
Thanks Base, I had to copy/paste to read tomorrow but when I did show my seniors this, I said as I always do "this is one side of the story, what is the other?" SO Thanks, I got some reading to do!

Aloha,
will
stich

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:33am PT
Nice work, Base.
Delhi Dog

climber
Good Question...
Apr 19, 2011 - 07:31am PT
Base-thanks,
I always appreciate your perspective on things.

Actually I DID read all you wrote, and well... a lot went right by me but I did get the jist of it-thanks again, interesting stuff...

Cheers,
DD
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
How do you like my new weather gear?
Apr 19, 2011 - 07:41am PT
That's gold, Base, GOLD!

DMT
Hankster

Social climber
BASE!
Apr 19, 2011 - 09:45am PT
BASE FOR YOUR FACE!!!!!! Thank you very much.

BASE637
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
Apr 19, 2011 - 10:25am PT
OP - Yeah, its never a good idea.

No matter how the PR campaigns paint it, if you take a look at what they have done around the country already, you will come to the conclusion that fracking is not good for any human being, or animal.

Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
How do you like my new weather gear?
Apr 19, 2011 - 11:07am PT
You gotta admit... hydrofracking is cool nomenclature.

DMT
Studly

Trad climber
WA
Apr 19, 2011 - 11:10am PT
What happens what the casing/plugs corrode away? Maybe not within our lifetime, but doesn't that allow the deep water/chemicals to well up and mix with ground water?
locker

Social climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 11:19am PT


Pretty SURE that history PROVES that MANY things we THINK (or are TOLD) are safe...

Turn out to be NOT SO SAFE...

"the jury is STILL out" on this one, in MY book...
Bullwinkle

Boulder climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:32pm PT
It's great to know that Big Oil is so concerned with our safety and health, just as Big Tabacco was certain that smoking doesn't cause Cancer. . .
locker

Social climber
Apr 19, 2011 - 12:36pm PT


BINGO!!!...

weschrist

Gym climber
left sac
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:22pm PT
but doesn't that allow the deep water/chemicals to well up and mix with ground water?

Like the difference between positive sexual exploration and torture... it all depends on pressure.


BTW, if any Geologist or Geophysicist tells you they know exactly what is going on hundreds of feet below the surface, feel free to call them a liar. Multiphase fluid flow (water, oil, gas) is some pretty wild stuff... non-linearities result from partial saturation with respect to each phase. Basically, the fluid flows at a different rate depending on the relative amount of each phase present. The way a reservoir behaves under fully water saturated conditions while hydrofracing is entirely different than how it behaves with an oil-gas mixture (non-linear and often unpredictable).

Each well is different and I suspect the biggest concern would be the distance and material between the groundwater resource and the petroleum resource. As far as the well structure goes, I'd say that have that pretty well taken care of. As far as the induced permeability structure and resulting fluid flow regime that results from the hydrofracing process, they have statistical guesses at best. The greater the distance between the petroleum and water, the better. The less permeable the material between the two, the better. If the material tends to form long, straight fractures (homogeneous unit, think Windgate sandstone) and the principle stress direction is vertical, you are more likely to bring that sh#t closer to the surface. How close... don't know... but if you penetrate the seal and it is under pressure it will keep flowing from high to low pressure (up).

Still, I suspect BASE104 is mostly correct... sh#t that is getting into the water is most likely not a result of the wells and probably not a result of the hydrofacing process either. Leaking underground fuel tanks (LUFTs) are a much bigger problem IMO.

Time to bust out Bear, 1990...
John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:38pm PT
Hi Base.. thanks for that explanation of drilling and fracking. That was cool. Can you help me understand something. The NY times article says they use chemicals in the process of fracking, including things like benzene, but you seem to say that they only use fresh water.

Maybe I misread this, but would you address the use of chemicals? It does appear to me that you are saying that ground water is being protected by all of these steps you explain, the cementing and such.. But could you expand on the use of chemicals? And what that article is saying.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:52pm PT
GasFrac - don't use BTEX/water mix...
weschrist

Gym climber
left sac
Apr 19, 2011 - 01:59pm PT
If you read above, there is no way to frac a zone 5000 to 12000 feet deep and have the fractures get anywhere near the surface. Just math.

They don't have to reach the surface... they just have to reach an overlying unit with hydraulic connection to the surface. Just subsurface hydrogeology... all hypothetical.

It isn't uncommon for groundwater aquifers to extend a couple thousand feet... leaving ~3000' of material between the petroleum and groundwater. If that 3000' is mostly permeable material, it isn't hard to imagine an induced fracture near the bottom leading to petroleum migrating upward. If the permeable material is filled with high density brine, the density gradient would accelerate the upward migration of petroleum.

I'm not arguing with you BASE104, just throwing sh#t out there because I think it is super cool.

I 100% agree, contamination from the surface is a much bigger issue than hydrofracing.
Mark Not-circlehead

climber
Martinez, CA
Apr 19, 2011 - 02:04pm PT
Now, I didn;t read all the psts (and all the responses in the lonoonnnggg posts), but I have this comment;


Most of the chemical everyone os afraid of getting into groundwater, were already in the ground (as crude) to begin with......The only connection to groundwater would be through the wellbore.

Am I off base?
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Apr 19, 2011 - 02:16pm PT
We have a big energy problem on this planet. Nuclear looked good until the Japan incident, much of the world's oil has a big political issue, and wind&solar can't fill the gap. We should conserve and use less but this won't fix the problem.
Shale gas and shale oil will go a long way on this continent to helping us manage for longer. Shale gas in particular is abundant in some areas and should play a much bigger role in the future as it is probably less damaging than the alternatives. In fact we should stop using coal for electricity generation and use more gas.
Disclosure: I work in oil and gas exploration
weschrist

Gym climber
left sac
Apr 19, 2011 - 02:17pm PT
The only connection to groundwater would be through the wellbore.

Depends on the size of the confining unit and the permeability of the material between the reservoir and the aquifer. Break the seal and less dense petroleum could easily migrate upward.
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 19, 2011 - 03:38pm PT
Thanks Base,

when I started this thread my main concern was in two areas; the potential for contamination to groundwater, and that the regulators actually do not require the fracking fluid to be identified. I saw that the "recipe's" are proprietary, and my response is that it is my earth too and I want to know what is being injected, pretty simple.
John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
Apr 19, 2011 - 03:42pm PT
+1 for Golsens point above.
Silver

Big Wall climber
Nor Nev
Apr 19, 2011 - 03:50pm PT
Base good work and thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Hows the recession in the Nat gas business? LOL
slabbo

Trad climber
fort garland, colo
Apr 19, 2011 - 03:59pm PT
One of the CO nukes was near Silt ? I was reading a bit ago about the Book Cliffs shale stuff, seems a bit crazy since SO much goes into getting it out.

Op Ploughshare also wanted to nuke a new harbor in Alaska so they could mine and ship out coal. Even got Teller up there try and convince the locals to be coal miners instead of fishing
Daphne

Trad climber
Mill Valley, CA
Apr 19, 2011 - 04:22pm PT
Base, you posit that oil business is not extracting oil in ways that may be dangerous because they are afraid of environmental costs. I counter that that fear of a possibility of punitive measures versus the certainty of profit now has led to many abuses. For example, what happened in the gulf.

My mom worked for an oil businessman and asked him if he wasn't concerned about global warming affecting the polar bears. He said, "Who cares about the polar bears?"
Dick_Lugar

Trad climber
Indiana (the other Mideast)
Apr 19, 2011 - 05:52pm PT
I haven't seen anybody ask about what happens to the fluids after they are used in the fracking process for disposal?

Much of it is flushed through municipal wastewater treatment plants that is then flushed downstream in rivers used for drinking water of 18M people!

This fracking fluid contains BARIUM, STRONTIUM, AND OTHER RADIOACTIVE ELEMENTS. And who knows what else is in the fluid as the O & G industry is not required to reveal what they use in their fracking fluid...

But hey, no big deal...people can buy bottled water if they are worried about their tap water being contaminated.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/02/us/02gas.html?_r=2&hp
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 19, 2011 - 06:29pm PT
Our drinking water is precious. One of the reasons that we Americans have good drinking water is not because of high tech water and wastewater treatment, but because we protect the raw water supplies (surface and ground).

It is sometiems scary what Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) can process through their wastewater treatment systems. Frequently, those technologies employed do not remove the contaminants, but through shear volume the dilution will then allow the POTW to meet effluent requirements.

At one Superfund Site I worked on, the Record of Decison (ROD) was to treat through Carbon Adsorption some 1 million gallons of pesticide (compounds such as Aldrin etc. now banned) contaminated water. I designed and specified a system for the contractor do do this. When the contractor was out getting ready to do the work he called me and wanted relief as he said that the local POTW that discharged into the Mississippi River would take the contaminated water with no pre-treatment. There would have been minimal treatment of these compounds in that plant. Given the logic, that the POTW would not have removed the contaminants, it was then a dilution process. Needless to say that contractor was unhappy as I disallowed his request.

The point here is that protecting our groundwater is essential. I totally understand that there are instances where the fracturing will have no impact on GW aquifers. However, for a regulatory process to not even understand what is being injected is unacceptable and not confidence inspiring.
weschrist

Gym climber
left sac
Apr 19, 2011 - 07:05pm PT
You may know chemistry very well, but we are dealing with a temperature and pressure regime that a zillion doctorates have created.

That's interesting cuz I don't know sh#t about chemistry... my MS is in contact metamorphism and fracture controlled thermal buoyancy driven fluid flow (kinda relevant?)... my doctorate will be in heat and fluid transport in variably saturated media (again, kinda relevant?). If you don't know the name Jacob Bear, you don't know jack about multi-phase fluid flow in porous media.

A 2 million gallon frac sounds like a lot, but it is a drop of warm piss when compared to the overlying saltw#ter bearing zones above you.

That overlying sal-twat-er is presumably in a relatively permeable unit, no? That sal-twat-er is more dense than the underlying petroleum, no? And it is separated by the confining layer/trap, no? Connect the two via an unintended fracture through the impermeable layer and the sal-twat-er will flow down while the petroleum flows up, no?

Considering only the density effects from sal-twat-er at ~1250 kg/m3 and petroleum at ~800 kg/m3. The density difference alone produces a force per unit mass of 5.5 m/s2, more than half that of gravity... not insignificant. Add in capillary effects (water prefers the smaller pores of the recently fractured lower permeability unit due to higher surface tension) plus any background hydraulic gradient and it will likely be higher. I have to draw the line at actual flow rates, that's a career in itself.

I don't know if those fractures penetrate the cap rock... and I don't think the oil companies/hydrofrac'ers do either. I'm not saying it is currently an issue, I'm saying it may be an issue... one I seriously doubt oil companies spend much time contemplating... other than what will happen if brine enters their reservoir, in which case they shut it down and walk away... out of site, out of mind. But the buoyancy forces persist...
jfailing

Trad climber
Terrible Taft
Apr 19, 2011 - 07:15pm PT
Base - good to hear from someone with experience in the drilling industry. I read through most of your posts (but hey, they're waaay long), and they nail it pretty well. When it really comes down to it, the probability of aquifer contamination from the actual fractures down-hole is extremely low.

Dick Luger brings up the more important point - where we are taking the contaminated fracking fluid. That's how it's getting into our drinking water. The article he posted is very informative.


Sort of off-topic, but sort of not: it seems that everyone forgets about geothermal energy as a sustainable almost zero emission source of energy/electricity. There is a technique called Enhanced Geothermal Systems that uses hydrofracturing to create fracture zones in "hot, dry rock" that, if someone can figure out how to get it to work, could open up huge potential all over the west for geothermal. Perhaps we can learn from the mistakes we're making now in hydrofracking when using the technique for other avenues...

Edit: Also to add: Studly - the companies that be are constantly monitoring the status of their existing wells, mostly to monitor their output. There's a special wireline caliper tool that can measure the thickness of the casing - if there is a spot in the casing that is showing more wear, or the possibility of cracking, the company will go to steps of repairing it.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
How do you like my new weather gear?
Apr 20, 2011 - 12:49am PT
Now thermohydrofracking sounds dangerous, like grow a new volcano in downtown LA dangerous, lol. None of that near the San Andreas family of faults if you please!

DMT
Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Fresno
Apr 20, 2011 - 12:16pm PT
Base104, that was fascinating reading. Thanks for taking the time.
Bullwinkle

Boulder climber
Apr 20, 2011 - 06:33pm PT
Yes it's perfectly safe. . .

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/20/pennsylvania-fracking-spill-gas-blowout-2011_n_851637.html
froodish

Social climber
Portland, Oregon
Jul 10, 2011 - 02:20pm PT
This week's This American Life episode spends the hour on natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania:

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/440/game-changer

Among other topics, examines the intertwining of the gas industry, state government and Penn State.
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 8, 2011 - 09:19pm PT
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203501304577086472373346232.html


EPA Ties Fracking, Pollution
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 8, 2011 - 09:27pm PT
Did Base delete his post above defending Fracking?

No wonder the GOP wants to eliminate the EPA

Peace

Karl
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 8, 2011 - 10:23pm PT
Yeah, I was on a tear of deleting my posts for a while. Sorry.

The problem is that the hysteria is so wrong. They don't even know why the Marcellus in the northeast is a terrible place to frac. I can explain it in two paragraphs. I am working, though.

I am on a long consulting contract with one of the biggest horizontal companies in the country, so I get to sit in on the engineering meetings and all that. I know pretty much every play in the country.

It isn't a problem in TX, LA, OK, ND, etc. We have the infrastructure and good geology to deal with the fluid disposal.

In the northeast they have no way of disposing of the water, which is bad when it flows back because it is mixed with formation water that is high in chlorides. Saltw#ter in the groundwater is the worst. You can't clean it up. I heard that they were using produced saltw#ter to salt roads in Pennsylvania or one of those Marcellus areas. You would go to prison in OK for doing that.

Frac jobs involve moving a lot of fluid around. It isn't that nasty, but I wouldn't drink it.

The real crime here is that 90% of the hysteria is based on zero science. Nobody noticed that Obama opened up the Chukchi and Beaufort Sea to drilling. Much of the Beafort area starts at the three mile limit offshore of ANWR. The eskimos are a maritime people, so they wanted the onshore drilling. They are freaking out about the offshore drilling permits and have joined in lawsuits.

Now. Those places have ice 9 months or so out of the year. How are you going to have a spill plan? The Chukchi is also really shallow, and at least near the shore, the ice bulldozes the sea bottom. I have no idea how they are going to protect the pipelines. That is the reason that the proposed gas line from AK to the lower 48 had its route changed. The Canadians wanted it to follow the coast and pick up the McKenzie Delta stranded gas. Too risky.

All this happened a while back, and nobody noticed. The leases in the Chukchi Sea (north of the Bering Sea) went for billions, so there must be some damn good geology over there.

Gasland is total crap. There is actually one part of it that is a real pollution problem.

Gas prices are in the toilet, so the drilling has really slowed down. It is all oil zones right now.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Dec 8, 2011 - 10:25pm PT
Base I really treasure your voice here. Thanks.

DMT
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 9, 2011 - 02:04am PT
B104: That is the reason that the proposed gas line from AK to the lower 48 had its route changed. The Canadians wanted it to follow the coast and pick up the McKenzie Delta stranded gas. Too risky.

Would it not have also picked up oil from the Canadian side of the Beaufort Sea, and perhaps farther east in the Arctic? IIRC, they did quite a lot of exploratory drilling in the Beaufort Sea, and found a fair bit of oil (and gas), with promise of more. It's been sitting since then, as it's too expensive to safely get out and ship, plus the tar sands came on stream. And no one really knows how much is there, plus our countries continue to squabble over where the Beaufort Sea boundary is.

bump - B104 always adds something informed and useful.
Rattlesnake Arch

Social climber
Home is where we park it
Dec 9, 2011 - 07:16am PT
Which sources should we develop to run our computers and electric cars?

US ELECTRIC GENERATION SOURCES, 2009 <br/>
US ELECTRIC GENERATION SOURCES, 2009


California has already decided to generate electricity from natural gas and nuclear. Notice how tiny the contribution from alternative sources (except hydro - more dams anyone?)

CALIFORNIA GENERATION SOURCES 2008
CALIFORNIA GENERATION SOURCES 2008
tolman_paul

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
Dec 9, 2011 - 12:10pm PT
MH,

The proposed line was a natural gas line, not an oil line. The economics simply aren't there for any route at this time. Who knows maybe they'll end up needing the gas to produce the massive heavy oil field that lays under prudhoe bay, but which is currently not technically or economically able to be produced. As it is the gas has been used to help with Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) for the past several decades, so it really has been better to recycle and use a portion of the gas to get the more valuable oil to market then to ship it South.

There currently is some production occuring in the Beufort, Endicott Island has been producing for decades, and Northstar has now been in production for a decade.
lostinshanghai

Social climber
someplace
Dec 9, 2011 - 12:22pm PT
Jfailing wrote

“could open up huge potential all over the west for geothermal. Perhaps we can learn from the mistakes we're making now in hydrofracking when using the technique for other avenues...”

Been some time but maybe two-three years ago they used this system if I recall just north of San Francisco, Napa Valley area? Drilled down to cap geothermal energy and their thinking was using crack systems would work better. Started a few earthquakes in the area and had to stop production so lost investment.

Core drilling for thermal storage is OK there is a difference. Software for soils underneath to show compostion where water and fines,rock and voids.

Doing one here myself will supply heat and cooling for three houses, if I go deeper add more bore holes can have my own utility company and supply 30-40 homes. Passive solar plus electric. Net zero but calculations going for -15. -15 meaning I can sell extra eletricity or have the swimming pool heated during the winter time 24 hours.


golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 9, 2011 - 12:27pm PT
Despite having had graduate level courses in Hydrogeology, I dont know enough to have a informed opinion on whether hydrofracking is alright or not. However, using fracking fluid that contains contaminants to our drinking water supplies is just plain wrong. You can't dump unknown fluids above ground or in surface water supplies and trust me, it is way more difficult to clean up if it is in the groundwater. At a minimum, hydrofracking fluids should be regulated to prevent the introduction of contaminants into the ground.

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 9, 2011 - 12:33pm PT
So Base regarding the EPA findings

Chemicals found in a Wyoming town's drinking water likely are associated with hydraulic fracturing, the Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday, raising the stakes in a debate over a drilling technique that has created a boom in natural-gas production.

The agency's draft findings are among the first by the government to link the technique, dubbed "fracking," with groundwater contamination. The method—injecting large volumes of water, sand and chemicals to dislodge natural gas or oil—has been criticized by environmentalists for its potential to harm water supplies, which the industry disputes.

Are you saying the EPA is wrong or just a case of a good technique backfiring by being used in wrong places?

What to do? The industry moans about regulation but when unregulated, somebody abuses it until theres a deadly mess

peace

Karl
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 9, 2011 - 01:15pm PT
I saw the EPA release this morning. All of that stuff gets sent to me.

My "guess" is that it is probably real. I am pretty sure that where they are working is the Jonah field. That sucker has so many wells in it that it is like a pin cushion. It isn't a horizontal shale gas area, though.

I will tell you this. There is nothing as nasty as an old oil field. Wells that were drilled in the fifties and sixties are usually depleted and plugged by now, but they are famous for groundwater problems. The biggest problem by far is saltw#ter contamination from old water floods. There are huge problems with that, and it is mainly historic.

What freaks all of us out about the EPA is that in the older producing states we have a very strict regulatory structure on groundwater protection. It isn't very expensive to do, so I have never heard a peep.

The base of fresh water is known pretty much everywhere in the producing basins. The state requires that you case and cement off the fresh water. Most wells have several casing strings between the producing casing string and the annulus of the surface casing. The string over fresh water is called surface casing.

Anyway, to even get approval to drill a well, the state gives you orders on casing requirements to protect the groundwater. It is no big deal at all, technology or money wise. It is now super difficult to get approval for a waterflood. That is where you go into an old, depleted, field, and inject produced saltw#ter back into the formation to bring the reservoir pressure back up and then "sweep" it from the injection wells to the producers.

If there is an old well in the area that was drilled from the sixties or earlier, it probably doesn't have adequate surface casing. So as you pressure up the reservoir, that saltw#ter migrates right into that old wellbore and right up into the groundwater. To get approval, you have to go back in and plug those wells properly, which is often not possible because when they plugged a well back then, they threw all kinds of junk down the hole. So if you do have that problem, most companies won't even try it.

There are other things that are state specific. In southern Kansas, there is a salt layer that is 1000 feet thick in some places. It outcrops around Hutchison, KS, and there are big mines there.

So when you drill through it, your drilling mud chlorides go way up and if it doesn't get hauled off and handled properly, you can get chlorides in your groundwater just from leaking through the pit. So the state of Kansas, who has known about this problem from zillions of wells, makes you deal with it in a very specifically regulated way.

Another thing in Kansas. There is a zone in the mesozoic section called the Cedar Hills sandstone. Where it exists, the saltw#ter in it is notoriously corrosive. It will eat through your production casing in three years and you will totally lose your well. So in those areas, you have to run what is called a DV tool or port collar. It is just a device that you screw into your pipe when completing a well. After you do the initial cement job you have to come up and then do a second cement stage uphole over the Cedar Hills.

Also, in dry holes, when you plug them you are required to set a big cement plug over the Cedar Hills, because it is beneath the Dakota and Ogalalla aquifer. It doesn't cost jack to set that extra plug.

The problem is that you can't re-enter old dry holes in that area of Kansas because when you are drilling out the cement plugs to get down to some old, by-passed pay zone, the drill bit will not stay in the hole. It will hit that cement plug and kick off into the Cedar Hills 75% of the time. So nobody even tries it. They just drill a new well.

There is all kinds of specific stuff like this that the old producing states know about. In the modern age, nobody wants an environmental problem. It isn't a fine from the EPA or state you worry about. It is a landowner lawsuit for trashing his groundwater. Those are enourmous lawsuits and can bring a small company to its knees. They are a nightmare for big companies because it makes the press and the bad news is also a nightmare.

I tell ya. The bigger companies who drill in the U.S., which are almost all big "independents," have massive environmental compliance departments. If there is a blowout or spill, they show up all moon suited up within hours.

Bullwinkle has a link upthread to a shale gas well that somehow got loose when it was flowing its frac water back. That was a mess, but it was contained and cleaned up.

The big independents are the ones who developed the shale gas technology. Now the majors are in on it as either joint venture partners or by buying an existing company.

I hate watching the Exxon commercials about how we have all of this safe natural gas around. Well, yeah, we do have all of this natural gas in certain shale formations that we can now recover, but the guy has a sneer like a used car salesman. Plus, I don't like the major companies too much anyway. A lot of these companies are run by true believers who rip global warming and all kinds of environmental concerns.

Hell, I have been reading stuff on climate change for twenty years. I believe it. I certainly feel that it can't be discounted willy nilly like Rush Limbaugh does.

BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 9, 2011 - 01:40pm PT
Iran provides a good example. In the middle east, and specifically Iran, there are truly monstrous natural gas fields. Since there is not much of a market for stranded gas that far from a market, it just sits there.

Iran's production has peaked and is now declining. Well, they make all of their money from oil exports. So they are converting to natural gas as a transportation fuel and selling the oil that would have been used domestically.

We are in a similar situation, although our energy requirements are huge. We are swimming in natural gas. It makes a great fuel, but you have to fill up your tank much more often.

Fleet vehicles like USPS, UPS, buses, etc. are all moving into natural gas if they haven't already done it.

Now. Burning any hydrocarbon or coal puts carbon into the atmosphere. Natural gas is the least carbon intensive, so it makes sense to switch to natural gas while waiting on cleaner technologies.

Trust me. I shout from the hilltops that we need to stop burning hydrocarbons. The problem is that no matter how expensive oil gets, it always seems to be cheaper than alternatives.

Biofuels are just a way to make fake oil. No good. All you wood burners are even worse.

It makes me ill to see all of the SUV's and other gas guzzlers out there on the road. Just count them as you drive.

Like anything, you have to educate yourself on issues just to be able to climb above the bullsh#t. Frac jobs are no problem in most places. When a problem is discovered, it should be acknowledged and fixed. Simple.

Now imagine some kid lording over your drilling intent documents who doesn't know jack about how anything works. That is why we like the states, who have been dealing with this issue forever. A rule for the Cedar Hills in Kansas doesn't apply for a well in the Arkoma Basin. The Cedar Hills was never even deposited there.

That is why we fear the EPA. They will take a normal well and then turn it into a paperwork circus that accomplishes nothing.

That said, in the Marcellus Shale in the NE, some of the states have little history of oil and gas production. So they don't have a regulatory arm that is worth a damn. On top of that, they have no way to deal with the used frac water, although they are trying to recycle it and other crazy things.

But drilling isn't inherently bad. The reason that I am so opposed to drilling in ANWR is almost asthetic. I have been there quite a few times. I would hate to see it industrialized. That and the reserve numbers are always inflated or imaginary. I have read the 2 CD set on the USGS assesment.

But hey! Obama just opened up the offshore up there. Dealing with a spill on land is easy. Dealing with a blowout on land is easy. In water, everything is harder. In an area covered with ice most of the year, I can't even imagine how a problem will be dealt with.

So everyone is crying about frac jobs and in the meantime you haven't heard a peep about that.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Dec 9, 2011 - 02:37pm PT
As usual, thanks BASE104. Thanks too, wes, for a hydological perspective. It pains me to see how few people try to understand these sorts of issues by learning about the science, and how many just rely on hysterics -- pro or con -- for their positions. One of the big reasons I enjoy OT threads on ST so much is that the climbing community is broad enough to include people who actually know what they're talking about in a large variety of issues.

Thanks again.

John
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
Dec 9, 2011 - 03:23pm PT
Yeah, I was on a tear of deleting my posts for a while. Sorry.

The problem is that the hysteria is so wrong. They don't even know why the Marcellus in the northeast is a terrible place to frac. I can explain it in two paragraphs. I am working, though.

I am on a long consulting contract with one of the biggest horizontal companies in the country, so I get to sit in on the engineering meetings and all that. I know pretty much every play in the country.

It isn't a problem in TX, LA, OK, ND, etc. We have the infrastructure and good geology to deal with the fluid disposal.

In the northeast they have no way of disposing of the water, which is bad when it flows back because it is mixed with formation water that is high in chlorides. Saltw#ter in the groundwater is the worst. You can't clean it up. I heard that they were using produced saltw#ter to salt roads in Pennsylvania or one of those Marcellus areas. You would go to prison in OK for doing that.

Frac jobs involve moving a lot of fluid around. It isn't that nasty, but I wouldn't drink it.

The real crime here is that 90% of the hysteria is based on zero science. Nobody noticed that Obama opened up the Chukchi and Beaufort Sea to drilling. Much of the Beafort area starts at the three mile limit offshore of ANWR. The eskimos are a maritime people, so they wanted the onshore drilling. They are freaking out about the offshore drilling permits and have joined in lawsuits.

Now. Those places have ice 9 months or so out of the year. How are you going to have a spill plan? The Chukchi is also really shallow, and at least near the shore, the ice bulldozes the sea bottom. I have no idea how they are going to protect the pipelines. That is the reason that the proposed gas line from AK to the lower 48 had its route changed. The Canadians wanted it to follow the coast and pick up the McKenzie Delta stranded gas. Too risky.

All this happened a while back, and nobody noticed. The leases in the Chukchi Sea (north of the Bering Sea) went for billions, so there must be some damn good geology over there.

Gasland is total crap. There is actually one part of it that is a real pollution problem.

Gas prices are in the toilet, so the drilling has really slowed down. It is all oil zones right now.





Base - 1st, I gotta say sorry for no believing a word you've got to say about the subject of hydrolic-fracturing. If you get paid to do it, then it seems to me that you would probably say just about anything to keep the money flowing. Just like hookers want to legalize prostitution.
I'm also sorry if it seem that I am making smaller an issue out of this than it is (to you/others)

I go on the basis of a few easy steps/questions to get to the bottom of wether I feel the search and extraction of underground natural gas is a good thing or a bad thing.
My biggest question comes down to water: How long has the water been flowing cleanly? After a frack operation is put in place is the water safe? If I had access to the GreedEO I'd hand him a glass of fresh tap water from the places that he drills in and ask him to take a drink.

Second question is: If its so safe… then why are there any questions about any of it? In other words if you dig a hole in my next door neighbors backyard and pump water/chemical slough into the ground and get all kinds of gas/goodies out of the ground and I don't know about it…? Would I have a problem? NO!!!! I'd not have a f*#king problem with that because I have not been effected. However, in the same situation I find that within months my tap water has a funny taste/smell/fumes….? THEN I HAVE A F*#KING PROBLEM!!!!!

If it was all that safe nobody would really know too much about it. But because it isn't safe.. we've all already heard enough.


golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 9, 2011 - 03:44pm PT
In 50 years the original protective casing will rust out and voila, there is your pathway between aquifers. Very few energy/engineering companies want to do those corrosion/material evaluations as they will then show negative results that must be dealt with. It is simple for companies that are out to turn a profit. If you don't want to know the answer, then don't ask the question.

Aside from the above issue, Base, what is your position on injecting proprietary fluids into the aquifer in order to frack?

tolman_paul

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
Dec 9, 2011 - 03:48pm PT
It can be safe or it can be dangerous, depending on the formation and who does the work and how carefully. The real quetion is, what form of energy has the least environmental impact? There is no green energy source, neither is there a source that has no environmental impact. In many cases natural gas is a good source of energy that can be produced w/o trashing the environment, but not in all locals.

Just like climbing, some people shouldn't climb because they'll best their azz even on a G rated route, whereas there are others that can lay it on the line even on the diciest routes.

jfailing

Trad climber
Lone Pine
Dec 9, 2011 - 04:05pm PT
However, using fracking fluid that contains contaminants to our drinking water supplies is just plain wrong.

I'd be more worried about gas and hydrocarbons making their way up through the microfractures over a longer period of time, rather than just the initial fracking fluid.

Once a well is drilled, the companies will often pump steam and water down the wellbore to help extract the gas from the formation (am I right Base?). Doing this over a period of several years strikes me of having more of an effect on an aquifer than just the initial fracking.

Also Golsen - for what it's worth, yes wellbore casing can rust through, but companies are generally required by law to "plug and abandon" wells that have too much environmental risk or are just tapped out. Generally operators have a pretty good idea of the condition their well casings are in. If anything, they'd fix a bad casing job because it means more resource from the formation ($$$), rather than for environmental concerns...
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 9, 2011 - 04:14pm PT
I understand what you are saying jfailing. But abandoned casing will rust around the whatever material is used for sealing the well. Whether or not that is a significant enough conduit for groundwater migration through the now non-existant casing will be dependent upon a number of factors such as pressure, gradient, etc. of the affected aquifers.

My main point is that proprietary or unregulated substances should not be allowed into the fracking process. In my opinion, the rules about adding any substances to anything underground should be similar to those above ground. 50 years ago we also though it was ok to dump into the oceans. Out of sight out of mind. We seem to have the same mentality here and my concern is that it will come back to bite us.
jfailing

Trad climber
Lone Pine
Dec 9, 2011 - 04:15pm PT
Lostinshanghai - the drilling program you're referring to never actually made it to the point of hydrofracking... I think they had a grip of problems with the well they were drilling, got stuck a few times, and abandoned the project. So no, they didn't create any earthquakes from that particular project.

Technically it is possible to induce seismicity through fracking - we like to call it "microseismicity." And there are measures that folks can take to minimize sizable seismic events, like drilling through a known "smaller" fault. Ideally you frack a seismically stressed area that will open up fractures that have been healed by secondary mineralization - essentially just speeding up a natural process.

The reason that the Geysers project rose so much controversy over inducing earthquakes, was because it's close to Santa Rosa. People were flipping out over the drilling folks causing earthquakes... Even though... They freaking live ON the San Andreas fault... NIMBY I guess.

Edit added:

Base - 1st, I gotta say sorry for no believing a word you've got to say about the subject of hydrolic-fracturing.

Drilling/fracking is a lot different than prostitution. One reason this subject has become so controversial is because people don't actually really know what's going on. They listen to the media and Gasland and base their knowledge off of that... So refusing to listen to Base just because he works in the industry and may be biased is silly.

corniss chopper

climber
breaking the speed of gravity
Dec 9, 2011 - 04:26pm PT
No. Not nuts. Risk/benefit analysis says drill baby drill.

http://myprogressnews.com/content/marcellus-shale-and-horizontal-drilling

Underneath our feet are virtually underground “vaults of money” just waiting
to be unlocked. Land owners who hold mineral rights to these “vaults” have
seen their stock rise exponentially over the past years.

A common ten dollar per acre offer several years ago, can now yield up to
three thousand dollars per acre in our reading area. A 100 acre property
once worth one-thousand dollars in mineral rights, today can yield $300,000
plus royalty payments.


....many companies utilize a technique called “Rotary Steerable”.
Essentially this method rotates the whole drill string instead of just the
mud motor. Rotary Steerable enables a driller to drill faster as it
provides a better penetration through the formation. And at an
approximate $25,000 per day for a horizontal rig, quicker translates into
a higher profit margin.

Once the horizontal drilling is compete, the next phase or the frac begins.





lostinshanghai

Social climber
someplace
Dec 9, 2011 - 04:54pm PT
jfailing

Can't recall but embedded in a couple million of my files.

Look as of today, they had one in March as well and as you say people living in the area still think it is of this. Of course you can tell them anything and they will believe it.

Three earthquakes strike Gorda plate near northern California
December 9, 2011 – CALIFORNIA -

Three earthquakes rumbled through Northern California late Wednesday and early Thursday, but the temblors probably weren’t connected, geologists said.

A magnitude 4.0 quake hit around 9:19 p.m. Wednesday roughly 85 miles southwest of Eureka. The quake was 1.2 miles below the ocean floor, geologists said. Then just before 2 a.m. Thursday, a 3.3-magnitude quake struck about 25 miles north of Santa Rosa in The Geysers, where geothermal energy reaches the surface. Roughly seven hours later, at 9:16 a.m., a magnitude 3.8 quake hit 25 miles south of Eureka – 60 miles from where the Wednesday night earthquake was centered.

No damage was reported in any of the temblors. The collection of quakes was probably nothing more than coincidence, said David Schwartz, an earthquake geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “It is very hard to say that there is any cause and effect between them,” Schwartz said. “In any 24-hour period, you could get quite a number of earthquakes in California.”

A major earthquake can set off a chain reaction, Schwartz said. But “these quakes are so small and their effects are so local, that I have trouble believing that they are related.’ The earthquakes erupted along the tension point of the lower Juan de Fuca, or what is known as the Gorda plate as can be seen in the 2001 map above. –SF Gate
FortMental

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Dec 10, 2011 - 01:57am PT
I go on the basis of a few easy steps/questions to get to the bottom of wether I feel the search and extraction of underground natural gas is a good thing or a bad thing.

...but you never ask the question of whether or not it is morally acceptable to force natural gas production to some 3rd world country with zero environmental regulations, just so you can barbecue shrimp in the winter.
weschrist

Gym climber
left sac
Dec 15, 2011 - 11:06am PT
News from WY

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/198253-epa-pollution-finding-shakes-up-fracking-debate

http://www.epa.gov/region8/superfund/wy/pavillion/EPA_ReportOnPavillion_Dec-8-2011.pdf

Sierra Ledge Rat

Social climber
Retired to Appalachia
Dec 15, 2011 - 11:23am PT
We are getting innundated with fracking wells here in Appalachia.

Our nice, quiet rural areas are now populated with noisy steel towers that run 24-hours a day and are brightly lit. There is one well 2 miles from my home. I used to be able to see the stars from my back deck, but there there is so much light at the well I can't even see the stars anymore. And when I lie in bed at night all I can hear is the noise from the well site.

The politicians are in the pockets of industry. Whatever solution they are pumping into the ground has been declared "proprietary information" by law. The mining companies don't have to tell anyone what they are pumping into the ground and it is unregulated.

One of the local towns passed a law prohibiting fracking within city limits, and were promptly hit with a $5 billion lawsuit from the industry.

Our quiet country roads are now busy byways, full of large trucks and HALIBURTON pickup trucks with out-of-state license plates speeding at 70 m.p.h. through our formerly quiet neigborhoods where the speed limit is 40 m.p.h.

I had one of these large solution trucks pass me on a double-yellow line even though there was on-coming traffic. He didn't care, he just made everyone get out of his way. I was doing 55 m.p.h in a 55 zone and he passed my like I was standing still. The on-coming cars were forced off the road by the truck. The police won't do anything.

Don't you love progress!
Fat Paul

Trad climber
Right Coast
Dec 15, 2011 - 09:34pm PT
An important aspect of fracking that nobody seems to recognize is the amount of water that is being diverted from watersheds to facilitate the fracking process. Millions of gallons of water are used for a single well. This water is adulterated with the fracking fluids and is no longer a viable source of drinking water. Multiply this by the 1000's of wells being installed, and it becomes evident how much water is being lost in this process. The public has no idea what is at stake here, as the demand for water continues to grow while its availability shrinks.

Another important trend to watch is the purchase of public water supplies by private entities. It is likely that water rates will increase in areas where these diversions are occurring as the water resource becomes depleted.
PSP also PP

Trad climber
Berkeley
Dec 15, 2011 - 11:13pm PT
Are EIR's required in Appalachia?
weschrist

Gym climber
left sac
Dec 16, 2011 - 12:20am PT
SLR, that sucks. Wish we had some superheros to battle these greedy evil villains. Are ya'll at least getting jobs from the benevolent job creators?
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 16, 2011 - 02:34am PT
Greedy villains? What planet are you on?

I'm not a greedy villain. I drive an old beater, am comfortable with the science behind climate change (got over that one in the mid-nineties), and give money to anyone who asks for it on the street if I have any.

I am reading the EPA report right now. It was prepared at a facility in my boyhood hometown. My dad used to work at that lab, as well as my best frien's dad and my scoutmaster. It is about twenty miles from the Arkoma Basin, which has been drilled like a pin cusion for shale gas. There have been no pollution problems that I am aware of in the Arkoma, but there were surely surface spills and that kind of stuff.

You guys just don't understand the first thing about geology, or at least petroleum geology (and all of the permeability and pressure analysis) and engineering of modern wellbore design. I haven't heard of a single problem in Oklahoma, but we aren't the biggest shale gas state. We do drill a lot of other zones horizontally now though.

I was in a meeting today. Part of it covered fracturing efficiency in the various lithofacies in this play, which is oil. Only idiots are drilling for gas right now. 99% of those shale gas wells aren't making their money back. They are just there to hold the leases and the reserves in the ground. When gas prices come up they will drill the increased density wells. Usually 6 to 8 per square mile, parallel. The fracture height and length is limited by physics, and those wells can only drain a couple of hundred feet around the wellbore in a 300 foot thick shale. These shales aren't just any shales, either. For a sedimentary basin to produce, you have to have an organic rich source rock, typically shales full of dead algae, bury it to a sufficient depth to reach a temp/pressure window to cook the carbon into oil and gas, and that rock sources billions of barrels and many trillions of cubic feet of gas.

In Oklahoma, the Devonian Woodford Shale is the source rock for almost all oil in the state. Oil and gas also migrated up into the TX Panhandle and the entire state of Kansas as well. You can type the oil back to that one rock layer, the Woodford. I could show you how to find the Woodford on a geophysical log in thirty seconds.

It covers vast areas, but there are only certain areas where it is in the optimum thermal maturity window to be full of gas. It isn't much of an oil shale like the Bakken in North Dakota because of lack of a really good natural fracture set, and the pore throat size barely allows a methane molecule to migrate to the induced fracture.

On top of the Woodford you have..Several hundred feet of Mississippian aged limestones that are also good horizontal targets. You have to stage frac the Miss as well. Above that lies the entire Pennsylvanian package, which is filled with porous zones that either contain hydrocarbons or saltw#ter. Then you have the Permian section which includes a thousand foot thick salt/anhydrite layer. 12,000 feet of rock above the targeted Woodford, which is maybe 150 to 400 feet thick.

So I am in this meeting and we were trying to figure out the optimal way to drill and treat this zone. A lot of science goes into a possible new play area. It is so intense.

You probably don't know about this, because the newspapers don't know jack, but we were checking out micro seismic data sets of horizontal frac jobs in this lithofacies group. Yep. You can lay out a geophone array just like shooting a 3D seismic cube, and rather than using vibe trucks as an energy source, you listen to the rock fracturing. It isn't like you could put a glass to your ear, lay it on the floor and hear it. This is sensitive stuff.

You see a 3D model of where the fractures are going. The entire point is to fracture the pay zone. If you get out of it, you are risking fracturing into an adjacent saltw#ter bearing formation and just getting a saltw#ter well. Otherwise known as a dry hole.

All but about 5 fractures stayed in zone, and the ones that didn't went maybe fifty feet outside into dense limestone. There were areas where the frac job was not efficiently fracturing the zone, and the chief engineer in the play was commenting on lots of technical stuff that will improve it. Another part of the play has a nice oil zone only fifty feet above another porous zone that is full of saltw#ter. That won't work with fracs. You will just frac down into the water and the water K being greater than oil K, you will just make saltw#ter.

I have been wondering if I could post a well log on here, from surface to the Woodford source rock, just to give you guys an idea of how many zones that you would have to frac through to reach the surface. Ain't gonna happen around here.

To all of you Appalachian people: The problem with the Marcellus is that there isn't a porous and permeable saltw#ter disposal zone in the basin. So what do you do with it?

Here is how a frac works. You drill and case the well. Now they are running two surface casing liners. One down to 2000 feet in many areas. 800 grand extra, but if it will make people sleep better at night..

After the well is drilled and the rig moves off, the frac crew shows up. Now even on a moderately sized normal old vertical frac this is an impressive array of equipment, but with the shale gas fracs it is HUGE. So the number of trucks will blow your mind. That, and they have to haul incredible amounts of clean fresh water via trucks.

So you frac a well. If it is a high permeability zone that didn't need a frac to open up low permeability rock, the shut in pressure on the wellhead would be zero. It is a lot of fluid, but a good porous sandstone can hold that volume in a forty acre area.

Shales were never considered to be proper reservoir rocks in almost all cases because permeability is in the nanodarcy range. It can take a full year for a methane molecule to migrate to a fracture. The pore throats are that tiny. When you frac a low perm rock, the wellhead will have fairly high pressure on it. You open it up and it flows the water back. Eventually the gas comes in and spits out the rest of the load. Doesn't take long. Days to a month in most cases. So you get that fluid back. Now it isn't nice clean fresh water with a drag reducer. It brings back water from the shale as well, and that usually has very high chlorides. At depth in a hydrocarbon basin, every pore is filled with saltw#ter, oil, or gas. Occasionally you will hit something weird like pure nitrogen.

So that used frac fluid comes back with crazy things, depending on the area. I know that there is a barium problem in the Marcellus. If you ran spent frac water through a municipal treatment plant that discharged into a river in Oklahoma, you would probably go to jail.

I read a story about how they were using the produced saltw#ter to de-ice roads in Pennsylvania once. Stupid.

In the producing states we have very strict rules about dealing with fluids. They aren't even hard to comply with. If the EPA suddenly gets into the exploration end of the oil and gas industry, we will be screwed. The state has a hundred years of experience dealing with it, and groundwater is nigh the only thing that they are rabid about. Depth to base of treatable water is known, and you are required to follow a strict set of operational guidelines. This is no big deal. We know the cost of drilling a well first. Then we look for reserves that will at least pay back the cost of the well. At 3.50 gas, very few of the current crop of shale gas wells are paying out. If you think the companies are greedy, just go buy some stock in one of the bigger domestic independents with lots of gas reserves.

I have tried to keep this within the realm of understanding, but the general consensus now is that the battle is lost. Not through science but through public belief. Kind of like the world ending in 2012, or Obama being a muslim born in Kenya, or whatever.

There are some really scary things going on in the arctic that nobody even notices.

As for the sudden industrialization of your countryside, dude from Appalachia, I know how it is. The Arkoma was pretty much drilled up within a few years. It seemed like 75% of the traffic was tank trucks. It has been pretty much developed and things are back to normal now.

It is dealing with the transport and proper disposal of the spent frac fluid that is the environmental problem. The aesthetic problem also can't be ignored.

edit: Yes, the amount of water is a big problem in the NE. It is no big deal down here. We have been frac'ing wells for 60 years or so. I guess the cities are used to selling fresh water. They charge a good fee and make $$ from it.

The industrialized part of it will die down. It is just a boom right now. If gas was ten bucks/mcf, there would be a lot more drilling. All of the gas rich independents are kind of hanging on by their fingernails right now. Go check stock charts on DVN, CHK, XTO, Newfield, etc. A lot of those wells cost 7 to 9 million to drill. They are lucky to pay out at these prices.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Social climber
Retired to Appalachia
Dec 16, 2011 - 07:58am PT
You guys just don't understand the first thing about geology, or at least petroleum geology

And you don't understand what it is like being invaded by a bunch of out-of-state mining as#@&%es who drive large trucks at very high speeds through our neigborhoods, in complete disregard for speed-limits, our safety and our well-being.
weschrist

Gym climber
left sac
Dec 16, 2011 - 10:22am PT
BASE, you are a worker bee. You ain't making sh#t compared to your "job creators."

There are some really scary things going on in the arctic that nobody even notices.

Yep, and they should be brought to light.

Also, I know enough to know that higher than expected potassium and chloride in the deeper monitoring wells and organic compounds in the domestic wells suggests contamination by the hydrofracing fluids and migration of the organic compounds. I'm not sure how you could disagree, since you seem fairly intelligent, but if you do disagree please explain.
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 16, 2011 - 11:07am PT
I have indeed seen my home town overrun with all of the tanker trucks. The trucks moving rigs, moving pipe, moving you name it. It was crazy. The Arkoma was like that for five years. Absolute mania. It seemed like every other vehicle was a big red tank truck moving water around. It has slowed down, though. Most of the drilling in the sweet area of the Woodford has been done.

The only upside was that there was zero unemployment. If you had a pulse, you had a job. If you owned mineral rights, you were rich.

Studly

Trad climber
WA
Dec 16, 2011 - 11:09am PT
and then your water supply became poisonous, and you were f*#ked.
weschrist

Gym climber
left sac
Dec 16, 2011 - 11:14am PT
BASE, would you move back to there? Maybe buy a little land, produce food, drink the water... you know the trivial stuff that often gets in the way of oil production.

I have tried to keep this within the realm of understanding, but the general consensus now is that the battle is lost. Not through science but through public belief.

Do you disagree with the science in the EPA report? Or just the conclusions?

"...the explanation best fitting the data for the deep
monitoring wells is that constituents associated with
hydraulic fracturing have been released into the Wind
River drinking water aquifer at depths above the
current production zone."
Sierra Ledge Rat

Social climber
Retired to Appalachia
Dec 16, 2011 - 11:25am PT
The only upside was that there was zero unemployment. If you had a pulse, you had a job. If you owned mineral rights, you were rich.

RAPE is not justfied, just because RAPE brings in jobs. We've already been through this mess with the unregulated strip mining for "clean coal."

The "old" West Virginia:
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

The "new" West Virginia:
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat


IS WIDE-SPREAD PERMENENT DESTRUCTION WORTH A FEW THOUSAND JOBS?????????????????????????????
weschrist

Gym climber
left sac
Dec 16, 2011 - 11:30am PT
That "new" West Virginia looks like it would make one hell of a OHV track... and they run on fossil fuels, how convenient.
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 16, 2011 - 01:12pm PT
Base,
I don't doubt your knowledge of drilling and geology.

If you ran spent frac water through a municipal treatment plant that discharged into a river in Oklahoma, you would probably go to jail.


I did however, want to clear this up. Most POTW's (Publicly Owned Treatment Works) that are large scale take in all manner of industrial chemicals so their acceptance of the fracking fluid is based upon the specific contaminants. FYI - I have seen Superfund Waste sent to POTW's (with banned pesticides) as well as wastewater generated from the destruction of nerve agents. Based upon my experience it is not inconceivable that Spent Fracing fluid could be sent to a POTW.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Dec 16, 2011 - 01:48pm PT
You probably don't know about this, because the newspapers don't know jack
Unfortunately, they don't know jack about economics, or any of a number of other subjects upon which they must report. All they know is "journalism," which is important, but not a substitute for knowledge of the subject matter. In a way, it's like someone with a degree in education, but no science background, trying to teach physics or chemistry.

Unfortunately, none of us has the technical background in every subject of public interest, and we end up relying too much on those with journalism skills rather than on those who know. Our collective decisions often end up correct, but the discussion in getting there often resembles irrational babble -- or maybe just the ST forum.

;)

John
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Dec 16, 2011 - 02:34pm PT
Base- What happens to the water? How is it prevented from re-intergrating with clean water supplies?

A friend of a friend was telling us about a study she was doing on Lake Ontario awhile ago. The purpose was to see what pharmaceutical residues could be found in the water.

The results were rather shocking. Every known drug in the area plus a few more were present in all the samples..
weschrist

Gym climber
left sac
Dec 16, 2011 - 02:40pm PT
Big Mike,

I've heard of antibacterial resistant salmonella in marine mammals around the bay area. Also hormones from birth control fuking with aquatic critters near college towns. DON'T FLUSH YOUR MEDS.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Social climber
Retired to Appalachia
Dec 16, 2011 - 02:52pm PT
How is it prevented from re-intergrating with clean water supplies?

You can't prevent it from contaminating the local well water.

But the fracking industry has gotten legislation pushed through that relieves the industry from liability for well water contamination.

After all, jobs are at stake!

What is surprising is that Republicans are leading the fracking industry cavalry charge. Historically Republicans have championed landowner rights. But now the Republicans are demanding that landowners forfeit their rights to their land and clean water in the name progress.

Historically Republicans have also championed local control. But now Republicans are calling for state and federal oversight to prevent local communities from regulating local fracking.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Dec 16, 2011 - 02:56pm PT
Wes- That is also present in most commercially farmed chicken these days as a result of farmers over using meds.

Also you flush your meds everytime you pee!
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Dec 16, 2011 - 02:58pm PT
What is surprising is that Republicans are leading the fracking industry cavalry charge. Historically Republicans have championed landowner rights. But now the Republicans are demanding that landowners must forfeit their rights to their land and clean water in the name progress.

Any study of the Pennslyvania oil industry will show 'f*#king the locals for profit' has been a way of life there for +100 years. Quaker Oil be damned.

DMT
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Dec 16, 2011 - 03:00pm PT
Also you flush your meds everytime you pee!

True, leading my friend and frequent climbing partner, Dan Smith, to comment to a friend of ours who believed in all sorts of meds and supplements -- with rather dubious benefits -- that she had the most expensive urine in town.

John
jfailing

Trad climber
Lone Pine
Dec 16, 2011 - 03:05pm PT
I wonder if this fracking contamination problem is somewhat limited to the Northeast and the Marcellus... It seems that many wells are located near or on people's properties, which might mess with their drinking water more-so than say somewhere in Oklahoma.

There's plenty of fracking all over the US. Just seems that most of the water contamination complaints are coming from Pennsylvania, where lots of people live very close to fracked wells. It doesn't seem like there are many complaints in the Dakotas, where there are like 150+ drilling rigs fracking like crazy...

So does that make it safe if it's far away from civilization?

Also - Sierra Ledge Rat - consider if the trucks and machinery in your hometown were instead related with a wind-farm going up in your area... Would you still be as pissed?
Sierra Ledge Rat

Social climber
Retired to Appalachia
Dec 16, 2011 - 03:21pm PT
Also - Sierra Ledge Rat - consider if the trucks and machinery in your hometown were instead related with a wind-farm going up in your area... Would you still be as pissed?


I'm not stupid. Although I would prefer a full-on push for non-fossil fuels, the reality is that I'm stuck putting gasoline into my car and heating my home with natural gas.

So I'm not opposed to coal mines or fracking or whatever -- but I am vehemently opposed to the manner in which it is curremtly being conducted.

Under GWB, there was a ruling that filling river vallies with debris from strip mines did not require an environmental impact statement. So now the mining companies are stripping off mountain tops and dumping the material into river basins. Then they abandon the strip mines without reclaiming the land, and leave it up to the state to clean up the mess using levies collected from each ton of coal. But the levies are so small that the clean-up efforts are less than 50% funded.

Now with fracking - contaminated water, trampling of landowner rights, speeding trucks - it's a mess.

We do have a few large wind farms here in WV. Apparently the largest wind farm was put up in a major bird migratory path and a major bat area. The bird and bat kills from the turbines exceed the usual kill rates associated with other wind farms by an order of magnitude.

This is what our creeks are like around here. The Cheat River is a major river that, until recently, was completely dead. Thanks to groups like the Friends of the Cheat and West Virginia Rivers Coalition, there is a lot of work being done to buffer the acid mine drainage before it reaches major waterways. Usually the buffering is done with limestone and precipitating catchment ponds. It's all being done with private funds because the state can't afford to reclaim abandoned mines.

So it's really a manner of conduct.

Acid Mine Drainage
Acid Mine Drainage
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 16, 2011 - 05:02pm PT
Yes, the Marcellus is a unique animal in many respects.

In most basins disposing of saltw#ter that is produced along with oil and gas in the normal production process is separated at the tank battery. Nothing fancy there. It is collected and hauled to either commercial disposal wells, or onsite disposal wells, all of which are tightly regulated by state regs. Those wells are tested every year for casing integrity via a mechanical integrity test (MIT) where you set a plug above the injection zone and then pressure up the casing to check for leaks. If the pressure doesn't hold, it means you have a casing leak.

The disposal zones vary, but all are deep and full of saltw#ter. The fresh water table is shallow and easily mapped.

The big disposal zone in the midcontinent is the cambro ordovician Arbuckle/Ellenburger group, a massive limestone that is both very porous and very permeable. It is also very thick, so it is nigh impossible to pressure it up from injection.

Old frac load water is injected along with the saltw#ter, and trust me, the saltw#ter is way more nasty than the frac water when you are talking about those shale gas fracs.

It is a really easy way to get rid of that water. The Marcellus, from my reading, is unfortunate geologically. There is no good deep zone to put the salt water or frac waste water into. This has lead to all kinds of crazy things like recyling and treating.

Saltw#ter disposal isn't that big of a deal in most areas, and the same goes with spent frac water. The well flows that frac water back and then becomes a gas well, ya know.

As for the shitty comments like Republicans like this. Yeah, they like it because they don't give a crap about the environment if you are a Limbaugh head. I am a democrat with a very deep and cynical distrust of the Right Wing in this country. The Right has moved so far to the right that they are no longer in the visible spectrum. Most of you don't know me, but I have spent as much of my life as possible outside, and am really rabid about ANWR. Because I have BEEN there. Four times. I spent a whole summer in there walking across it and back alone. I have crossed the coastal plain 8 times or something now. Incredible place.

And my hometown gets its water from a huge spring from the Arbuckle Limestone, about ten miles from some of the biggest Arbuckle disposal wells in that part of the state. Great water. Now that water supply is in great danger because the suburbs of Oklahoma City have been buying up water rights in the aquifer and are going to pump it and send it to OKC. Hey, it is great water, but when you lower the water table, all of those great springs are gonna go dry. Then we will have to drill our own wells back home. It all has to do with withdrawal and recharge rate, and I am not a hydrologist.

So yeah, I drink the water like a fish. My parents still live there along with half of my friends. It is only an hour away. It is beautiful hilly and forested country.

We just haven't had the problems that the hysteria spouts. Mainly because the hysteria is 90% bullsh#t, and the 10% that isn't bullshit is so poorly understood. I just want to toss up my hands and shake my head.

Remember the BP Macondo blowout? After about a week the main description of how the blowout occurred became pretty widely known in the industry. BP was insanely negligent IMO and many others. BP is not liked in the industry.

Well, there were all of these experts on the news channels. They were all bright guys from Universities and stuff, but it was obvious that most didn't have much of a practical background. I saw a long lecture on the web with a guy from some university describing the horrors of frac jobs.

They mispronounce words and pull things out of their ass.

So I am sitting there watching this blowout play for weeks and pulling my hair out at the insane garbage I was hearing. That well should have NEVER blown out. It was already drilled and was being plugged before moving the drilling rig off and putting a production platform in. Which might take years.

Look. Pretty much any petroleum geologist will tell you that we need to get off of oil from just a strategic and economic reason. Plenty believe in climate change. It isn't like you get fired over it.

Most of our electricity comes from coal. Even in Texas. Coal is a cheaper and more efficient fuel, but it is nasty stuff. Meanwhile we swim in so much natural gas that the price is where it was in the nineties.

Switch to natural gas. Then switch to something cleaner. Biofuels and all of that is bullsh#t. You are still burning something and tossing carbon into the atmosphere.

Look. People cry wolf. No way would an entire company do this. The big independents all have huge environmental compliance departments just to avoid screwups.

The Marcellus problem is not directly related to the frac process. It is indirect. No place to put the water. One of my clients is big into acquisitions. They won't touch anything in the Marcellus.

I wish that I could give a two week lecture and field trip to you guys.

Clean groundwater is huge. All that is happening is that the EPA is going to jump down throats over something that is not a problem in the rest of the country.

It seems all I do is answer frac questions anymore. Geez. Didn't anyone notice that Obama opened up the offshore Beafort and Chukchi Seas for leasing and exploration? The Beaufort federal leases start three miles off the north coast of Alaska. That would be three miles off the coast of ANWR, where it is covered with moving ice 9 months or so out of the year. Nobody seemed to notice that.

I see how easily people are manipulated from watching and listening to news coverage of this and the Macondo blowout. All of the talking heads were lost with their heads up their ass on the BP blowout. It was a very simple thing on that blowout. Everyone in the industry knew what happened. All of the "experts" on TV kept getting it wrong.

It made me sick to my stomach. All of this safe deepwater drilling was ruined because BP cut a couple of critical corners and made a few huge engineering errors. That blowout should have never happened. The well had been drilled and cased for production. Worse, it was oil. Oil is heavy and flows with less pressure than gas. I hadn't seen an oil blowout in the U.S. in ages.

So you can get the Marcellus straightened out or go remove hillsides and burn coal til the end of time.

Also, the next time you fill up your tank, squirt a gallon of gas over your head. The nasty end of oil and gas is the exhaust pipe. It isn't totally snow white on the land Exploration end, but in the sceme of things, it isn't much. Problems with fracs are very rare. I know how they can go wrong, and it usually means that you lost your well or you had a surface spill. The idea that it is plumes of poison migrating to the surface through blasted rock is not how the problems happen.

I have no axe to grind. I am not even in the unconventional reservoir business. I do work with horizontal wells in conventional oil and gas reservoirs, though.

For something nasty, go look at a gas station with leaky underground tanks. Or a dry cleaner. Or an air force base that has been dumping its solvents down the drain for the past fifty years. I get to hear an earful over that. My wife is a big honcho at the state DEQ. I have a bunch of friends up there. We talk about this all of the time.

Those wells will be depleted and plugged in twenty years. You won't even be able to see where they were except bulldozed roads through timber and pipeline right of ways. Those mountain tops don't grow back.

Coal is nasty stuff. You won't find a petroleum geologist on the planet who likes coal. It is the most carbon intensive fuel of all. Natural gas is the least. Still bad enough for the atmosphere though.

This is like an argument between a coca farmer in Peru and a drug addict in Los Angeles.



BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 16, 2011 - 05:11pm PT
People have been living next to frac'd wells for 60 years.

This stuff is all new.

I will get to the EPA report in a day or so. I am busy pillaging the earth for you guys right now.
weschrist

Gym climber
left sac
Dec 16, 2011 - 05:36pm PT
BASE, that's a long post. A couple points:

Hey, it is great water, but when you lower the water table, all of those great springs are gonna go dry.

Not only that, but the reduction in hydraulic head promotes more surface water flowing into the aquifer. How many retention basins overly the aquifer?

Then we will have to drill our own wells back home.

I hope the aquifers ya'll tap ain't contaminated.

It all has to do with withdrawal and recharge rate, and I am not a hydrologist.

I am. Actually, I'm a geologist, turned metamorphic petrologist, turned geochemist, turned hydrologist... but that is all irrelevant because this is stupidtaco and nobody listens to facts anyway. But it also has to do with where the recharge is coming from and what it passes through on the way to your well.

We just haven't had the problems that the hysteria spouts. Mainly because the hysteria is 90% bullsh#t, and the 10% that isn't bullshit is so poorly understood. I just want to toss up my hands and shake my head.

You admit you are not a hydrologist, don't seem to understand what it takes to characterize an aquifer or assess its potential for contamination, yet you know the concerns are hysterical bullsh#t? Are you aware that even the most advanced, aggressive groundwater remediation campaigns could take CENTURIES to show any improvement in water quality? Society will spend FAR MORE cleaning up any mess these guys leave behind than anyone will ever make off their "product."

Look, I don't doubt that your knowledge on the actual practice of hydrofracing surpasses everyone else's here. I'm also aware that, to the best of your knowledge, hydrofracers take every necessary precaution to prevent any contamination... but we are both aware that people cut corners and accidents happen (BP via Halliburton).

Until you point out the flaws in the science or reasoning in the EPA report, you are adamantly arguing against science using only your opinion... which I believe you define as hysterical bullsh#t.

I read the report and don't see anything fundamentally wrong with it. I don't think hydrofracing is inherently a bad idea. But given their track record I think Halliburton and the others behind the big hydrofracing push should be thoroughly scrutinized. Given the importance of clean groundwater and the immense effort it takes to even ATTEMPT to clean up such contamination, I think we as a society should show at least a little caution.
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 16, 2011 - 07:38pm PT
Most of the guys I went to school with are groundwater guys. I know a bunch of other guys who do nothing but Superfund work, including my wife.

I have been listening to my wife and her buds for twenty years. She used to run the state's end of all of Superfund. So I get to hear about some super nasty stuff. Dealing with the Corps and the EPA. The EPA does things that just don't make sense sometimes. Literally, not politically.

Hydrology is similar to petroleum geology. Permeability and fluid flow in porous media. We just deal with super high pressures and a lot of petrophysics. I could teach you the petroleum end in a year. You seem a smart guy. We deal with millidarcies, though. Those shales have nanodarcies of permeability, hence the big fracs.

I get called in to work difficult clastic and carbonate stratigraphy. I do cross sections and reservoir characterization over a hundred miles long every day. It is a lot of fun, but very difficult.

People just don't understand how oil or gas gets into the groundwater. Sometimes it is totally natural. Those are really obvious spots, though. Super shallow oil and gas. That EPA study was in a very shallow gas field where there were gas zones in the fresh water. I can show you oil at 70 feet. Totally natural. Weird stuff. That EPA study was in the Wind River basin. Man. Ground water flow in mountain basins is super active.

The most common oilfield pollution is saltw#ter in the groundwater. You can't clean that up. The groundwater is trashed. A surface saltw#ter spill is awful as well. Chlorides get into the clay minerals and nothing will grow for decades.

Being greedy is where you cross a moral line for money. I am pretty comfortable with frac jobs. I am just not so sure about the Marcellus. So many chances for error trucking all of that water around. Not to mention the million pounds of sand.

One thing about oil and gas companies. They have little muscle politically. The de facto national energy policy has been cheap oil at any cost since Reagan. That puts companies into bankruptcy. The domestic industry can't compete with Saudi Arabia when it comes to setting oil prices. Sure we benefit when prices are high. We also bleed when they dump oil and prices crater. You can take every private oil company in the world, add them up and they are a flea on the ass of the nationalized companies in the big exporting countries.

I can't stand those Exxon commercials where the nice guy comes on and sweet talks shale gas. It is just propaganda, true or not. Exxon is a micro player in the shale gas plays. It is dominated by the big domestic companies. You can't go make a dump like they do in Nigeria or some place.

I desperately would like the world to move beyond hydrocarbons. People bitch and moan, but they still buy SUV's and big trucks that they don't need. We burn oil like it is water.

edit: Why do you think we have our fingers up the nose of every country in the middle east? Why do we have all of these Nimitz class aircraft carriers hanging out down there? It ain't because we like sand.

That end of it is kind of like blood diamonds. Nobody gives it a thought when they fill up their tank. They just want it cheap.
weschrist

Gym climber
left sac
Dec 16, 2011 - 08:02pm PT
BASE, shallow gas doesn't explain the high pH, high Cl concentrations, or high K concentrations in the study area. The ONLY thing that makes sense is the hydrofracking fluids moving UP into the domestic and monitoring wells.

Unless you are claiming that current regulations and practices prevent any hydrofracking at similar depths, I don't think you have much to stand on.


The most common oilfield pollution is saltw#ter in the groundwater. You can't clean that up. The groundwater is trashed. A surface saltw#ter spill is awful as well. Chlorides get into the clay minerals and nothing will grow for decades.

Which is what they detect, among other things, in the municipal and monitoring wells.
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 16, 2011 - 09:18pm PT
No. The real one was K. 3% KCl water is a pretty common frac fluid. Benzene was from the old days. Benzene is a common component of crude oil or gas condensate. I just need to go through the report and finish it up. I know one thing. They don't know how to read a cement bond log. This field has been drilled in since the fifties, and in the fifties, groundwater issues weren't as strict as they are today.

They frac'd a shallow zone and it got into one of the wellbores drilled back in the fifties with poor surface casing, it seems. The field is incredibly shallow, and the fresh water very deep.

The EPA had to really scour the earth to find that one. Those are called "Black Swans."

I have been saying this over and over again. A wellbore is the conduit to groundwater, not some mysterious fracturing of 10,000 feet of overlying rock.

Southern Oklahoma has a big field called the Allen District. It has fresh water down to about 100 feet. There is a gas zone at 300 feet, and oil at 500 feet to about 2200. These are all shallow. Anything under 1000 is super shallow. There may be a hundred wells in a square mile. There are waterfloods with old uncased wellbores. I can't believe it, but they haven't had contamination. Fracs aren't that useful at such shallow depths. You really have to overpressure the formation for it to work.

This is totally unlike 99.9% of modern production. Mainly because shallow zones have low pressure and poor reserves.

Where things get really trashed is if you waterflood a zone like that with old, poorly cased wellbores. You really pressure up a waterflood, and it can migrate into an old wellbore and straight up into the groundwater. There are huge areas of chloride contamination in the groundwater from old waterfloods, but they all involve old wells. It just isn't done that way now. It happened in the old days, though, and there a fair number of big chloride contaminated fresh water aquifers. It is almost all historic.

To get a waterflood permit these days, you have to re-enter every old wellbore and fill them with cement. You also install monitoring wells if you are smart. The OCC won't permit a waterflood in those instances. A permit takes ages, and is gone over by hydrologists and petroleum engineers working for the state. They know how to spot a bad idea.

The EPA case is totally unlike the shale gas fracs. Those are at great depth and have multiple surface casing strings that cover way more than the fresh water table.

The Powder River basin saw a coalbed methane boom about ten years ago. They drilled into those massive Fort Union coals and produced gas. The interesting thing was that it was up in the fresh water table. The coals weren't even that far downdip from the strip mines.

The wells were small, but you could drill them in five hours with an air rig. The big boys stayed out of it. Not enough reserves for them to turn their spotlight on it.

Maybe someone here can enlighten us, but I am not sure what became of that. A lot of the water was being used in farming, but coal has some nasty stuff in it, like mercury in some places. So just letting it go on the surface is probably not a good idea. Drinking it in the first place sounds kind of spooky to me.

Want to hear a really good groundwater case? A fairly common one now?

I live on the Garber/Wellington aquifer. The water isn't that great. It has high arsenic and other nasties in it. So the city blends the good wells with lake water to bring everything down to EPA limits. It is a huge aquifer, though, and very important economically.

About five miles south of my house there is a big area that is heavily contaminated with nitrates from agriculture fertilizer. It is OK to drink if you aren't pregnant. The word got out around fifteen years ago not to drink the water if you are pregnant. I am pretty sure that they tied in to the Norman water system and don't use much well water in that area.

I need to finish the EPA report. I am about halfway through it but am trying to work if you would quit calling me a liar. That is the problem with getting into a bitch session on this place.

I have enough of a groundwater background that I spent some time during the last price bust on test wells for a landfill. I got a lot of help from my friends at the state DEQ. I didn't like it. I don't think the permit passed.
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 16, 2011 - 09:31pm PT
That overlying sal-tw#t-er is presumably in a relatively permeable unit, no? That sal-tw#t-er is more dense than the underlying petroleum, no? And it is separated by the confining layer/trap, no? Connect the two via an unintended fracture through the impermeable layer and the sal-tw#t-er will flow down while the petroleum flows up, no?

I don't know if those fractures penetrate the cap rock... and I don't think the oil companies/hydrofrac'ers do either. I'm not saying it is currently an issue, I'm saying it may be an issue... one I seriously doubt oil companies spend much time contemplating... other than what will happen if brine enters their reservoir, in which case they shut it down and walk away... out of site, out of mind. But the buoyancy forces persist...

No. The overlying rocks are interbedded shale, sandstone, and limestone formations. They all have names, and I know most of them. You need to understand that at these pressures many of the rocks have a plastic quality. If you put some fractures up into a saltw#ter zone, you better pray that it doesn't connect to the shale target. If it does, you will get a saltw#ter well. Besides, those zones also produce in areas and they take their own frac just to increase perm and produce.

I'm not sure where you are going with buoyancy. Water is heavier than both oil and gas. That is the main way oil and gas accumulations trap. They float on water and migrate towards the surface until they hit a barrier and stop, creating the accumulation.

The tar sands in Canada are just a huge oil field that has eroded and all of the volatiles have escaped. That stuff is pretty nasty. About as bad as coal, but you can't put coal in your gas tank.

edit: I see where you are going at with buoyancy. See above. All oil and gas basins have hydrocarbon traps. It is a miracle that the stuff has so few surface seeps. Just go get a book on petroleum geology at the used bookstore. The migration and trapping of hydrocarbons is extremely well understood. That is what we do. Look for those traps where oil and gas were prevented from migrating higher.

Most shales are very clay rich, and that stuff is a really good trap and seal. The Devonian source rock shales don't really frac well unless there is a high silica content. I was amazed at how much silica is in those shales.

Then you have a thousand feet of evaporites sealing most of the basins around here. The best hydrocarbon basins have evaporite seals. Salt or anhydrite.
weschrist

Gym climber
left sac
Dec 16, 2011 - 09:45pm PT
Sorry man, I'm not trying to call you a liar. You clearly know your field and we appreciate you sharing it with us. I just have a hard time believing ANYTHING pushed this hard by big business, especially big business in bed with Halliburton, is as harmless as they claim.

FWIW, I don't think the EPA dug too deep to find that one:

"In early 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) received complaints from several
domestic well owners near the town of Pavillion,
Wyoming regarding sustained objectionable taste and
odor problems in well water following hydraulic
fracturing at nearby gas production wells. In response
to these complaints, EPA initiated a comprehensive
ground water investigation in September 2008 under
authority of the Comprehensive Environmental
Response, Compensation, and Liability Act."


Fracing at 372 meters and domestic wells at 244 meters. So is it uncommon for fracing to be within ~130 meters of groundwater aquifers? What are the laws, regulations, practices?
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 23, 2011 - 04:11pm PT
Wes,

Sorry. I shouldn't have said that liar bit. I know you aren't accusing me of that. I just get pooped about going through petroleum engineering 101 over and over again.

When I tell people that I am a petroleum geologist, I have to go over the frac thing all the time, and it gets tiresome.

I didn't have time to finish the EPA report. Hopefully I will have some time to finish it and then get back rather than letting this thread die.

A short answer to one of your questions about frac'ing zones with offsetting wells having insufficient surface casing, it is not common, but it is done. The shale gas monster fracs are nothing at all like this.

One funny thing. Even before Drake's famous first oil well, there were some places, I think in New Jersey, where the Marcellus outcrops, and it was common to drill super shallow wells, less than 100 feet, to provide gas for heating.

Gas isn't a very good shallow target. With gas, reservoir pressure equates to more reserves. At a shallow depth the reserves for gas are small. This area has gas at very shallow depth.

Believe it or not, there have been more fracs in oil wells than gas wells. Permeability is usually related to pore throat diameter, and methane can produce naturally in lots of low perm reservoir rocks. The relative permeability of thick old oil is less. So oil reservoirs are more affected by low permeability.

These shales also have vast areas where the thermal maturity window is in the less cooked oil window. Oil molecules are just too small to make it through almost all shale pore throats. The obvious exception is the Bakken in North Dakota. It is a different animal.

Again, typically the sedimentary section is 90% shale anyway. The gas and oil shales are very specific zones. They are very specific. These shales are the organic rich source shales. They may be only a couple of hundred feet thick, but they have sourced trillions of cubic feet of gas and billions of barrels of oil. You can't target just any shale. It is almost all Devonian source rocks in Paleozoic basins.

And the EPA did have to scour to find that specific field. It is very unusual in the fact that there are very shallow gas zones that lie within the deep fresh water table. This is really uncommon, but not unheard of. This is in no way close to the geology in the shale gas frac areas. Those zones are deep.

I will try to get back on this. I certainly didn't intend for it to die without answering you. I am just soooo busy.

I do have an email circulated through a lot of the geoscience community about the EPA study outlining the nuts and bolts. Since it came from the oil and gas sector, I haven't posted it. There is propaganda from both sides on controversial issues. The guy who wrote the response is quite the stud, but I want to go over the EPA report several times.

I'm not dimissing the EPA report at all. I am just saying that from a geology standpoint, it is unusual.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Dec 23, 2011 - 04:24pm PT
The Cheat River is a major river that, until recently, was completely dead. Thanks to groups like the Friends of the Cheat and West Virginia Rivers Coalition, there is a lot of work being done to buffer the acid mine drainage before it reaches major waterways. Usually the buffering is done with limestone and precipitating catchment ponds. It's all being done with private funds because the state can't afford to reclaim abandoned mines.

I am very familiar with the orange line on the rocks of the Cheat... I've had the stinging acidic water of Appalachian rivers in my eyes.

To emphasize what Sierra Ledge Rat was saying: the mining companies are not cleaning up their own mess.
weschrist

Gym climber
left sac
Dec 29, 2011 - 04:21pm PT
More developments:

WY water officials dispute EPA report

Hurray for science.


BASE, I can't speak for everyone, but I definitely enjoy your input. Just don't spend too much time on it, this is only supertopo after all.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Dec 29, 2011 - 04:26pm PT
To emphasize what Sierra Ledge Rat was saying: the mining companies are not cleaning up their own mess.

They never have, either, ever. Even when they claim to they are just going through the motions. Then they'll lay that 'tread not on mining lest ye tread also on the economy too!' bullshit on you. Then they'll just stop talking about it. Played out here in a thread recently.

DMT
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 29, 2011 - 08:48pm PT
A mine is a hole in the ground with a big pile of rocks next to it. Unfortunately, those rocks are from very deep and have not been through the weathering process. So they get chemically weathered and spit out all kinds of stuff.

I have nothing against mining, but that mountain top removal looks totally insane. It isn't like they are gonna haul all of that rock up and rebuild the mountain, correct?

I had knee surgery yesterday morning so my judgement is a little off for the next few days.

As for the new Pavillion data, you knew a response was coming. EPA certainly could have done a better job, but it doesn't mean that if they resample that they won't find the same things. You have to watch anyone who has a dog in the hunt.

It will get sorted out, but their deep wells were within the shallowest gas zones. I know that much. There is a problem with blowouts in the deeper stock wells. Typically livestock water can have higher chlorides than a human source by quite a bit. As you go deeper you get out of the fresh water and it is all saltw#ter from there on down other than a few kind of exotic locations.

It doesn't take much to blow out a well that isn't keeping the hole filled with heavy drilling mud. I know of quite a few areas with that problem. It usually means that the accumulation has unusually high pressure.

Finding stuff in the gas zones isn't that strange. If they find it in the shallow low chloride human use aquifer, it is a big deal. Still, that field is not in any way the normal type of field. So shallow and stock quality water at that depth.
GuapoVino

Trad climber
All Up In Here
Dec 29, 2011 - 11:27pm PT
Base,

Can I ask you a question semi-on-topic? What do you think about the concept of peak oil?
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Dec 30, 2011 - 01:51pm PT
Peak oil, not a concept, but likely reality. It seems to have arrived sometime in the last 6 or 7 years. One factor that bears thinking about is how good we are at exploiting and accelerating production in existing fields due to horizontal drilling and waterflooding. Once these fields start to go they will crater very quickly.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Dec 30, 2011 - 02:03pm PT
Thanks, Wes and BASE, for an informative discussion. As Wes knows, my daughter's best friend in college is a graduate student in hydrology, and I've used some of her input in my work on attempting to measure marginal costs and benefits in carbon emission regulation. What I always find intersting is discussion among people particularly versed in different disciplines, but examining the same phenomena.


When I compare your discussions with the more simplistic and either alarmist or nihlist approaches of so many others on this topic, it makes me appreciate all the more the thought you two put into a discussion that, as wes would say, is only on the taco stand.

Thanks, guys!

John
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 30, 2011 - 02:13pm PT
Peak oil is just a catchy phrase for a simple topic:

When will the world's production rate peak and then start to decline?

Most of us think it has already happened.

You just look back at Hubbert's work on U.S. oil production. Everyone thought that we were finding plenty of new fields and would have excess production capacity for decades into the future. He nailed it within a few years.

It is more complicated with worldwide production capacity, given that remaining reserves in the largest and most important fields are state secrets. The biggest fields in Saudi Arabia have been on enhanced recovery for some time.

It is only important if you figure in production capacity vs. demand. Oil is like air. You can't invent new reserves. You can change demand very easily. Carter took us from 20+ million bbls/day of consumption down to 15+ in only a few years during the seventies oil shock. All it takes is a little fine tuning of bad habits to cut demand.

So you see that the equation can be managed on the demand end. We should have been keeping it up since Carter, but oil prices collapsed and we have enjoyed incredibly cheap gasoline until the past few years.

We just waste it. Hell, why not go buy an SUV? Everyone likes to point fingers at oil companies, but nobody likes to look in the mirror.

I can rant on this for days. We go spend our money on stupid wars in oil producing areas instead of building light rail and other wise infrastructure investments for the inevetible future of high energy prices.

Face it. We are stupid.
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 30, 2011 - 02:32pm PT
Since I am laying on the sofa gulping pain meds from my knee surgery I will go a little further.

We have had a very well defined national energy policy since Reagan: cheap oil at any cost.

I never can see how so many oil people are parrot talking conservatives. When oil prices went to ten bucks a bbl under Reagan, it was bloodshed in the industry. Total collapse. You couldn't get a job unless your daddy owned an oil company.

Now prices are rising as expected, to my long hoped for dream of 100 bucks a bbl. The only pain in the ass is that a well may cost 4 million bucks for the same recovery as a well that cost 500 grand twenty years ago.

Oil companies have zero control over price. It has always been that way. The big exporting nations control the majority of reserves, and all the Saudis had to do in the eighties was open the spigot. Took down the Soviet Union. Took down much of our domestic industry along with it.

Natural gas is plentiful. It sells for what it did twenty years ago. All of those shale gas plays haven't come close to being fully developed. Natural gas has the lowest carbon footprint of any fossil fuel, it is cheap as hell. We should have been converting to natural gas as a transportation fuel a long time ago. It is in our strategic interest as well as the health of the planet. Switch trucking over to nat gas now.

The only problem is that you have to refill more often with natural gas, so it is less convenient. It can be a bridge fuel to clean technology and a much more efficient transportation infrastructure.

Save oil for making things out of. Hell, morphiene is made out of oil now.

Use it for those certain circumstances where you need the incredible energy density of a cup of oil. Airplanes and the like.

Iran looks like it has passed its production peak. There are massive gas fields in the middle east with no market. A truly massive one is in Iran. So they are doing the smart thing: Convert to natural gas as a transportation fuel and sell the oil for the country's income.

By trashing Iraq, the country who kept Iran busy as an enemy, we now have a pro iran government in Iraq. Iraq was always vastly underexplored. More than any other Arab country. So Iran just de facto more than doubled its oil reserves and is the big powerhouse in the middle east.

Happily, when they run out in the next couple of decades, they have no industry to take over and will go back to camels.

People are only going to conserve energy when it gets really expensive. Trust me. No matter how good people we think we are, we are not altruists.

So yeah, "Peak Oil" is plain as day. Nobody seems to care if they can fill their tank tomorrow. We are incapable of thinking past the two year congressional election cycle. This country can no longer think ahead. Politics is that f*#ked up.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 30, 2011 - 03:02pm PT
Look, I don't doubt that your knowledge on the actual practice of hydrofracing surpasses everyone else's here. I'm also aware that, to the best of your knowledge, hydrofracers take every necessary precaution to prevent any contamination... but we are both aware that people cut corners and accidents happen (BP via Halliburton).


Yeah, it's like saying most congressmen are good god fearing people so reports of gay GOP congressmen tapping their feet in men's restrooms are likely BS!

Cause somehow or another, the pollution somehow associated with fracking is hitting people's water and we've heard enough from intelligent industry turning out to be untrue that nobody is buying the "Don't worry, we're careful and know what we're doing" assurances. I'm sure the folks at Fukushima were total experts and had lots of money and expertise behind them

Fracking is here to stay cause of peak oil, which is MAJOR. Yes demand can be cut for short time but don't forget that China has trillions in surplus and wants to develop and india is in line behind them not to mention the rest of the third world would prefer to move up to second world

Sad to say, but the same forces will demand we drill ANWAR. The only question is whether it takes $7 a gallon gas or $13 a gallon.


Peace

Karl



Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 30, 2011 - 03:09pm PT
Oil companies have zero control over price. It has always been that way. The big exporting nations control the majority of reserves, and all the Saudis had to do in the eighties was open the spigot. Took down the Soviet Union. Took down much of our domestic industry along with it.

Now the Saudis are no longer capable of increasing their production but war seems to be the way we control oil prices, or at least what currency it is sold with

Peace

Karl
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A community of hairless apes
Dec 30, 2011 - 03:16pm PT
Fracking is here to stay cause of peak oil, which is MAJOR. Yes demand can be cut for short time but don't forget that China has trillions in surplus and wants to develop and india is in line behind them not to mention the rest of the third world would prefer to move up to second world.... Sad to say, but the same forces will demand we drill ANWAR. The only question is whether it takes $7 a gallon gas or $13 a gallon.

And at $25 a gallon, tar sand territory far and wide is going look mighty appealing.

Ain't "wising up" a trip?

.....

Ain't aging a trip?
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A community of hairless apes
Dec 30, 2011 - 03:18pm PT
Wes, did you also think the documentary, Gasland, was b.s.?
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Dec 30, 2011 - 07:32pm PT
I am new to this subject/issue, but I just received a check from an energy company that is apparently fracking on some WVA land that my brothers and I have. Of course, I banked the check, but this is now a cause of concern. It's the only land I own in this world. I try to keep up with environmental issues, but being a full-time carer for my partner is a... full-time job. I always figured that if the sh#t hits the fan, there is always the WVA land (my late mother's farm) to get back to. But this fracking has made me think twice.
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 30, 2011 - 07:53pm PT
Your land is fine. There might be a wellhead on it, though.

Oh man. You start talking energy and Baba just goes off. The Saudis still have excess production capacity. They can dump a few million bbls per day onto the market and kill prices.

They try to keep prices as high as possible without causing economies to start tanking. Good economies mean more demand. They aren't stupid.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A community of hairless apes
Dec 30, 2011 - 08:00pm PT
You start talking energy and Baba just goes off.

Hahaha.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Dec 30, 2011 - 08:05pm PT
BASE104, no they are drilling from the side (land), there are no well heads, so I am informed, on our land, and yes, the check (cheque here in Ireland) came in handy, and we get 18% of what they find. Am I now a capitalist?

I tell my partner (perhaps wife - she is a widow, I am a bachelor - in Stateline/Tahoe this Spring) Jennie that if worse comes to worse, there is always West Virginia (and Seneca Rocks and New River Gorge), to live in (though we both love being by the sea), and the cat will have to learn how to stay away from snakes (copperheads, rattlers and such). BTW, she does NOT climb (Jennie that is, Boots can climb, trees at least), sigh.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 30, 2011 - 08:30pm PT
Oh man. You start talking energy and Baba just goes off. The Saudis still have excess production capacity. They can dump a few million bbls per day onto the market and kill prices.

Says you with nothing to back it up. The Saudis officially announced they would be keeping the price of oil at $25 for decades but were able to do no such thing, even with Bush begging and kissing them for more production, lower prices

from 2008
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1715308,00.html

Racing between OPEC meetings in Vienna, Saudi Arabia's powerful oil minister Ali Al-Naimi told a reporter that the cartel was "determined" to keep the price of oil at around $25 a barrel, rather than risk a slump in the market by boosting its production.
Wait a minute. $25? Al-Naimi said that in April 2003 — less than five years ago — when a barrel of oil cost one-quarter of this week's whopping $100, and when prices were regarded as high enough to keep oil-rich countries happy......
In fact they said that back as far as 2001 as well

From 2001
http://www.albawaba.com/business/saudi-opec-wants-oil-price-25


Saudi Arabia oil minister Ali al-Nuaimi said Saturday that OPEC wanted the price of oil to be $25 a barrel, avoiding brutal swings either up or down.



"We (OPEC) want it to be at $25, rather than $30 or $38," he said at a seminar at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. Crude oil prices are currently around $25 or $26 a barrel.



"Our revenues come from oil and we need to make an accurate assumption of what the oil price will be," he said.



"I am sure that if the oil price should go up or down in a precipitous manner we will work together for a stable oil market," he added.



Al-Naimi said that the recent decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut oil production was taken to prevent a freefall in price and "keep it towards the $25 per-barrel target."


They sure are taking there time stabilizing the old oil market. Didn't seem to pick up much slack when Libya went offline.

OF course you can't be faulted for not knowing whether the Saudi have excess capacity or not because it's a deep secret that nobody knows. The ones with some personal experience say that's it's twilight time on saudi oil abundance


http://www.amazon.com/Twilight-Desert-Coming-Saudi-Economy/dp/047173876X

Twilight in the Desert reveals a Saudi oil and production industry that could soon approach a serious, irreversible decline. In this exhaustively researched book, veteran oil industry analyst Matthew Simmons draws on his three-plus decades of insider experience and more than 200 independently produced reports about Saudi petroleum resources and production operations. He uncovers a story about Saudi Arabia’s troubled oil industry, not to mention its political and societal instability, which differs sharply from the globally accepted Saudi version. It’s a story that is provocative and disturbing, based on undeniable facts, but until now never told in its entirety. Twilight in the Desert answers all readers’ questions about Saudi oil and production industries with keen examination instead of unsubstantiated posturing, and takes its place as one of the most important books of this still-young century.

peace

Karl
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 30, 2011 - 08:41pm PT
Karl,

I was insulting to you, and I apologize for that. That is not my nature.

The Saudis are saying the same thing about 100 dollar oil.

I am downloading about 200,000 wells right now just to show you some maps of how many shale gas wells have been drilled in some basins I work. I don't know of any groundwater pollution problems in these areas. I would probably have heard about it.

The big drillers like Chesapeake have huge environmental compliance departments. One screw up is a huge disaster for companies like them. I have consulted for them, and they are dead serious about that. They had a spill on a Marcellus well and the moon suit guys are on a jet in a couple of hours to take care of it.

Halliburton, no matter how evil they are overseas, is the gold standard in well completions. The Macondo blowout had nothing to do with Halliburton. BP was utterly negligent. They make me sick. Nobody likes BP.
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 30, 2011 - 09:05pm PT
Arkoma Basin Woodford Shale. This one has been going on for years. I grew up here and it still is pretty country. The bad thing is all of the roads that were put in for the wells. When the wells are plugged the location is cleaned up, topsoil is replaced and you can't spot where they are without a stout metal detector.

There are 46,000 wells in this dataset, but if I print the whole basin it just looks like a buckshot pattern. The lines are the horizontal paths. Depth to zone here is 8,000 to 10,000 feet. The Woodford is a few hundred feet thick.

Arkoma Basin Woodford
Arkoma Basin Woodford
Credit: BASE104
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 30, 2011 - 09:08pm PT
Anadarko Basin Woodford Horizontals. All of the red stars are gas wells drilled in the seventies. They all were frac'd as well. This is all wheat country.

Anadarko Basin Woodford Play.
Anadarko Basin Woodford Play.
Credit: BASE104
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 30, 2011 - 09:48pm PT
Karl,

I was insulting to you, and I apologize for that. That is not my nature.

At least by supertopo standards, I perceived no insult and hope I wasn't returning any negativity in any of my posting. We're guys who like to argue about stuff..

Peace

karl
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 30, 2011 - 10:13pm PT
This is a horizontal play targeting a low perm sandstone oil reservoir. Each square in these maps is a square mile.

Sorry. I didn't have time to download the landgrid overlay on the Texas Panhandle side to the west.

Every well on the map has been frac'd going back to lord knows how long ago. The horizontal play has been going on here for over five years. This one is beneath the Ogallala Aquifer. No problems I have heard of. This is all farmland.

Cleveland Sand Horizontal Oil Play Anadarko Basin
Cleveland Sand Horizontal Oil Play Anadarko Basin
Credit: BASE104
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 30, 2011 - 10:23pm PT
A small part of the Bakken Shale horizontal oil play in North Dakota.

Haven't heard of any screaming here. This play has been going on for well over a decade. Also cropland

Remember that each line is a horizontal well that has been given a big stage frac.

Small portion of North Dakota Bakken Shale play.
Small portion of North Dakota Bakken Shale play.
Credit: BASE104
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 30, 2011 - 10:27pm PT
OK. Fracs are nothing new. I don't know how many tens of thousands of these types of wells have been drilled now.

Sorry. I don't have Marcellus data. I just log on to the data server and download the well locations. No secret here. This is all public data, but it is easier to see when run through professional mapping software.

I could do this for the next week.
alpinethrills

Trad climber
Olivebridge
Dec 30, 2011 - 10:32pm PT

I live in NY and follow the fracking issue very closely, including most reports, news articles, studies, what the EPA has done, what the NY DEC has done, what's gone on in PA and the PA DEP, etc. I've been to multiple frack sites in PA, talked and met with a number of families in both PA and NY who are victims of fracking contamination (in NY vertical fracking), met with industry folks and countless environmental and advocacy leaders, and heard hours of testimony from experts on both sides of the issue. At this point there is an enormous amount of misinformation out there about fracking. With that, let me put out just a few things to consider, the bottom line being that fracking as it is going forward right now is a desperate form of fossil fuel extraction, that holistically is similarly bad as coal for the climate given the amount of methane released into the atmosphere (methane being a particularly heavy greenhouse gas). Although fracking has in some capacity been happening since the 1800s, the fracking that is going on now is not like the fracking back then, the fracking in the 40s, the fracking in the 80s, or even the fracking in the 90s. It's a new technology. There is no good evidence that this fracking can be done safely, and there is a very strong case to be made that fracking should not go forward now or any time soon, especially in the northeast.

Some of the many points that are sorely lacking here:

 Official review and regulations of this industry are extraordinarily limited given that it is exempt from the Clean Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Superfund Act.

 There is a tremendous amount of evidence linking fracking to well over a thousand cases of water contamination. You don't hear about these and they don't get documented because most of these cases are between relatively poor landowners and the gas industry, and those landowners make a legal settlement with the industry or face over a decade long legal battle. Obviously, pretty much no one who would lease their land for fracking can undertake such a legal battle, and hence settle. Those settlements include non-disclosure agreements, i.e., legal gag orders that prevent those people from speaking out and prevent the EPA or other agencies from pursuing study of those cases.

 Yes there are many well casings and it is far down, but over time methane and other (worse) chemicals can naturally travel up to our groundwater and the surface outside of the outer-most casing. You could have 50 layers of casings, but that doesn't seal the space between the outer layer and the dirt that is on the outside of the hole you drill into the ground. And remember, the frack itself, a mile or more underground as it may be, blasts holes in the casing as is necessary to pull out the gas.

 Here’s just one example of the technology that is being touted as so great and safe. With extreme pressure used to blast millions of gallons of water thousands of feet underground—enough pressure to push open rock fractures—an enormous amount of faith is put into a one piece of technology called the “blowout preventer.” You'll recall this from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico - it blew out and we all know the rest of that story. The primary company that makes these devices, Cameron International, is considered the gold standard. By Cameron International's own field test results in the wake of the Gulf spill, they reported that their blowout preventers fail 62 out of every 90,000 uses. Doesn't sound like a lot but with the number of wells planned in NY, we'd be looking at well over 60 disasters in NY from that problem alone. Cement casings themselves have much worse rates of failure.

 There is no impressive rapid response to problems. There are two companies that can deal with real disasters such as blowouts: Boots and Coots, and Wild Well Control, both from Texas and with names that suggest a cowboy mentality that presumes this destruction is just a wild ride. When we had a massive well blowout in PA, Chesapeake Energy had to fly them in from Texas, meaning it was more than 12 hours before anyone was even on the ground who had any idea what to do, as it would always be.

 Every stage of the fracking operation releases known and suggested human carcinogens and volatile organic compounds such as benzene (from the wellheads themselves and formaldehyde (from compressor station engines) that are closely linked to various forms of cancer, asthma, respiratory illnesses, destroy air quality, etc. There are serious concerns to prenatal health, brain development, and countless diseases and health conditions.

 The justification for fracking is of course money, primarily jobs. The job creation claims are vastly overstated, and are almost always numbers of "new hires" not net jobs (meaning two people hired on the same day that two people get fired still means two jobs get counted as created). Hand in hand come significant losses to other industries including agriculture, small businesses, tourism, housing values, etc. Furthermore, communities suffer from increased crime rates, transient workers, damage to local infrastructure such as roads and bridges, increased strain on emergency workers, and the burden of having a heavy industrial operation literally in people's backyards. Also in NY for instance, all estimates and projections for economic benefits are currently based on an estimate of accessible gas that is over 400% greater than what the USGS believes is there. Whoops.

 We need energy but we have plenty of natural gas in the US right now. The main draw to increasing fracking is to ship it overseas where it is worth generally at least 3 times as much, hence why we are seeing more and more plans for liquefied petroleum gas facilities being built. We should be investing in renewable energy sources, energy conservation, and a smart grid. Doing so would create more jobs and a far better economic boost for regions where gas drilling would otherwise come in.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A community of hairless apes
Dec 30, 2011 - 10:51pm PT
Interesting (and well-written) post.

I must say, you read like the very narrator of Gasland.

So did you think the documentary, Gasland, presented fairly? Just curious.

What's your line of work? if you don't mind declaring it.
FortMental

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Dec 30, 2011 - 10:54pm PT
Your land is fine.

Sorry PS, your land (may) be fine. If groundwater becomes contaminated, the BSEPA (and associated local/state) agencies will severely restrict what kind of development you can plan on. Forget about retiring on the proceeds of land sales to a residential developer (perhaps not a bad thing). None will buy your land, if needed groundwater is contaminated; even if it's not needed for development on your land, it'll be used against you in your sale (see "brownfield"). Good luck getting it cleaned up.... won't happen.
GuapoVino

Trad climber
All Up In Here
Dec 30, 2011 - 11:06pm PT
Base,

Do you know anything about the gas geysers that were coming to the surface out around Okarche, OK and Kingfisher, OK? I hadn't heard anything about it in a long time. Early speculation was blaming it on a well being drilled by Okarche. There was some fear of it contaminating the ground water. There seemed to be a media blackout of it so I never heard anything more about it, just tidbits that I would hear from my friends in the oil industry.
FortMental

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Dec 30, 2011 - 11:09pm PT
Unless Alpinethrills is Frack Action Executive Director, Claire Sandberg, his text seems to have plagiarized from the following:

08Sandberg-Claire-text
alpinethrills

Trad climber
Olivebridge
Dec 30, 2011 - 11:30pm PT
Fructose, for some time I've been doing environmental work, organizing around various environmental issues. Early in 2011 I left a different job to focus on fracking in NY with Frack Action as it became apparent to me that NY would be terribly mistaken to go down a path of fracking as PA has done. As for Gasland, I think it is effective in getting across many of the significant concerns and yes, even facts, about fracking. At this point it is pretty outdated, given how much new information we learn about fracking each week. Nevertheless, most of what is presented in Gasland is fair, as many analyses have found. The gas industry did put together a smear campaign in an effort to discredit it. Of course it is a documentary, and being limited by the time appropriate for a movie and factoring in a story, it doesn't go into as great detail on every point as possible.

FortMental, I'm not Claire but I work with her and I think I copied two sentences or so - standard points that we bring up as they are rarely realized - from a reference doc that was probably used in that Assembly testimony. If you look more closely, you'll see that I just wrote 95% of my post...just not the one or two lines re stats that I always look up in order to make sure that I not get my numbers wrong.
FortMental

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Dec 30, 2011 - 11:34pm PT
Fair enough, AT. Thanks for clarifying.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Dec 31, 2011 - 12:52pm PT
Uh, yeah, Base, C is the company operating under our land. Jeez I hope you are correct about environmental standards.
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 31, 2011 - 01:53pm PT
Oh,man.

I haven't heard about gas geysers near Okarche, but I can guess. Back in the mid nineties there was a well being drilled down in the SW part of the Anadarko Basin. They were drilling through a high pressure deep gas zone and gas got into the groundwater. In that area there had been a bunch of seismic exploration going back to the old days and the old shot holes all started spewing saltw#ter around the rig.

The old shot holes were for dynamite shots, and about a hundred feet or so deep. These days almost all seismic is done with vibrators. You get a full frequency sweep with those.

You aren't going to get a true blowout from a shale. The permeability is so low that you can perforate that zone and nothing will come out of it. The problem around Okarche, which is actually on one of those maps I posted is that the Woodford is beneath the Springer sandstone series, and the Springer is overpressured gas. So you have to run an extra intermediate casing string in that area. That would be the map of the Cana area that has a zillion vertical gas wells (red star symbols) in it.

There was a Continental Resources well that blew out around there late last summer. Rig burned, the whole bit. That is really rare any more. Pressure control is a pretty refined art now.

If anyone was going to drill on my land, CHK would be at the top of my list. They have a massive environmental compliance division. HFCS could probably get a job with them for huge bucks. They are super serious about everything. One black eye for CHK just isn't worth it. I will post on what happened on the CHK spill last year if anyone wants a pressure lesson on fracs.

As to the list of stuff Alpine Thrills posted, there is a kernel of truth buried in many of the statements, but they are insanely exaggerated. That is the way it is if you have an agenda. You take a kernel of truth and then build a big house of bullshit around it. Oil companies do the same thing. I saw a BP commercial the other night and it made me ill.

I should go work with one of the anti frac'ing outfits just to nab their heads, hold on tight, and point them in the direction where the real environmental risks are.

BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 31, 2011 - 05:52pm PT
OK.

First, why do some reservoir rocks need a frac and others do not?

Permeability of the reservoir rock.

Shales have such low permeability that it can take a year for a methane molecule to migrate five feet towards an induced fracture and make it up the wellbore. These shales are only prospective where they are in the gas thermal maturation window. If it hasn't been cooked to a high enough temperature in the past, it will be oil or heavier gas liquids. They can't make it through a lot of shale reservoirs simply because the molecular diameter is too big to make it through the incredibly small pore throats in the shales.

Shales have such low permeability that they were not even considered to be a target, although it has been known for decades that the mainly devonian shales are the very rocks that source all of the conventional vertical oil and gas wells of entire sedimentary basins. You would drill through the Woodford and get a great gas show on the gas detector present on drilling rigs to look for "shows" of oil and gas.

Many productive basins produce both oil and gas, and they trap in the same way. The hydrocarbons in the basin was in most instances entirely or primarily from these carbon rich shales. Not just any shale will do. They are specific and piss easy to identify and map. That said, there are fairways in all of these plays where the wells are better, mainly due to the physics of the rock. They need to be brittle, and this means a high silica (sand, but very small particles) that will actually fracture.

There are many high permeability zones that do not need a fracture stimulation to produce economically. You drill to the target, hope you hit it, and then simply perforate the casing over the zone and produce the oil or gas. The wells deplete over time, some quite quickly, and eventually the reservoir pressure is so low that the well cannot produce in sufficient quantities and is plugged. Plugging is highly regulated by the producing states, although if you go back to the fifties and sixties, the casing and plugging requirements were poor. That is the primary pathway where subsurface gas can make it to the surface: Old Wells. The regulatory infrastructure in the big producing states are super strict on casing and plugging activities. In Oklahoma, protecting groundwater is the A #1 priority in the entire process. It doesn't cost that much to do it right, and if you read the link to that testimony, they insanely exaggerate problems with modern cement and casing jobs. That is just a fact. A fact, a fact, a fact. No company wants a casing leak or bad cement job. Say what you want about Halliburton, but they are the gold standard for well completions. I have rarely been in wells that used Halliburton because they are super expensive and just not necessary in plain old low pressure oil and gas zones. So company B is usually sufficient for most cementing and frac operations. Not so with the shale fracs. They are super technical, and just finding the appropriate frac recipe in each of these shale zones in various basins has improved to fit each rock.

So. You drill the well and case it for production. I know in the Marcellus that they are now using an extra 2000 foot casing string to cover the fresh water table.

OK. The permeability is so unbelievably low in those shales that you can drill the well, perforate and acidize the perfs (acidizing is where you pump 15% HCL into each set of perforations to dissolve the cement which often invades your formation for a few feet around the wellbore. I have been on tons of acid jobs. The injection pressure is way lower than a frac, and it flows back as CO2, water, and Calcium Chloride. Calcium Chloride is the salt that you see stores tossing on slippery ice at the front door. You can buy it by the ton if you want. So acid jobs are small and are only for cleaning up the perforations.

Back to perfs. After the well is drilled and cased, it is surrounded by an annulus of cement. You lower down a "gun" which is just a pipe with small shape charges to shoot holes in the casing over the specific zone you want to produce. Cementing is now a super refined science. It isn't just any old cement. It is complicated stuff and modern cement jobs are pretty darn good. For instance, I work a lot of limestone reef formations in Kansas. There are stacks of these porous zones on top of each other. You may have a 15 foot thick oil stratum with ten saltw#ter zones within 50 to a hundred feet above or below your target. So you perforate the oil zone and the cement keeps the adjacent saltw#ter zones from flowing into your wellbore. That ruins the well, basically turning it into a saltw#ter well which is plugged. So you only perforate your target. Cementing off the other porous saltw#ter bearing zones is a necessity. It works well, but there are occasionally poor cement jobs that do not isolate your zone and you lose the well and have to plug it. You know instantly when you have a bad cement job. BP should have known it on the Macondo well.

So you now have a drilled well with the target zone isolated and perforated. Shale reservoirs have such low permeability that you can open the sucker up to the surface and all you will get is a puff of gas at the most. The perm is so poor that gas can't migrate to the wellbore without inducing a fracture set.

Frac Process: This is a big industrial looking operation no matter how you look at it. The shale gas wells are frac'd along the 4500 foot to 9000 foot length of the horizontal section, so it is frac'd in stages along the wellbore. What this accomplishes is basically getting the equivalent of anywhere between 4 to 30 vertical wells along the length of the lateral. A vertical well might have a couple of hundred feet of the target shale in a vertical wellbore. If you drill horizontally you have thousands of feet of it in the horizontal leg of the well.

On the shale gas wells it takes a truly huge amount of fresh water. This part of the process is the A #1 problem in the shale fracs. It takes an incredible amount of freshwater (millions of gallons per well), and this puts all kinds of strains on local water supplies. The water had to be very clean from any mud (clay minerals) because those contaminates can clog the fractures. So you are having to truck millions of gallons of water around, and a water truck can only carry about 170 bbls of water per load. So it is an endless supply of trucks taking the water to the site, where it is stored in a pit lined with a thick poly liner similar to what is used in landfills. You have to use a high quality liner, or that fresh water will seep into the groundwater. At this point it is still fresh water stored on location. Nothing added. That happens during the frac job when it all gets blended and injected.

The frac: This involves an incredible amount of horsepower. Not so much to reach the pressure where the failure modulus of the rock to fracture it, but to inject at high rates. After the formation breaks you have to inject at a high rate to propagate the fractures. Since shales have such poor permeability, the aim is to create as many fractures as possible. It is so hard to do this that you can typically only get a fracture radius of a few hundred feet laterally from the wellbore. That is why you see 8 wells per square mile just to drain the accumulation.

Fracs are done in stages. It isn't just pumped in there willy nilly. The wells are perforated in small clusters a hundred to a few hundred feet along the lateral. So in essence, you frac one stage along the wellbore, isolate it with downhole packers, and then move back up and frac'ing a number of stages. The number of stages in some zones is as much as thirty these days, depending on the area and the rock mechanics. These shales are cored first, sent to a lab, and all of the rock physics is worked out to optimize the frac.

In essence, you are creating the equivalent of maybe thirty vertical wells along the length of the fracture for the cost of one very expensive horizontal.

When you frac a low permeability rock, the frac fluid is under high pressure. When you move the frac operation off of the pad, the well is under high pressure. You open up the well and that frac fluid comes screaming back at you. It is now contaminated with salt from the saltw#ter liberated along with the gas, so it needs to be handled with care. Chloride contamination of an aquifer is a disaster. Your water well suddenly becomes a saltw#ter well. You can't fix it, and you are looking at a big time landowner lawsuit.

This fluid comes back and is flowed back to the lined pit to be hauled off and disposed of in a deep porous injection zone. This is no big deal, disposing of the water. The Marcellus unfortunately has no sweet injection zone like we have in the mid continent...the Arbuckle/Ellenberger group.

You won't get all of the frac water back, but you get almost all of it back in a month or so. As the water flows back it begins to turn into a gas well which lifts the fluid and eventually the frac fluid is recovered and you have a gas well. Water in the wellbore creates high hydrostatic pressure and in essence kills the well until you can get that water back.

The high pressure part of the operation is the frac. Shale gas wells have notoriously low flowing pressure which is directly related to the low permeability of the shale itself. So after they go online, they are actually easy to control. The scary part is when you move in a small completion rig and open up the well to flow the load water back.

It is much scarier to drill a 22,000 foot gas well into an overpressured zone. That well might have 10,000 psia at the wellhead. Those are plain un-frac'd high pressure wells. There is infinitely more risk of having gas migrate up the annulus of the casing strings in these types of wells. 10,000 psi at the wellhead is a lot scarier than 1000 pounds of pressure at the wellhead. And shale gas wells have a very steep decline. They are pidly little gas wells after a year or two, sometimes as little as a few months. They will continue to produce for a long time at much lower rates, but the flowing pressure is low and the rates settle down. This is a hyperbolic decline curve, and I can look at a well decline and get an idea of permeability at a glance. I look at that many wells.

You also may need a million pounds of sand, which is also injected as a proppant to keep the fractures from closing after the frac job. Do you have any idea of how many truckloads it takes to put a million pounds of sand on a drilling location? That is why the roads are covered with trucks hauling material around. After the drilling is done in your area this dies back to almost nothing. So these people have to live with what is basically an industrial operation going on in their neighborhoods and they don't like it. That is totally valid and understandable.

The real problem with shale fracs is that this all involves an incredible amount of trucking and puts a strain on municipal water supplies in certain areas. It is no big deal in most places, but I see a lot of bitching in the Marcellus, and I assume it is factual. This is the root of the problem. Drilling and completing these wells is a big industrial process, and if for none other than aesthetic reasons, it is a beehive of industrial activity just hauling that stuff around. Hauling is where the surface contamination is also at most risk simply from spills.

The spent frac water that flows back is usually high in chlorides...plain old table salt, and chlorides in the groundwater will ruin an aquifer. That is why casing integrity is so important. And hey, if you get a casing leak in your production liner, you know it. You have a wellhead on there that connects to each casing string. If you blow your production liner you will see a huge spike in the annulus between that string and the shallower intermediate string. I mean, you know it instantly. A well with that problem is not that common, but if it happens you have to go fix the casing leak or plug the well, as it won't produce properly.

You know instantly of a casing rupture because the wellhead has pressure gauges on each casing string. The pressure gauge on the annulus of the producion string will spike, and the pressure on the production string will fall dramatically. Anyone with two feet can sneak onto a location and look at the pressure gauges. It is simple.

So you inject the frac water, mixing it with sand at the appropriate ratio, and also at that point mix it with the dreaded chemicals which are mainly drag reducers and clay stabilizers. The well will flow almost all of this fluid back. Remember that. Now you have to deal with it. Running it through city treatment plants or spraying it on roads for deicing is crazy, but has been done in the Marcellus. It isn't some cyanide laced deadly mix, but the load water picks up dissolved solids from the actual shale formation which famously includes barium and other things that you just don't want in your rivers and lakes. This is the big problem with the Marcellus: disposing of the frac water that flows back. It is no big deal in most basins because there are deep porous zones that will take zillions of bbls of fluid injection without pressuring up the disposal zone. The Marcellus, from my research, has a big problem becuase it lacks a deep disposal zone that is full of salwater and always will be full of saltw#ter.

It isn't like you explode the subsurface and rip holes in the surface. These zones are very deep, and although it sounds like a lot of fluid, it is nigh impossible for it to migrate through the rock itself to the surface. The obvious and well known permeability pathway to the surface is the wellbore itself. I know that Chesapeake is going overboard on the surface casing, running not only the surface conductor string and the surface string over any aquifer, but tossing in a 2000 foot cemented string for good measure. I heard that this is costing about 800 grand per well. They don't have to do it, and I'm not sure if other operators go the extra mile on this, but Chesapeake realizes that the frac issue is no longer about science. It is about public opinion. Chesapeake has its own rig fleet. Top of the line. I know people who work there, and they are the cream of the crop.

The only place that I know of with a problem of radioactive formation water is the Permian Basin in SW Texas. They had been using old production tubing for fences, playgrounds, you name it. Then they figured out that the scale accumulation in the tubing was loaded with NORM. Naturally occuring radioactive material. So that was a major freakout that was frantically cleaned up by removing all of that tubing. This was discovered in the seventies and is now well known.

Now. How do you actually know where these fractures go? This is something that nobody seems to know or admit. In order to study the fracs and maximize thier effectiveness, microseismic of frac jobs has been going of for over a decade. It is a lot like 3D seismic, where you get a great picture of subsurface features. It is super hot science.

You hire a seismic company for this. They lay out an array of geophones, which more or less listen. As the fractures propagate, they make noise, and the surface array can pick this up and model it. It shows you where the fractures are going. I have seen it up in the 3D room, and it is really cool. The objective is to maximize fractures in the shale and not to let fractures get out of zone. This can be a huge problem in parts of the Barnett in Texas because it lies on top of saltw#ter filled zones in some areas. If you get a fracture height that busts into the water zone, you lose your well. It will produce saltw#ter.

So you can see where the fractures are going. They do this to actually increase the frac effectiveness. On all of the ones I have seen, you may see one or two fractures that get fifty or a hundred feet out of zone..and these wells are 8000 to 10,000 feet deep. The problem is you find places along the wellbore with poor fracture density and hence it won't recover the oil or gas. I have seen it in shale gas wells and normal oil zones that are now being drilled with the big fracs.

I mean, I look at physics. And it isn't complicated.

The problem with the Marcellus is that it was never an oil or gas field and suddenly there is this massive rush of drilling and all of the damn trucking and industry that invades their countryside. I understand this and it is a super valid point. What they need to realize is that after the drilling in an area is done, you will end up with just wellheads producing gas. Not an oil field with wells every forty acres, which would be much worse, but bad enough for some people. Quiet farms are now overrun with massive trucking and huge rigs drilling. I saw the same thing in the Arkoma Basin. The drilling there has really slowed down because the sweet spot has been developed. Now you have a bunch of wellheads producing natural gas, and they behave like any normal gas well. Better in most cases because of the low flowing pressure of the wells.

I read that link above to the testimony that person gave and it is so skewed and crazy. He said that these wells are like thousands of dirty bombs just waiting to go off. Lying and exaggerating are not going to serve these people well.

I was sent a link to a 30 minute lecture from a guy from Princeton or some place. The guy had evidently worked at Schlumberger in the past and was passing himself off as an expert. He had his facts so wrong and it was so full of falsehoods. The guy didn't now jack. Now how are these people going to know the difference?

This is a lot like ANWR. What has happened is that the drilling boom there has caused a lot of concern because of the big industrial nature of these well completions. I can understand that. I don't worry about it in some places, because there isn't an inch of land that hasn't felt the plow or the logger. A corn field is not natural.

The coastal plain of ANWR is probably the most breathtaking wild country that I have ever seen, and most of you know that I have spent whole summers up there wandering around alone.

It is mainly the state of Alaska that spits out the propaganda over ANWR. Only 2000 acres will be disturbed and that crap. Well, the coastal plain will be politely industrialized. That is it. I am rabidly against drilling there for that reason. It is pretty easy to control land spills, so I have no doubt that it can be done fairly safely. I just don't want to see the wildest area in the U.S. to have a ton of production sites all over it. I have crossed that coastal plain at least 6 times on foot. I know what it is like. It is heaven.

Sure, when the wells are depleted it will be restored, but that tundra shows every scar on it for a thousand years. Yeah, it is mainly aesthetic, but the USGS put out a resource assesment inflating the probable reserves and the state of Alaska needs the money from the production, which is taxed in all states I know of except California. Alaska has no visible means of support and since 90% of the wankers never leave Anchorage, they don't give a damn about the place.

So I do understand the feelings over all of this industrialization of the countryside. It is limited to the well pads and pipeline right of ways, but it isn't pretty until the drilling part is over. So I understand it on a purely aesthetic basis. That should be good enough, and the anti frac people only do themselves a disservice when they make crap up.

The state of Alaska funds this outfit called Arctic Power, and they post pictures of all of the happy caribou around Prudhoe Bay. It is propaganda, and I hate it no matter which side is dishing it out. Arctic Power is f*#king evil. Go hit their website someday. It is the worst pro oil outfit that I have ever seen. I believe Exxon even stopped giving them money they are so bad.

I also know that the fresh water in upstate New York is unbelievably high quality. So the onus should be on the industry that they can do it right. They can do it right, but New York just has little experience in this area. So they are scared. I understand this, but the anti frac crowd should stop being stupid about the science and look at it from a factual point of view. The shale gas wells put a big strain on fresh water supplies, and moving all of that stuff around by truck is a nightmare.

Other than that, it is a gas field. The same thing goes on in droves all over the country.

As for Gasland, there was one example of pollution that was very real. The problem was that it was impossible for the average person to tell what was real and what was cherry picked information. I hold that film right up there with the BS coming from the other side in Arctic Power in Alaska.

Phew.
GuapoVino

Trad climber
All Up In Here
Dec 31, 2011 - 07:18pm PT
Below is a link to an article about the gas geysers by Okarche. I want to say that I am not stirring the pot or anything like that. I am fascinated by the oil industry and are genuinely curious about stuff like this. I remember watching the local news one night and they lead into a story about this and was going to come back to it after the commercial, but when they came back they didn't say anything about it. I thought it was odd.

I have a friend who drills water wells and he told me that one of the oil/gas companies was supplying people in the area with drinking water until they determined if the ground water was effected. I asked a friend of mine who is a petroleum engineer about it and he told me that (at that time) it wasn't yet determined what the cause was, but that it was looking like the problem was traced back to one well that had been drilled without following certain precautions that are required in this particular area from some reason. He said that his company won't even drill in this area because it is too risky for things like this to happen. I asked him about it recently and he said that it kind of died down and he really hadn't heard what the final conclusion was. I have always been curious what the outcome was but have never been able to find anything about it other than the initial news articles.

http://enidnews.com/x518641918/Mysterious-Kingfisher-area-gas-geysers-leave-officials-puzzled

http://enidnews.com/x518641990/Corporation-Commission-thinks-drilling-might-be-causing-geysers/print
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 31, 2011 - 08:43pm PT
That is in the Cana Woodford play. Lots of activity there.

What most likely happened was that they had a problem with the overpressured Springer formation, which you have to drill through to get to the Woodford in this area. There is a ton of Springer production here.

No way is gas in the groundwater natural in that area.

That can happen when you have to drill through an overpressured zone. An overpressured zone is just a gas accumulation that has higher pressure than a normal pressure gradient of around .445 psi/ft. They are scary and you can blow out. This is the area where a blowout occurred this summer, also from the Springer. Rig burned and all that. You don't see too many blowouts these days like you see in the movie "Hellfighters." It does happen, though.

This happened twice back in the late nineties down in the deep Anadarko. It isn't the end of the world for the aquifer, like saltw#ter contamination is, but it isn't good in any way.

Hey, stir the pot on real world issues.

You are also correct that many companies avoid this area simply because of the greater cost associated with getting through the Springer Sandstones to the underlying Woodford Shale. There is an area over to the west in Ellis County where the Morrow formation is also overpressured.
GuapoVino

Trad climber
All Up In Here
Dec 31, 2011 - 08:54pm PT
Hey, I just realized that I know some of your in-laws. I went to school with Michelle since grade school and have known James for years. One of my hiking/climbing buddies lived with James in college and I would hang out over there a lot back in those day. I think he now works with your wife at DEQ. Small World.
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Dec 31, 2011 - 09:17pm PT
That is too funny. James is coming over right now to pick me up to go over to play with his kids. I am still hobbling around from knee surgery.

Otherwise I wouldn't be spending hours on the taco!

Yeah, my wife is a big cheese at the DEQ. That is why I usually hear of any big problems in the oilfield around here.

Michelle is grooving out in Santa Barbara now with her long term boyfriend. She is so cool.
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Jan 1, 2012 - 01:36pm PT
El Guapo,

I read those news stories about the gas geysers near Okarche. I couldn't place it until I saw the date...2005. That is long before the horizontal play kicked off in that area.

That was a plain jane vertical well that was drilling. Same thing happened down north of Granite in the 90's on a Marathon well.

So that is one of the two famous cases in OK that I have been citing as examples of how gas usually gets into groundwater.

That Okarche well and the one down in Beckham County are famous, and the only big cases I know of in OK since I got out of school back in the eighties.

You ought to read the link posted above that shows the public comment this person gave. He called all of the gas wells dirty bombs just waiting to go off.

If you read nothing that I have said, read this: After the frac the well flows back all or nearly all of the frac water that is injected. It doesn't turn into a gas well until it spits all of that fluid back. Fluid in the well can kill a gas well. The hydrostatic pressure of the fluid column in the wellbore can exceed the formation pressure. So the well won't flow.

After you get the frac load back it is just a gas well. And the shale gas wells are low pressure gas wells to boot.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Jan 1, 2012 - 04:32pm PT
So Base104, the area around Twilight (my mom's farm, now mostly in the ownership of a good cousin, though we have retained a bit) outside of Wheeling WVA, is a 'safe bet'. I don't like the idea of us still relying on fossil fuels (though I have, somewhat benefitted financially from it), but I am still a realist (I think).

I just know if the sh*t hits the fan (in Ireland, EU and even US) that I still have a plot of (safe) land that Jennie and I can settle on. Just a shame the sea is so far away from WVA, after all, Jen grew up near the Irish Sea and myself the Bay Area, but we do have Wheeling Creek coursing through our land.

And yes, in these days and time if Chesapeake can return me some money, as long as environmental standards are kept, I'll gladly bank the check.
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
Jan 1, 2012 - 07:01pm PT
The problem is that the hysteria is so wrong.



When each of the gas company executives has a fracing well all around their homes and they don't truck in their drinking/bathing water…. Then I may consider the hysteria wrong… Until then (and I know it is highly unlikely that it will ever happen) I have to say no thanks, do proper studying, back to the drawing board, find a safe way to gather energy….

And now that I think about it….

Why don't they, the gas companies, go in search of their gas in major population centers?

Is it because there just happens to be no gas available in major population centers?
Is it because they (gas companies) know that its not safe, and they would never hear the end of it from the populations within those centers?

I think we all know the answers. Its too bad that even on a climbing site there are folks who would advocate such destruction of the environment...
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jan 1, 2012 - 10:37pm PT
I think we all know the answers. Its too bad that even on a climbing site there are folks who would advocate such destruction of the environment...

Do we? Can we not conclude that, say, farming is equally unsafe because we don't see commercial farms in the middle of population centers?

Those who understand economics understand the nonesense of your statement.

John
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Jan 1, 2012 - 11:20pm PT
That is pretty funny. Oklahoma City lies on top of the Oklahoma City oil and gas field, the biggest in the state. There is still drilling going on regularly inside the city limits.

A company that I do some work for has been in a number of wells in the NW part of the city....all frac'd. Big fracs.

That is also the rich part of town. The entire BOD of two of the biggest natural gas companies in the country live there. I can drive you by their houses. I have seen Aubrey McClendon's house, anyway. He is the CEO of Chesapeake. Devon Energy and SandRidge are also in OKC. That covers much of the biggest horizontal companies in the US.

There are wells drilled beneath Lake Hefner, the city water supply. The city likes the royalty checks. You can't use any motor boat on that lake. Sailing and kiting only.

For me, this is kind of like arguing evolution with a crowd of people from 1000 BC. It is just too complicated.

I'll make a funny post here in a sec if you want to read it.

If you want to see a website that is totally full of propaganda, go look at this site:

http://www.anwr.org/

This is where all of the ditto heads go for their info on ANWR.

BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Jan 1, 2012 - 11:22pm PT
Whoa. Just saw Jingy's last sentence.

Buddy, I wish you were saying that to my face.
onyourleft

climber
Smog Angeles
Jan 2, 2012 - 12:21am PT
I've been reading this thread with a somewhat detached curiosity until I got to this:

The only place that I know of with a problem of radioactive formation water is the Permian Basin in SW Texas. They had been using old production tubing for fences, playgrounds, you name it. Then they figured out that the scale accumulation in the tubing was loaded with NORM. Naturally occuring radioactive material. So that was a major freakout that was frantically cleaned up by removing all of that tubing. This was discovered in the seventies and is now well known.

My father was a production engineer for Shell Oil for over forty years and I was a child of the oil fields. As an aspiring hippie/environmentalist we had "lively" discussions over the record of the oil industry. I cut him some slack since it was clear to me that my middle-class upbringing was financed by big oil. In 1970, my dad was transferred to the Permian Basin, and I finished high school in Midland, TX.

In the summer of 1972, after my freshman year of college, my dad secured me a summer job at a plant in Midland called "Tube-Kote." The plant received daily truckloads of 40' joints of 2 1/2" oilfield tubing that had been pulled from wells after the tubing had become clogged with unmentionable gack and was now unusable. The joints of tubing were loaded on a rail car, run into a massive gas oven, baked at hellacious temps for several hours to burn out the gack. Then the insides of the tubes were sandblasted with long wands and all the charred detritus was blown out the ends using compressed air. The final step was to spray the inside of the tubes with a plastic/teflon coating and the re-furbed tubes were trucked back to the oilfields for a presumed new and longer life.

And now you're telling me all that gack that I burned, breathed, and shoveled all day every day for an entire summer was likely radioactive???

Something else to worry about, thanks.
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
Jan 2, 2012 - 09:32am PT
Oklahoma City lies on top of the Oklahoma City oil and gas field, the biggest in the state. There is still drilling going on regularly inside the city limits.

A company that I do some work for has been in a number of wells in the NW part of the city....all frac'd. Big fracs.

That is also the rich part of town. The entire BOD of two of the biggest natural gas companies in the country live there. I can drive you by their houses. I have seen Aubrey McClendon's house, anyway. He is the CEO of Chesapeake.


Good evidence BASE104.
Good post.

So, you mean that hydro-frac is for the most part safe as can be. I'm assuming then that the cases of some (many?) populations drinking water being contaminated with unknown substances (mainly because the substances are proprietary secrets) is rare in your view, and possibly due to the shady practices of those companies that you don't work for....

Would you say that it is always best to do the frac anywhere and everywhere possible then?

Yes, it is complicated.
Yes, I have limited (i.e. not industry specific) information about the process of hydrolic fracturing and gas extraction.

Does this mean I cannot or should not raise questions about it?

Instead of heralding the successes of those companies that have extracted without incident of their secret poisons leaching into ground waters you be better served by raising the boats of those companies that leave destruction in their wakes. Sort of bringing up all companies to the level of those successful ones.

Also, minimizing the dangers never a good thing. Think how it would be if anyone who started climbing thought that they would live forever by doing so.

It is because it is inherantly dangerous that it should be taken seriously.... becuase it is.


Don't take my words personally. I am an idiot, and words on a forum have never meant a thing to anyone outside of those who have read the words.

Good day sir
GuapoVino

Trad climber
All Up In Here
Jan 2, 2012 - 10:23am PT
Whoa, I hope I didn't add to the hysteria or throw fuel on the fire by asking my questions or posting those links. That wasn't my intent. I was curious about how that one particular event happened and turned out. Some of you guys turned my question into proof that wells are dangerous.

I live in the area that Base talked about with the wells in a metro area. They're pretty common. They're almost like (but not as numerous as) a telephone pole, a fire hydrant or an electrical transformer. They're just there and you drive by them and don't even notice them. I've seen wells right in the middle of housing developments. The wells were there first and the development was built around them.

I develop land, or used to before the economy went down the tubes. Most people don't think twice about living in proximity to a well, as long as it's not too close to their house (asthetics/view). We have bought land before that has a well on it and developed around it. In those cases really the only thing you're worried about is will the location of the well make it difficult to lay out streets/lots/etc or make it an unavoidable focal point as you drive in. We looked at one property that had three wells on it. Unfortunately the location of the wells made it almost impossible to lay out a neighborhood. If they had just drilled the wells all over at one side it would have worked out, of course when they drilled them many decades ago the land was in the middle of nowhere and the last thing on their mind was the future sale-ability of the land for a purpose other than agriculture. The owner is not going to be able to sell his land as long as the wells are there, but it's not because they're hazerdous. It's because they're all in the "wrong" spot.

I also built a house for a friend of mine who is a petroleum engineer. He is on a water well. An oil well went in about one mile from his house. He wasn't concerned about it. I guess that says something.
Studly

Trad climber
WA
Jan 2, 2012 - 12:24pm PT
Evidentally not quite as safe as you would have us believe since they are shutting down the drilling and fracking as they think it is causing earthquakes in Ohio...interesting
http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/31/us/ohio-earthquake/index.html
Studly

Trad climber
WA
Jan 2, 2012 - 12:33pm PT
and now people's wells are exploding and people can light their tap water on fire...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/09/fracking-methane-flammable-drinking-water-study_n_859677.html
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
Jan 2, 2012 - 10:55pm PT
Studly - This is really only a small percentage of a very small percentage of a fraction of all the fracing operations going on all over the US….

This is certainly no real indication that hydro-fracing is not completely safe, or very minimally dangerous.

Just listen to Base104…


Base - Sorry if it seems that I am still not a believer in the line I'm being fed. I know that anyone making money in the business can hardly be an impartial judge to any of it… Just ask anyone on an oil-rig if drilling for oil is safe (not just for people, but for ecosystems as well). What you think they are going to say?
weschrist

Gym climber
left sac
Jan 3, 2012 - 11:20am PT
The concept of Peak Oil is pretty simple and absolutely real. Any limited natural resource under accelerated production/extraction will eventually reach a maximum of availability, and then taper off until the resource is exhausted.

Ever hear of Peak Water? Similar issue, only fresh water is getting nailed from two sides... production/extraction AND contamination. Land-subsidence from groundwater extraction reduces the amount of water an aquifer can hold. Subsidence here in Las Vegas is 6' since WWII. Erring on the small side and assuming the aquifer is ~10 mi by 10 mi in area, that is a reduction of over 100 billion gallons of holding capacity.

JE may be able to speak to this better with all his marginal costs stuff that I will never comprehend, but it seems to cost far more to treat/clean water from a contaminated aquifer than we as a society would ever gain from WHATEVER industrial use (petroleum, fertilizers, nuclear waste, etc), despite cutting edge techniques.
Dr. F.

climber
Retired Climber, SoCal
Jan 3, 2012 - 12:50pm PT
Fracking has been Causing Earth Quakes in Ohio

Oil and gas 'fracking' wastewater caused 11 earthquakes in Ohio: seismologist

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/oil-gas-fracking-wastewater-caused-11-earthquakes-ohio-seismologist-article-1.1000228#ixzz1iQ1Wowbh
FortMental

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Jan 3, 2012 - 01:00pm PT
Oil and gas 'fracking' wastewater caused 11 earthquakes...

Somehow, pumping wastewater 6,000' below grade has morphed into 'fracking'. Dumb-shiht press fukking up the facts. As usual.

Doesn't sound very different from pump induced earthquakes in geothermal operations in California and Switzerland.

Earth is pissed!
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Jan 3, 2012 - 01:57pm PT
Whoa. Stop the presses. You guys just missed it!

The link above to gas in groundwater is absolutely not to be dismissed. That new paper was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the best journal in the U.S. Peer review in that journal is extremely thorough. It is the cream of scientific journals.

So I emailed a buddy of mine at Chesapeake and said that every Marcellus well should have pre-installed monitoring wells installed around it.

He just emailed me back, and Chesapeake is already doing it, and has been for some time. I need to ask whether they are sampling existing water wells or actually drilling a network of monitoring wells. Chesapeake is that serious about it, though. No modern large company wants a pollution problem. They just want to drill to the deep gas and produce it with no fuss. For a company like Chesapeake, even one incident isn't worth it.

Now it should be noted that in the paper they didn't find any evidence of actual frac fluid in the groundwater sampling. That doesn't surprise me one bit.

The PNAS paper couldn't tell where the gas was coming from, so this needs to be figured out. With a ton of monitoring wells it should be fairly easy.

No way to know without really getting after the study and trying to verify the results in the PNAS paper, though.

The PNAS also has some sweet global warming articles. Papers in super reputable peer reviewed journals can't be dismissed with a wave of the hand. Rush Limbaugh can say it all he wants, but he can't change physical evidence.

Believe it or not, there is great evidence of CO2 caused global warming in the fossil record. Unfortunately it gets shouted down by the deniers, who will never accept anything. Who know this? Mainly the petroleum geologists who work the subsurface and very old rocks. I will tell you that most petroleum geologists are conservative Limbaugh clones, though. I feel pretty lonely sometimes.

I accepted human induced climate change back in the nineties. The science was that good even back then.

Such is science when you have a bunch of non scientists interpreting the evidence however they like, though. Limbaugh or Exxon or Frack Action can get it all wrong, and nobody knows the difference.

So here is some good science that needs to be addressed.

I know the probable source, but I will wait on the science. I will say that this most likely has nothing to do with the frac. Those big freshwater fracs are the most benign fracs of them all. You ought to see a big crosslinked gelled saltw#ter or an acid frac or a CO2 or Nitrogen foam frac.
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Jan 3, 2012 - 02:27pm PT
Yeah, disposal wells have been associated with earthquakes for decades. It is really rare, but it isn't difficult to correlate to the disposal well. The earthquakes are very shallow, up in the sedimentary rocks.

The Ohio case, just from the basic numbers that I read, make me 90% certain that it was caused by the disposal well.

There are zillions of disposal wells. Almost all oil wells also produce saltw#ter. Some wells make thousands of barrels per day of saltw#ter.

They either have a disposal well on the location or truck it to a commercial disposal well. Those wells are tightly regulated and have to go through annual casing integrity tests. That is called an MIT, or mechanical integrity test.

The earquake/disposal well link really came about from a couple of hazardous waste disposal wells at Rocky Flats in Denver, where they work with nukes and stuff. There were earthquakes associated clearly with the disposal wells and they were plugged. Earthquakes stopped. There used to be a few hazardous waste disposal wells for industry, not oil and gas related. I am pretty sure that they have all been shut down now. That was an old and bad idea.

The Ohio well will be shut in and plugged, trust me. It was shut in right after the earthquake. What happens is that if you inject with enough pressure you will pressure up your disposal zone. There are old faults all over the place in the interior US. If you increase the pore pressure it can lubricate the old fault plane and cause it to slip. That said, I know of many, many disposal wells right next to faults and they have no problem.

There is also a big correlation with geothermal wells and earthquakes as well. It is really common on some hydrothermal injection wells, which is clean energy.

The difference between a frac job and an injection well is this: The biggest frac jobs may inject 80,000 barrels of water, and the well immediately flows most of that right back in the first month. The injection wells may inject more than 10,000 barrels per day. And they do it for decades. A barrel is 42 gallons.

We have a perfect disposal zone in the mid continent: The Arbuckle/Ellenburger formation. It is super porous and permable, and usually at least a thousand feet thick. You can pump water into that sucker until the end of time without pressuring it up. Unfortunately, the Marcellus area is not blessed with such a good disposal zone. So what to do with all of that frac water that flows back? That is the real problem in the Marcellus.

There has to be at least 100,000 saltw#ter disposal wells in the country. The earthquake cases are super rare. The solution is to stop the injection in that particular well.

A basic principle of science is this: correlation does not equal causation. If you go off all half cocked on causation you run a huge risk of not determing the true cause. That goes for all sciences. There is experience, although uncommon, of injection wells causing earthquakes. The location of the disposal well to the Ohio earthquake and the shallow depth that it occurred makes it likely that it was caused by the disposal well. I don't know for certain, but I am sure that they have it nailed after a week of study. It isn't THAT complicated.
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Jan 3, 2012 - 02:46pm PT
Yeah, as for what people call "Peak Oil," most geologists, and even bean counters, in the industry now think that the world has already passed its production peak.

That is not the really scary number. The scary number is when demand exceeds supply.

We are so insanely addicted to oil that it is like air. If you have a room full of people and the room is running out of air, people will pay anything for one of those last breaths. Oil prices are going to do the same thing. Rise to insane levels. The only reason that gas is expensive is because of demand.

We will see it in our lifetimes.

The way the US can stop the bloodshed is simple: use less.

We used to use a little over 20 million barrels per day. During the Arab oil crisis in the seventies, Carter put in all kinds of conservation laws. Does anyone remember him giving talks to the nation in a sweater? Everyone got behind it and turned their thermostats down to 68 in the winter instead of 72. Tiny cars like the Civic ruled the market and Detroit gas guzzlers went out of style.

Result? Carter took us from 20+ million bbls/day down to 15+ million bbls/day. That has never been remotely reached before or since. Prices crashed in the early eighties and gas was cheap again. Everyone started driving gas hogs again. Even now everyone thinks that they need a Dodge Ram or SUV. Result? We now consume more than 20 million bbls/day all over again.

That is the secret energy policy of Dick Cheney: Cheap oil at any price.

We can cut our dependence on foreign oil by a massive amount just from changing our habits. The damn Republicans keep blocking lower CAFE standards, though. They are neanderthals when it comes to energy and climate change.

No lie. Carpool when you can. Buy a high mileage car. Don't fly too much because that is the most fuel intensive form of transportation of them all.

We should also be using natural gas as a transportation fuel. It is the least carbon emitting of any of the fossil fuels and it is abundant and cheap. It won't last forever, but it will bridge us towards truly clean energy. US oil production is declining rapidly and nothing will really change that. "Drill baby, drill" is the biggest load of bullsh#t.

The only fuel we have in abundance here is coal and natural gas. Coal is filthy, but it is by far the most efficient fuel for electricity generation. Odds are that your computer is burning coal at this very second.

They even build coal fired power plants in Texas and Oklahoma. That really makes the natural gas industry ill.

Everone is all hung up on fracs. The real pollution comes out of all of our tailpipes. I wish it was purple so people could see it.
FortMental

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Jan 3, 2012 - 02:54pm PT
Odds are that your computer is burning coal at this very second.

Your electric bill may come with a check-box allowing you to mandate that "all" (or, in our case, %90) of your juice comes from wind power. It adds about %20 to your bill and provides incentive for the utility to expand wind generated electricity and distribution infrastructure. Ultimately, we have to put the money where the mouth is.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Jan 3, 2012 - 02:57pm PT
Everytime I see this thread title I can hear the Talking Heads, Psycho Killer and the send up song

Psycho Chicken (whatthef*#k?)

HydroFracking... what the f*#k?

DMT
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Jan 3, 2012 - 03:15pm PT
The way the US can stop the bloodshed is simple: use less.

Yeah, sure, and let competing nations get a leg up on us? That will be the argument for the alternative strategy, spoken or unspoken.

I'm sure you've heard of the "tragedy of the commons" and game theory.

Base, what's your view on the value trend of the oil companies as century ends and oil runs out? If you've got stock when do you get out?

.....

re: Carter and his leadership in conservation

I'm sure you've heard of "the Carter Curse". Today's political leadership wants no part of it.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jan 3, 2012 - 03:25pm PT
Yeah, as for what people call "Peak Oil," most geologists, and even bean counters, in the industry now think that the world has already passed its production peak.

That is not the really scary number. The scary number is when demand exceeds supply.

I know of no economist who disagrees with your first paragraph, BASE, but I'm not sure what your last sentence means.

By "demand" do you mean quantity demanded? If so, that (and the quantity supplied) depends on price. Thus an inequality of supply and demand implies an inappropriate price. If you mean a schedule of quantities demanded at various prices (or quantities supplied at various prices), then an inequality of supply and demand follows by definition -- you would not expect to find the same quantity supplied and demanded at any particular price. That would occur only at an equilibrium price.

What I find scary is governmental attempts to manipulate petroleum and fuel prices (usually to make them too low). Since most of the economic players are well aware of the oil extraction situation, and are similarly aware that dependence on petroleum-based fuels at current levels is unsustainable, current prices, supply contracts, and long/short positions already reflect anticipated future events.

Despite this, I still read on this forum and elsewhere analyses (not yours) that imply that the price will stay at the current level, then suddenly jump to infinity when we "discover" we're out of petroleum. In fact, the market's actors already know we're out of petroleum; they just don't know when. Long-term prices reflect the participants' best guesses as to when.

While I can justify CAFE standards, for example, by noting that markets discount future pain, I personally think the real advantage of things like CAFE comes elsewhere. Specifically, one of the disadvantages of driving most modern low-consumption vehicles is their relatively slight mass. In a collision with a vehicle of greater mass, the more fuel-efficient but lighter vehicle usually ends up with the worst of it. CAFE, for all its other faults (and there are many), is at least a way to deal with the external safety cost to other drivers of potentially colliding with a tank disguised as an SUV, say.

I realize this has little to do with the topic at hand, but I personally think the topic of "peak oil" has had way too much sway in certain non-economic circles, and led to some often absurd analyses.

Thanks again for your excellent contributions on this thread.

John
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 3, 2012 - 03:56pm PT
I haven't checked this thread out because I figured it would just be the
usual name-calling. Imagine my pleasant surprise to see reasoned debate!
I better go lie down.

ps
Argentina is going to take another run at the Falklands because they think
they're going to find gas and/or oil out there. That's what rising demand
will do!
FortMental

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Jan 3, 2012 - 04:06pm PT
That's what rising demand will do!

That's what peak oil will do! It might take another another 50 years, but after pumping oil out of the Mariana Trench and poking holes in every granitic pluton on the planet, it'll be time to finally render earth's obese population into liquid gold.... can't wait to put Fattard into my gas tank!
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Jan 3, 2012 - 06:12pm PT
can't wait to put Fattard into my gas tank!

Waling V2.

DMT
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Jan 3, 2012 - 06:18pm PT
Argentina is going to take another run at the Falklands because they think
they're going to find gas and/or oil out there. That's what rising demand
will do!

And China is going all out to become a naval power over the Spratly Islands and other off shore sources.
Splater

climber
Grey Matter
Jan 4, 2012 - 12:48pm PT
"Coal is nasty stuff. You won't find a petroleum geologist on the planet who likes coal. It is the most carbon intensive fuel of all. Natural gas is the least. Still bad enough for the atmosphere though."

Natural gas is not as clean as we thought.
Due to leaks, a lot of methane enters the atmosphere.
Methane is 23 times higher at greenhouse effect than CO2.

No one knows the exact leakage rate, but some have estimated roughly 4-7%.
4.5 x 23 = 100% additional greenhouse effect, which is a doubling.
So natural gas may be not be a great improvement in terms of greenhouse effect, unless the leakage rate can be decreased to 2.5% or less.
Some efforts are being made to do that.
Natural gas is still cleaner than coal in many other ways.

http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/09/09/315845/natural-gas-switching-from-coal-to-gas-increases-warming-for-decades/
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/15/business/energy-environment/15degrees.html
http://www.bu.edu/bostonia/fall11/gas-leaks/
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Jan 4, 2012 - 03:28pm PT
Methane is indeed a powerful greenhouse gas. If you look into it the only thing good about that is that Methane breaks down within 15 years or so. The only real way to sequester CO2 is for little tiny foraminifera and other bugs with a carbonate shell to die and rain down to the ocean floor.

OK. Peak Oil. This is much simpler than it sounds. The peak refers to the maximum production capacity.

For instance, oil was discovered in the US around the turn of the century (for practical reasons, that date is good). There was a huge amount of drilling, and with new discoveries the production capacity of the US grew. It far exceeded demand at several points and was actually cheaper than a barrel of water.

Anyway, the production capacity grew and grew and grew with more discoveries. Back in the early seventies, the production capacity in the US peaked at X number of bbls per day. It has been falling ever since.

Production capacity is one thing. So many bbls per day.

Demand is a totally different number. X number of bbls per day of consumption.

It is very easy to look back and actually see the peak in production capacity in the US, and the US has already produced more oil than any country other than the total reserves of Saudi Arabia. 190 billion bbls or so.

Lets say that production capacity was 100 million bbls per day. Demand is 80 or 90 worldwide. I haven't looked it up in a while.

So production capacity peaks at 101 million bbls per day. There are new discoveries all of the time, but depletion of older fields is greater than new discoveries are taking place. So lets say that 101 million bbls per day is the number.

You can drill all you want and not increase production capacity. Most production comes from the super giant fields that were discovered pre-1950 or so.

Production capacity starts to fall from that 101 million bbls per day number. Production has peaked and will now fall until the end of time.

Demand is still 90 million bbls per day, so even though production has peaked, you still have 10 million bbls/day of excess capacity out there. Controlling the spigot on this 10 million bbl per day is entirely in the hands of the few countries with the excess oil: Saudi Arabia mainly.

Since production is now falling, supply will now start falling until it meets the demand number.

When the production capacity number hits the consumption number, you then have a problem. When demand starts to exceed supply, it will be bloodshed. Oil is like air for our species at this point in time.

See? They are actually unrelated numbers.

You can't control the world's physical supply of oil. You can control, to a large extent, the world's demand of oil. So if everyone on the planet pulls their heads out of their ass, you can take demand down to 60 or 70 million bbls/day.

So the production number is really only important when it closes in on the demand number. That is when you will see the price of oil go through the sky.

It will be a good thing in my mind. Humans are nuts. We keep on burning fossil fuels because of one thing: greed. It is cheaper than the alternatives. When prices go through the roof, that will be the only time that people act. There are no altruists out there to speak of. Humans will only reduce their consumption of oil because of price.

A sad thing to say, but it is clear as hell.

Look at what you are driving. Look at how much flying you are doing, as that is the least efficient. Start sharing rides.

I know that you can afford to drive a big pickup or SUV, but do you really NEED that vehicle? My plumber does, but I don't.

It is coming, my friends. Most geologists that I know believe that we have reached our production peak already. As it falls, it will meet the demand number. From there it will be bloodshed.

This country funds a massive military that has a couple of aims. The first is protection of the US from attack. The only real way that will happen is with nukes. So we have subs and silos and a retaliation force. Mexico or Canada isn't going to invade us, and if they did, it would require a much smaller military to handle it.

So we have some huge number of Nimitz class aircraft carriers, with at least one or two always hanging out in the Middle East. We are fighting two wars in the middle east.

Other than blowing the Taliban to bits, which was achieved in the first year of the war in Afghanistan, it is all about oil.

You may think that oil companies control this card game, but they don't. Who controls this game is the hungry gullet of consumption. I will defend that statement until the end of time.

A really great read on oil and its relationship with power can be found in the book "The Prize." I highly recommend it if you want to understand oil.

--happily meeting the hydrocarbon needs of Supertopo since 1987.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jan 4, 2012 - 03:40pm PT
You may think that oil companies control this card game, but they don't. Who controls this game is the hungry gullet of consumption. I will defend that statement until the end of time.

We agree on that, BASE. I'm just being difficult because of definitional issues in economics. What an economist calls "demand" means a schedule of quantities demanded compared to the price of the commodity. The amount of petroleum products we demand at any given price is the "quantity demanded."

Thus, the "hungry gullet of consumption" varies its hunger based on the price. When gasoline is relatively expensive, we buy more hybrids and fewer gas-guzzlers. While this price sensitivity takes time to affect the quantity demanded, so does adjustment of the size of inventories of petroleum products.

I think it's these timing issues that confuse the non-economists (specifically populist politicians and the press). They say, for instance, "the amount of gasoline available is relatively unchanged, but the price rose sharply, so it must be some nefarious price manipulation." No, it's not. It's the price adjusting to anticipated future market conditions.

As long as the price is allowed to do so, we can keep that "hungry gullet" under control. When the price gets manipulated downward, however, then watch out!

John
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Jan 4, 2012 - 04:19pm PT
http://news.yahoo.com/ohio-earthquake-not-natural-event-expert-says-002703764.html



Ohio earthquake was not a natural event, expert says
CLEVELAND (Reuters) - A 4.0 magnitude earthquake in Ohio on New Year's Eve did not occur naturally and may have been caused by high-pressure liquid injection related to oil and gas exploration and production, an expert hired by the state of Ohio said on Tuesday.

Ohio's Department of Natural Resources on Sunday suspended operations at five deep well sites in Youngstown, Ohio, where the injection of water was taking place, while they evaluate seismological data from a rare quake in the area.

The wells are about 9,000 feet deep and are used to dispose of water from oil and gas wells. The process is related to fracking, the controversial injection of chemical-laced water and sand into rock to release oil and gas. Critics say that the high pressure injection of the liquid causes seismic activity.

Won-Young Kim, a research professor of Seismology Geology and Tectonophysics at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday that circumstantial evidence suggests a link between the earthquake and the high-pressure well activity.

"We know the depth (of the quake on Saturday) is two miles and that is different from a natural earthquake," said Kim, who is advising the state of Ohio.

Data collected from four seismographs set up in November in the area confirm a connection between the quakes and water pressure at the well, Kim said.

"There is circumstantial evidence to connect the two -- in the past we didn't have earthquakes in the area and the proximity in the time and space of the earthquakes matches operations at the well," he said.

A spokesman for Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich, a strong supporter of oil and gas exploration in the state, said Ohio could announce a preliminary decision whether to continue the suspension of the wells as early as Wednesday.

The state was already looking into the cause of earlier seismic activity from 10 previous earthquakes, beginning in March, 2011.

According to Kim, this is not the first time Ohio tremors have been linked to human activities. "We have several examples of earthquakes from deep well disposal in the past," Kim said.

A quake of 4.2 magnitude in Ashtabula, Ohio, on January 26, 2001, was believed to be due to deep-well injection, he said. And in 1987 there was an incident with a correlation to high pressure deep well injection, he said.

There are 177 so-called "class two" deep wells in Ohio, according to Tom Stewart, executive vice president of Ohio Oil and Gas Association. They all operate under federal guidelines spelled out by the Clean Water Act.

There is no evidence that the wells in Youngstown were operating at higher pressures than allowed, Stewart said.

"We haven't seen anything from anyone at (the state agency) that would lead us to believe that the well was not operating properly," he said.

Kim said that even though the wells have stopped pumping water into the rock, the area might not have experienced its last earthquake. "It could take a couple of years for the earthquakes to go away. The migration of the fluid injected into the rock takes a long time to leave," Kim said.

Ohio's Democratic Senator, Sherrod Brown, said the quick response by the state shows it is a serious issue.

"There are things we need to know about drilling and earthquakes," Brown told Reuters on Tuesday.

Brown said he supports new energy exploration that brings jobs to the state but has questions about how companies will handle fracking and wastewater disposal. "They have got to answer the question of what they are going to do with the waste just like nuclear power," Brown said.

(Editing by Greg McCune and Jim Marshall)
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
Jan 4, 2012 - 08:58pm PT
Not that it matters, and not that it happens every day or anything....

But how does BASE104 explain it?






GuapoVino

Trad climber
All Up In Here
Jan 5, 2012 - 10:27am PT
So what do you think would be a good guess as to when demand will meet supply in a way that causes things to really get weird? How do you predict it playing out after that? Do you think it will be more of a decades long event where we start to switch over to other forms of fuel (natural gas, ethanol, electric) or do you think we will just go after all the oil we can any way we can even if it means going to war over it?

You suggest natural gas for road transportation. If we were properly motivated by oil shortages, how long do you think it would take to get a useful number of gas stations equipped to sell natural gas? How hard is it to handle compared to gasoline (transporting it to gas stations, storing it, putting it into automobiles)?

jfailing

Trad climber
Lone Pine
Jan 5, 2012 - 11:07am PT
The process is related to fracking, the controversial injection of chemical-laced water and sand into rock to release oil and gas. Critics say that the high pressure injection of the liquid causes seismic activity.

From what I've gathered, using the term "fracking" is a misnomer in this Ohio earthquake case. It sounds like they were just injecting waste material into a disposal well, which is probably pretty routine (I imagine). Yes, you can create seismicity (earthquakes) through fracking, but injecting water/waste down a deep well through a pre-existing fault zone - which sounds like was the case in Ohio - can cause seismicity as well. So saying it was caused by "fracking" isn't quite accurate... Routine injection? Yes. Fracking? No.

Besides, it's only a magnitude 4.2 fer cryin out loud. I'm curious as to what the highest magnitude earthquake directly caused by fracking or injection is. In Basel Switzerland a few years ago, they canceled an Enhanced Geothermal Systems test because they were inducing microseismicity, and there were a handful of magnitude 4's and 3's, but that's about the worst I've ever heard of.

There is also a big correlation with geothermal wells and earthquakes as well. It is really common on some hydrothermal injection wells, which is clean energy.

True dat - we can track specific seismic events (based on location, depth, magniude, and time) that directly correlate with fluctuating injection rates in an adjacent injection well. This works as a fantastic tool for measuring response in the reservoir - it's real-time data! These events are mostly between 0.1 and 2.0 magnitude - nothing anyone would ever really feel.

Also: this thread is great! No back and forth bitching like other OT threads. Lots of info is provided on both sides, and a respectful discourse is upheld. Keep it goin!
lucaskrajnik

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
Jan 5, 2012 - 12:16pm PT
If they dont do it here, they are going to do it over seas.... What am I thinking, we dont want work in the U.S.!?! STOP HYDROFRACKING!!! STOP ALL OIL DRILLING IN THE U.S.!!
tolman_paul

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
Jan 5, 2012 - 01:57pm PT
The were injecting wastewater from fracking opperations, so while it wasn't a fracking opperation that caused the quake, it was related to fracking.

Base, have you any info on the Shell exploration in the Chuckchi? The one tidbit I'd heard is that they say their seismic work indicates the geology is some of the best they've seen since the 30's, which puts it on par with Saudi, i.e. a mega field. Of course until they drill and delineate nobody knows for sure what it'll prove out to be.

The real question is are people on a global scale wise enough and self controlled enough to move towards energy efficiency and alternative energies in a timely enough manner to account for declining oil production over the long term. I'm generally an optomist, but I see a bumpy road due to greed and selfishness.
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Jan 5, 2012 - 02:07pm PT
See? Look at the post above....

OK. There are probably at least 100,000 saltw#ter disposal wells in the country. You can use them to dispose of spent frac water as well. This is by far the safest method and it has a history going back to the beginning of oil.

Most oil wells, and many gas wells, make saltw#ter. Most oil wells make so much oil, so much gas, and so much saltw#ter.

Some wells make thousands of barrels per day of saltw#ter. They are only economic if they make enough oil to cover the disposal expense.

If you have a really sweet disposal zone, like the Arbuckle/Ellenburger cambro-ordovician limestone, that is usually 1000 to 2000 feet thick and already full of saltw#ter, a disposal well can inject thousands of barrels of saltw#ter per day. There are also numerous oil fields that are on secondary recovery waterfloods. That is where you inject saltw#ter to sweep unrecovered oil into producing wellbores. That has been going on since the beginning of time.

The relatioship between earthquakes and disposal wells is well known. If you overpressure your disposal zone, which can happen if it doesn't have great permeability, then the increased pore pressure can lubricate an old fault. The interior US is totally riddled with old faults that are pretty much dead. So it can cause one to slip. They are small earthquakes, but it is easy to correlate them to a specific disposal well because of their shallow depth. You shut down the disposal well and the earthquakes go away. Most of them are sub mag 2.0, but occasionally you get a bigger one like the Ohio one the other evening.

A frac job may inject 3 million gallons of fluid or more. This sounds like a lot, but if you consider the actual volume of the reservoir you are frac'ing, it is quite small. That frac fluid also flows right back.

So a big frac is maybe 80,000 42 gallon bbls of fluid. The injection wells take over 10,000 bbls per day, and they do it for decades. So you actually lower pore pressure in frac'd wells as they produce and the reservoir pressure declines as the well produces gas (all wells decline, and shale gas wells decline like crazy in the first 12 months).

So disposal wells and frac jobs are not related. Two entirely different animals from a physics point of view.

The real famous case of injection wells causing earthquakes was at Rocky Flats (Rocky Mountain Arsenal) back in the sixties. They had hazardous waste injection wells that were causing small earthquakes. Injection was stopped and the earthquakes stopped.

The thing about this is that it is not predictable. There are hundreds of thousands of class 2 commercial disposal wells and on site saltw#ter disposal or secondary recovery injection wells. Many of them are in places where there is intense faulting. The age of the faults in most of the paleozoic hydrocarbon basins are Pennsylvanian or older. Pre dinosaur old.

These faults regularly have little micro earthquakes on them, but they are dead. If there is a little stress on them they can still move a little, though.

I have said this before, but it bears repeating. In Pennsylvania and New York, there is not a geologicaly good zone to dispose of saltw#ter. Sure there are porous zones at depth, but just the power needed to inject saltw#ter makes it nuts. Ohio does have a good injection zone, and they are actually shipping spent frac fluid down to Ohio to get rid of it.

This is the entire problem with the Marcellus. You frac the well, the well flows the frac water back, bringing with it high chlorides and exotic things like Barium, and there isn't really a safe way to handle it. Treating it in municipal treatment plants is nuts. To really clean that water up it would take some kind of wicked reverse osmosis factory. Like the ones that convert ocean water into fresh water.

In the mid-continent, the Arbuckle is the deepest rock in the sedimentary section. Right on top of granite basement. It is super thick, super porous, and super permeable. It is already loaded with saltw#ter brine. You can inject an incredible amount of saltw#ter without having to inject at high pressure. It is so vast that you can't fill it up.

The geology here is great. There is a class 2 disposal well every fifteen miles or so. Saltw#ter and frac fluid get trucked over there and they are safely disposed of. So we don't see the groundwater issues that they see in Pennsylvania.

In a nutshell, disposal wells are totally different. I know of only one instance where a frac caused an earthquake swarm. It was in southern Oklahoma a few years ago. The were all mag 2.0 or much lower, so they weren't felt. They were picked up by the seismograph network. They were super shallow and could be correlated to the frac.

I know a frac sounds huge, but it is small when compared to the available pore space in the target rock, and the well flows that frac water right back at you. Disposing of it properly is the problem in the Marcellus.

There are thousands of horizontal stage frac'd wells in Oklahoma and Texas, and they are being constantly drilled in many plays, not just shale gas. We don't have any problems. The geology here is just very fortunate.

And remember. The biggest fracs may inject 100,000 barrels. And you get most of that right back. A disposal well may inject over 20,000 bbls each DAY.

The class 2 wells are super regulated and monitored for casing integrity. All of the smaller disposal or waterflood injection wells are tested annually.

I wish that it were easy to correlate injection with earthquake risk, but I don't know how, other than studying increasing pore pressure in the injection zone. There is a blizzard of dispoal and injection wells, and the one that will cause an earthquake is like trying to find a black snowflake in a storm.

I wish I could bill this time out.

Also, the disposal zones are way deep.
CrackAddict

Trad climber
Canoga Park, CA
Jan 5, 2012 - 02:23pm PT
From what I've gathered, using the term "fracking" is a misnomer in this Ohio earthquake case. It sounds like they were just injecting waste material into a disposal well, which is probably pretty routine (I imagine). Yes, you can create seismicity (earthquakes) through fracking, but injecting water/waste down a deep well through a pre-existing fault zone - which sounds like was the case in Ohio - can cause seismicity as well. So saying it was caused by "fracking" isn't quite accurate... Routine injection? Yes. Fracking? No.

Besides, it's only a magnitude 4.2 fer cryin out loud. I'm curious as to what the highest magnitude earthquake directly caused by fracking or injection is. In Basel Switzerland a few years ago, they canceled an Enhanced Geothermal Systems test because they were inducing microseismicity, and there were a handful of magnitude 4's and 3's, but that's about the worst I've ever heard of.

It is true that Fracking CAN cause seismicity, but it is only triggering the strain, not the stress. In other words, the stress builds up in the absence of Fracking and can potentially cause a larger Earthquake in the future. Fracking is only "lubricating" the fault zone to the point where slip occurs.

It is conceivable that we could trigger a magnitude 8 by injecting into the San Andreas, but it would likely happen anyway. We are overdue.

BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Jan 5, 2012 - 02:44pm PT
I found a really cool quote that pretty much sums up what I hear:

Michele Bachmann is an extremist who spouts weird conspiracy theories, garbles history and foreign policy, and tells untruths with such conviction that she’s less a liar than a denizen of an alternative reality.



BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Jan 5, 2012 - 03:06pm PT
OK. I finally found somebody who hit the damn nail on the head.

I should give Paul a Supertopo Nobel Prize.

Yeah, there are problems with dealing with all of that water in the Marcellus, and it looks like they are having a real problem with gas in the groundwater from the PNAS paper. That can be dealt with, but it may require some big changes.

Everyone is all just jumping on this like it is the end of the world. Like companies are injecting cyanide into the dirt.

So. Obama opened up the Chukchi and offshore Beaufort Seas to oil and gas leasing a few years ago. I can't believe nobody jumped on this.

Offshore Beaufort starts 3 miles offshore from the coastal plain of ANWR, and all points west. I have peed in it a number of times I count my oceans by urinating in them.

The Chukchi Sea is the sea north of the Bering Sea. North of the Seward Peninsula, north of the Bering Straits.

It is covered with ice 9 months or so out of the year, and ice can blow onshore at any time of the year. Nobody knows how to clean up a spill on ice. Hell, you need an icebreaker just to get equipment out there in the winter months.

It is probably the most environmentally sensitive and difficult are to drill on the planet. There have been a few true offshore wells drilled in the offshore Beaufort, but none were put into production. You have to find a large enough accumulation to justify putting in a drilling and producing platform.

The Chukchi lease sale brought in billions of dollars. So there must be some really big structures beneath it.

A land blowout, even one like Macondo, would have been put out in a week or less, and it would have trashed a small area. The Macondo well wouldn't have even blown out if it were onshore.

That area has already been shot with seismic, so they know the traps are there. It is now just a question of whether or not they contain oil, gas, or saltw#ter.

Everyone is knee jerking about frac jobs, which have been around forever and are well understood. The geology in the areas is well understood. Yes, you can have problems with anything, but drilling in the arctic ice is spooky. The Canadians have been doing it, but that is mainly gas in the McKenzie Delta. Not fullblown offshore drilling. Just drilling is one thing. Modern engineering is up to the job.

The real problem is with the twenty or thirty years when the wells are producing.

I know of noplace where they are drilling 30 miles offshore arctic, like the Chukchi will be.

The Chukchi is also extremely shallow, so there has always been a worry about dealing with seafloor pipelines. The arctic ice is realtively thin, but it is still god's own bulldozer and scours the ocean bottom like crazy.

BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Jan 5, 2012 - 03:09pm PT
Yes, the biggest earthquake problems with injection have been with geothermal. You inject water and it comes back up as steam.

Just on the map I have open right now there are at least 100 saltw#ter disposal wells (no fracs needed in this area). There are tons of old faults. No earthquakes. It is rare and has nothing to do with fracs. Entirely different physical setting.
tolman_paul

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
Jan 5, 2012 - 03:28pm PT
While not Arctic, the Kashagon field in the North Caspian is quite similar to the Chucki in terms of being offshore, 70km from Atarau as I recall, but it's been over 12 years since I was there. They are also shallow, as I recall about 10m deep, amazing that far offshore. They do get a fair bit of ice buildup as well during the winter and see -30F. Now that field is scary, high pressure ~10,000 fps, high H2S content, it was estimated 30% of the gas was H2S and high CO2 content, so very corrosive. I haven't kept track of that development, the rig was just starting to spud the first exploratory well the last time I was there.

I agree, cleaning up a blowout or spill on the ice would be very difficult if not impossible, depending on how thick/stable the ice was during the blowout. If it happened during breakup, forget it. It's unfortunate that there aren't more mega fields in easily accessed and developed environments, but alas the easy oil has been produced decades ago. Unfortunately technology and regulations only advance after catastrophes, and sadly have to be re-learned. One would think that after Piper Alpha the industry would not take shortcuts offshore, but sadly the Deepwater Horizon proves that is not the case.
FortMental

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Jan 5, 2012 - 03:57pm PT
t is true that Fracking CAN cause seismicity, but it is only triggering the strain, not the stress. In other words, the stress builds up in the absence of Fracking and can potentially cause a larger Earthquake in the future. Fracking is only "lubricating" the fault zone to the point where slip occurs.

.....Uh.....no.
Rokjox

Trad climber
Boys I'dunno
Jan 5, 2012 - 04:06pm PT
Small releases would seem to be a good thing. Lower the trigger on a much larger one at some point in the future, or prevent a synchronicity event where one quake triggers off another same distance away.





When talking about depths, it hard not to relate them to short distances on the earth. 1000 feet is less than a quarter mile. But its a thousand feet of solid compressed material of some sort, and you can go a thousand feet a lot easier than you can dig it with a spade. A MILE of solid sh#t is a pretty good barrier, compressed mineral soil, sand, rock, mixed and jumbled and continually SQUASHED is nothing to sneer at and the solid interior is also flexible and absorptive.

And for the some part, some of the buoyancy thing is a little overstated. If you got a body of fluid a mile down, you still got gravity holding stuff down. It takes a lot of energy to lift liquid. Something has to be active to move it around. Anything greater than a mile of vertical separation, thats a lot of separation. Not perfect, but pretty good. Salt water can move some stuff upwards, but not others and really that shouldn't be an issue unless you want it to be. As you drill you get a pretty good idea how much water and where... Then you go a month deeper.

Its not usually too important if water get to it, as long as nothing can leave. If you are deep, nothing is likely to leave. And if you are VERY deep, temperatures don't allow much for water anyway. High temperatures drive out loose water, cooks it into more solid chemistries.


Injection dumping is about the best method we got for nasty stuff. Cheap, effective, safe and nobody gets hurt if society collapses for a while. No ponds to maintain, no geese to scare away, no embankments failing, no frogs carrying away mutagenic material for the next Swamp Thing remake. No Erin O'Brokabitches making a big deal about three legged babies.

To almost any complaint you can raise to injuction dumping, the answer is almost always the same. Go deeper....


Burning is offensive, contributes to carbon footprint, so to speak. Expensive.













People are going to have to get used to it, we need the energy we can pump out through closed loop geothermal far too bad to ignore it because people are afraid it will create earthquakes or poison their water.

Every location on Earth with a big population is only a very few miles from all the power they can take. Its just a difficult 10 miles to power for most of them, and the only cost is the generating facility and equipment, the thermocline is free. Its like oil, the BTU's are gratis once you obtain the source.


A LOT of short (10 mile or less) holes are going to be made in the thin skin we can touch right now. 53,000 feet is very deep and crusty. But its all we need. And we've already done more. And maybe that depth and heat is going to be what heats the tar sands and shale oils to release then, about when our society hits 2100 and wants the remains bad enough to engineer it a giant underground heating system. The remaining oil will just pump out at the temperature of a hot, running engine, straight into the cooker in the cracking plant.



Get used it a lot of fracking, including atomic fracking. Its what we been building all them bombs for our kids to use.



Fracking is Guuud. Your kids will want to frack all their friends in the Middle East, it will close down some of the reactors they are building because they know their oil is running out. Reactors have a limited life span, and we only have a small amount of suitable fuel available for them on a global scale. They will run out of uranium fuel sooner than anybody mostly knows.

They are going to frack heck out of Southern Africa. They don't seem to HAVE a lot of oil.

But geothermal is forever and always.


They are going to frack to get every drop of oil you can touch, that stuff is far more valuable than we currently appreciate. They won't use it for fuel. If we have a society in 300 years, they will be using oil for FAR more valuable chemical catalyst products. Its a cool material. Ka-BOOOOM!!


Freak ON Chumlee!
jfailing

Trad climber
Lone Pine
Jan 5, 2012 - 04:08pm PT
It is conceivable that we could trigger a magnitude 8 by injecting into the San Andreas, but it would likely happen anyway.

This was the evil scheme of Max Zorin (played by Christopher Walken), in the 007 film "A View to a Kill."

Zorin's plot was to flood the Hayward fault with water from the bay, which would in turn trigger massive fault displacement and put Silicon Valley underwater... We watched this in Structural Geology in college...
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Jan 5, 2012 - 04:20pm PT
Michele Bachmann is an extremist who spouts weird conspiracy theories, garbles history and foreign policy, and tells untruths with such conviction that she’s less a liar than a denizen of an alternative reality.

oh yeah and one should not forget that she is just the tip of the iceberg, despite anything fatrad would like you to believe.

Another succinct summation is what Karl Rove once had the gall to admit to:

"We create our own reality"


Anway, just like to say thanks for all the inteligent and informative Fracking discussion

please carry on
jfailing

Trad climber
Lone Pine
Jan 5, 2012 - 04:48pm PT
But geothermal is forever and always.

Rokjox - the idea of using fracking to open up an artificial geothermal reservoir is amazing. It's almost too good to be true. Folks have been trying to do it for years. It's also known as an "Enhanced Geothermal System." Only a handful of companies have been met with success however, under very particular and restrictive circumstances. Therefore not many are willing to invest in furthering its research and development.

With all the fear associated with fracking these days, I can't see a lot of people getting behind the idea...
weschrist

Gym climber
left sac
Jan 5, 2012 - 05:29pm PT
dyn-A-mite!
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jan 5, 2012 - 06:10pm PT
B104, worth mentioning that the Norwegians and Russians recently agreed on rights in the Barents Sea, south of Svalbard and Franz Joseph Land, and at least some exploratory drilling has started in the Barents Sea, and perhaps the Kara Sea. Likewise, much of the Chukchi Sea is north of Siberia, and there are significant possibilities for oil and gas all along Siberia's north coast - about half the world's circumference. You wonder how well prepared they are for exploring for, let alone exploiting, oil and gas there.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 5, 2012 - 06:22pm PT
The Russkis won't be shy about developing it if the moolah is there, of that
you can rest assured. The question will be whether they make a hash of it
as they have for 100 years at Baku and nearly every other site of theirs.
In fact, they are infamous for environmental degradation in every industry
of note.* They made a really good go of polluting Lake Baikal to death until
an incredibly brave bunch of people stood up to the Soviet machine back in
the late 60's and early 70's.

* Hell, in the 50's and 60's the bulk of the Soviet Union's canned food
industry was centered on the Dnestr River in Moldova. Unfortunately, those
plants were downstream from untreated sewage outflows of well over 1 million people!
tolman_paul

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
Jan 5, 2012 - 06:52pm PT
MH,

Statoil is tops for offshore work, rated as one of the top 100 global sustainable companies.

As mentioned, Ruskies record is not so hot, but most of their current development work has been joint ventures with Western firms, so higher evnvironmental and safety standards have generally been employed.

Sparky

Trad climber
vagabond movin on
Jan 7, 2012 - 12:25pm PT
Earthquakes anyone?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45903873/ns/technology_and_science-science/
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Jan 7, 2012 - 01:24pm PT
That has already been covered in depth.

It was a disposal well, not a frac'd well. A big frac injects maybe 100,000 blls of fluid, and you get almost all of that right back as the gas comes in.

A disposal well can take 20,000 bbls of saltw#ter or spent frac fluid for decades.

The disposal wells can overpressure the strata that they are pumping into. Permanently. A frac'd well flows the frac fluid right back and then the gas flows and depletes the pressure in that strata. Disposal or injection wells have a long historic relationship to earthquakes, although there are hundreds of thousands of them that never cause a problem. There is only one good case I know of where a frac job caused earthquakes. Most were mag 1.0 or so. The largest was mag 2. Stopped the next day.

Oklahoma and Texas have tens of thousands of these horizontal mega frac'd wells with no problem. The big problem is getting rid of the spent frac fluid.

Read the thread and you will get a free lesson in subsurface geology.

That is what I do for a living. Sedimentary Stratigraphy.

---happily meeting the hydrocarbon needs of Supertopo since 1987.
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Jan 7, 2012 - 01:37pm PT
Paul,

How do you know so much?

Yep. Statoil is a Norwegian Company that makes its bread and butter in the North Sea. They rock.

Tom Cosgriff, who put up or did early repeats and first solos of a bunch of big walls in the Valley and the Black, is an offshore drilling supervisor for Statoil. He loves it.

Tom comes through Canyonlands every year and is still super fit and climbing hard.

The Russians have a history of horrible pollution. The environment wasn't too high on the minds of the communist leadership. Baku is an utter disaster zone. You should google up photos of it. They are already trashing the arctic onshore.

Statoil, though. They are the cream of the engineering crop when it comes to harsh conditions. I would far rather see Statoil up in the offshore Beaufort than Shell or Exxon.
jfailing

Trad climber
Lone Pine
Jan 9, 2012 - 01:07pm PT
Article about fracking directly inducing seismicity in Switzerland in 2009 in case anyone is interested:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/15/swiss-geothermal-power-earthquakes-basel

Related to fracking, yes. But not with oil/gas.
tolman_paul

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
Jan 9, 2012 - 07:35pm PT
Base,

I've worked for a couple different EPC companies doing oil field design work on fire and gas and control systems for the past ~14 years, a combination of EOR projects and facility upgrades. Mostly in AK, but one stint in Kazakhstan on the drilling rig that did the exploratory wells on the Kashagon field helping them with permitting and shaking my head in disbelief at the politics involved in oil and gas companies, both the owners and the contractors.

Even though my expertise has nothing to do with formations, drilling or production, I find it's a good idea to learn as much as possible about the industry you work in. So between countless HAZID and PHAZER meetings, project documentation and internal company and client meetings, I've picked up quite a bit over the years. Amazing what you can pick up at a drill sight waiting for an operator just by looking at the map of the wells and what wells are producing, what are injecting, etc as well as production numbers.

I suppose I also have a vested interest in seeing Alaskan oil production steady over the long term as that's what provides my bread and butter, and what pays for our states government. I've seen several boom bust cycles and have been able to ride them out.

While I've never worked with Statoil, they have a steller reputation and it diddn't take much google fu to get some details.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jan 9, 2012 - 08:26pm PT
The latest on Norwegian oil and gas discoveries in the Barents Sea - by Statoil.
http://www.newsinenglish.no/2012/01/09/new-oil-province-found-off-norway/
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Feb 1, 2012 - 06:42pm PT
http://austinist.com/2012/02/01/republicans_order_journalist_arrest.php
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Feb 2, 2012 - 02:16pm PT
Yeah, what are they trying to hide?

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/02/01-4

Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Josh Fox was handcuffed and led away Wednesday while attempting to film a House Science Committee hearing on fracking.

The "Gasland" director was attempting to film the hearing which is looking into the EPA's investigation of water contamination from fracking in Pavillion, Wyoming. Josh was filming the hearing for his upcoming film "Gasland 2."

Subcommittee chairman US Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) objected to the presence of Mr. Fox and his crew as well as another crew from ABC.

“This is a public hearing!” Josh shouted as he was led away. “I’m being denied my First Amendment rights.”

Approximately 16 Capitol Hill police officers entered the hearing room and handcuffed Josh amid audible discussions of "disorderly conduct" charges, according to Democratic sources who spoke to the Huffington Post.

The filmmaker did not have "proper credentials", and an ABC News crew did not make the committee aware that they would be filming, according to the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Feb 2, 2012 - 02:37pm PT
Oh the irony of republicans having Fox arrested, lol. First time for everything I guess.

DMT
PSP also PP

Trad climber
Berkeley
Feb 2, 2012 - 02:55pm PT
When gold is discovered in your town then alot of people who don't care about your town come visiting ; same with gas in your shale.
nita

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
Apr 11, 2012 - 09:15pm PT
New study...

http://www.npr.org/2012/04/11/150440356/quakes-caused-by-waste-from-gas-wells-study-finds
cupton

climber
Where the past and future meet
Apr 11, 2012 - 11:17pm PT
Hey, I just sat down and read the entire thread and wow. Thanks Base, Wes et al for one of the most informative posts on the taco ever. I truly enjoyed the clear scientific explanations beyond the media hype.

Your contributions to the Taco are truly appreciated.







cupton

climber
Where the past and future meet
Apr 11, 2012 - 11:49pm PT
After reading all this my fears are not of fracking specifically but globally what we are doing to our water supply. Land subsidence is one thing but have the true costs as far as contaminating water ever been properly assessed?

Comparing peak oil to peak water "While oil is non-renewable and limited, it is replaceable by other more costly alternatives; water is renewable and relatively unlimited, but there is no substitute and it is only useful in the precise places."

It is the entire global water-energy-food nexus being upset that worries me. Virtual water is nice but entirely dependent on energy. Fracking and the energy sector in general are a only a portion of the problem/solution.

Are we losing sight of the forest for the trees?
bmacd

Trad climber
100% Canadian
Apr 12, 2012 - 12:29pm PT
Oh god I am getting a headache trying to read all this on a smart phone. Great info thanks everyone will finish up when I get to a computer
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Apr 12, 2012 - 12:34pm PT
Currently have a position in a company which cleans the water/chemicals used in fracking.



TheTool
nutjob

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
May 3, 2012 - 11:10pm PT
OK, this discussion is moving beyond theoretical to directly and immediately affecting my future. After scoping neighborhoods across the Los Angeles basin last weekend, our most likely spot to plan a life is Culver City. Our favorite house to purchase has one major drawback: walking distance to the Inglewood Oil Fields.

PXP is the company that owns or drills these fields, and apparently promised decades ago that they were shutting down, but as of this year they began exploratory hydrofracking.

I'm inclined to JUST SAY NO to buying there, because there is insufficient regulation and accidents seem probable in the next few decades. But then again, there are oil wells all over LA basin, and I've got no idea about the connectedness of groundwater in the region.

According to Culver City website, they do get municipal water from groundwater as well as piped in from other sources.

So all this thread that I read through has not mentioned the oil drilling history of the Los Angeles basin... any insights BASE104?

Would you buy a house and plan the next few decades of your life in a place that was within a few miles of known hydrofracking?

Would I die faster from smog against the foothills or groundwater contamination of hydrofracking? Is it practical to maintain a whole home water filter of activated carbon to block the hydrocarbons? That doesn't address any radioactive stuff....

Damn LA Basin. Damn economics. Damn limited locations of employment for basic science research, and ridiculously competitive job market. I'm freaking out a little now, like a frog thrown in hot water, but I'll probably get over it, like a frog in a slowly heating bucket of water.
tallguy

Trad climber
eastside
May 4, 2012 - 01:01am PT
Base, I appreciate reading all of the detail you have provided in your many posts, I have learned lots about oil and gas exploration... many thanks.

One question: You don't seem to draw a distinction between fossil carbon and biomass carbon. In terms of climate change, I think this distinction is critical.. using biomass carbon (wood, biofuels) for energy is only altering the kinetics of existing carbon cycling, while fossil carbon additions from hydrocarbons increase the total pool of atmospheric carbon. Big difference in climate change implications of those energy choices I think.

So I see a huge difference between using biomass carbon, which is going to end up as CO2 at some point anyways, for energy, versus fossil carbon, whose fate is almost certainly not to end up as CO2 unless we extract it and use it.

Thoughts?
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Topic Author's Reply - May 31, 2012 - 05:40pm PT
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2012/05/120530-iea-report-on-natural-gas-safety/

Forcing natural gas out of shale rock through hydraulic fracturing is riskier than conventional gas development and requires tougher rules than those now in place, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says in a new report.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Social climber
Retired in Appalachia
May 31, 2012 - 07:02pm PT
I am still having a local battle with fracking issues that don't make the headlines, but are very real problems nonetheless.

Big mining trucks are still speeding wildly on our local rural roads.

It's a money-driven feeding frenzy.

I hate mining and miners and mining companies. More accurately, I hate the manner in which they do business.


healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 31, 2012 - 07:50pm PT
Offhand I'd say fracking has a lot in common with nuclear industry from the standpoint of a lot of cutting corners on implementation / operation and a lack of financial accounting for the full lifecycle costs of appropriate pollution controls and waste disposal.

I think by the time this goldrush is brought under control a whole lot of damage is going to be done by slipshod / wildcat operators; either that or they'll institutionalize stupidity as they have with mountaintop removal in coal.
pc

climber
Sep 2, 2012 - 12:10pm PT
Article in this morning's Seattle Times. Unfortunate that there's no mention of the environmental concerns. Seems Alaska's above/beyond care? Sad...

The big concern mentioned is where are they going to find all the skilled labor to do all this new exploration. Pathetic article.


http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2019041570_alaskashale02.html



Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Dec 22, 2012 - 04:52pm PT
Base - what do you make of this?

Leaked fracking fluid contaminated groundwater near Grande Prairie: ERCB


BY SHEILA PRATT, EDMONTON JOURNAL DECEMBER 21, 2012

0

EDMONTON - Leaked fracking fluid has contaminated groundwater after a “serious” incident at a well site near Grande Prairie in September 2011, according to an investigation by the Energy Resources Conservation Board which regulates the energy industry.

Calgary-based Crew Energy “inadvertently” released toxic fluids at too shallow a level in a natural gas well and then failed to realize the leak was occurring underground, said the ERCB report released Thursday.

“There were multiple opportunities to recognize that a problem existed which could have prevented or at least minimized the impact of hydraulic fracturing operation above the base of groundwater protection,” says the report.

While a drinking water source near the surface was not affected, a groundwater basin below it was contaminated, said ERCB spokesman Daren Barter, adding this is considered a “serious” if rare incident. The ERCB gave the company a “high risk enforcement action” ordering it to supply a revised fracking plan.

Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting fluids under high pressure into underground rock formations to cause cracks or fractures to release natural gas.

Only non-toxic fluids can be used above the base of groundwater. The level is set for each region by Alberta Environment.

About 40 cubic metres of the propane gel injected underground remains there, so no drilling is allowed in a 200-metre radius of the well site.

Alberta Environment tested the contaminated water this fall and found chemicals from fracking fluid, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and chloride.

A sandstone layer separates the two water sources so the risk to drinking water was deemed “insignificant,” says Alberta Environment.

Alberta Environment will continue to monitor the contaminated water “for some time” to make sure the toxic fluids do not migrate or spread underground, said department spokesperson Jessica Potter. If that happened, “we would have to deal with it,” she added.

Rob Morgan, a Crew Energy executive, said his company contracted the fracking at the well site to Caltex Energy Inc., while the operation was monitored at the Crew Calgary office. Some some staff have been replaced, he added.

The company has been working with the ERCB and the environment department since the incident and has already changed its fracking process to avoid a recurrence of the problem.

Toxic fluids are now put down the well casing and cannot be released until ports or openings in the casing are far enough underground, he said.

Barter also said the ERCB did not release details of the incident at the time because the location was considered remote and there was no impact on the public.

The ERCB rarely issues a fine, and instead gets the situation corrected, said Barter. If a company fails to comply, the well operation could be temporary suspended, he added.

spratt@edmontonjournal.com

© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Dec 22, 2012 - 06:00pm PT
The crew in the incident reported above accidentally perfed the wrong zone. Obviously a big cluster*** This wasn't supposed to happen
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Jan 9, 2013 - 12:07pm PT
Here's another interesting question regarding leaking of methane into the atmosphere.

http://thetyee.ca/News/2013/01/09/Leaky-Fracked-Wells/


Can you comment on this Base?
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jan 9, 2013 - 12:30pm PT
So just curious Bruce ,did this news just get to ya?..
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Jan 9, 2013 - 12:56pm PT
i guess you could say that. I mean I had heard of that methane part of the whole deal but most of the environmental concern seems to center around ground water contamination, real or otherwise.

I hadn't thought much of Methane leaks into the atmosphere. How is it monitored and controlled? Is it significant? For instance why would there not be an automatic shut off valve triggered by detection of a methane leak? Isn't this a standard issue with all hydro carbon extraction and thus understood and managed?

Methane is a quite significant greenhouse gas, that being my concern. Thats why I thought Base might have insight but if anyone else can chime in fire away.

PSP also PP

Trad climber
Berkeley
Jan 9, 2013 - 01:25pm PT
Hey I have this great idea. You drill deep holes in the ground and you pump toxic waste down into the hole and then pressurize it so it cracks the rock and displaces in to the cracks. And then dollar bills come back up out of the hole. Oh; and the a really cool part is it won't require any governmental oversite so you can do it where ever you want and when you want. No rules really cool! Oh and you don't have to tell anybody what you pump down there. This is so cool!
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jan 9, 2013 - 01:53pm PT
Well here in NY ,alot of baseline studies of groundwater,surface water,wells,methane well contamination .Stats have been taken,Before fracking.If NY is to allow fracking,it will only be in 5 counties.IMO the gas companies wont have the balls to come here,because we will be armed with info and the most lawyers.
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jan 9, 2013 - 05:32pm PT
Bruce,i was waiting to hear from base myself. Fracking is hardly"methane neutral",wells have blow offs or pressure relief valves to let off pressure.This pressure ,released, is in the form of methane,amongst other chem vapors or solids.Methane does occur naturally,from swamps,caves,unnaturally from landfills and old wells.All this means,fracking just adds ,while we have no measure,a lot of methane to the atmosphere ,increasing greenhouse gases.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Jan 21, 2013 - 01:27pm PT
Another couple of unintended consequenses.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2013/01/16/169511949/a-mysterious-patch-of-light-shows-up-in-the-north-dakota-dark

Perhaps this is what disturbs me the most:

every day drillers in North Dakota "burn off enough gas to heat half a million homes."

Willing to waste all that energy. what hogs.
Majid_S

Mountain climber
Bay Area , California
Jan 21, 2013 - 01:50pm PT
what if Arabs do not accept worthless dollar to sell you oil ?


you start digging in your own backyard

couchmaster

climber
pdx
Jan 21, 2013 - 02:15pm PT
Next up, Fracknation. From this link: http://hotair.com/archives/2013/01/20/film-review-fracknation/

Film review: Fracknation
posted at 9:31 am on January 20, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Full disclosure: I’m a friend of filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, producers of the new documentary Fracknation. I’ve been looking forward to this effort for some time, interviewing Phelim and Ann during the last couple of years as they prepared for and produced the film. Outside of friendship — and Ann and Phelim are a truly lovely and delightful couple — I wanted to get the other side of the fracking dispute represented in the cinematic arena, especially after Gasland and now Promised Land.

And make no mistake — this documentary succeeds in rebutting Josh Fox, the producer/director/writer of the documentary Gasland that touched off much of the anti-fracking activism. Phelim steps through a number of Fox’s claims inside and outside of the documentary, systematically undermining each of them. He includes a clip of his in-person challenge to Fox, which Fox tried to suppress, and another with a state official that cozied up to Fox — whose lawyer hilariously demands the film of the interview immediately afterward. (It’s amazing how little some lawyers know about the First Amendment.) Instead of speaking with Hollywood actors and the UAE (which provided some funding for Promised Land), Phelim speaks with the farmers in the supposedly-blighted areas of Pennsylvania, New York, and the Delaware Rivery Valley, as well as experts on fracking, water science, and environmental agencies.

The best part, however, comes near the end. One couple in the area have been particularly effective activists, giving interviews, appearing in Gasland, and protesting about their contaminated water supply. The EPA even came to Dimock based on their complaints to test the water supply specifically in their wells, which they claimed were contaminated by the fracking that had taken place in the region. When Phelim asks to interview them for Fracknation and to get the results of the test, they get belligerent enough to call a policeman (who turns out to be one of the most reasonable of all the people in the film) as well as threaten to pull a gun on Phelim. Only through a FOIA request does Phelim find out why — the EPA didn’t find anything wrong with the water, and they were smart enough to tape the meeting in which they told the couple the results.

Fracknation delivers a powerful debunking of the scare campaign against fracking and domestic natural-gas production. But don’t take my word for it — here’s Variety on the impact of Fracknation:

Those nursing the suspicion that Hollywood politics are awash in knee-jerk liberalism may well have their cynicism validated by “FrackNation,” a counterargument to the outcry over the natural-gas retrieval process known as “fracking” recently explored in Gus Van Sant’s feature “Promised Land.” But the more thoughtful and politics-oriented auds targeted by this well-reasoned film from helmers Phelim McAleer, Ann McElhinney and Magdalena Segieda will find plenty to chew over, including the possibility that perhaps all is not as simple as it seems in the world of nonrenewable energy.

Irish journalist McAleer narrates and serves as host to this briskly paced, low-budget and mischievous pic, presented as a rebuttal to Josh Fox’s Oscar-nominated “Gasland,” a docu that has been instrumental in building political resistance to a process seen by different factions as a godsend and an antidote to Big Oil. Fox is clearly depicted as the villain in “FrackNation,” from a “Gasland” post-screening Q&A where Fox refuses to answer McAleer’s simple questions, to a scene at Los Angeles’ Hammer Museum where Fox literally flees the camera.

McAleer makes a good case against Fox’s movie. From the farmers of the Delaware River Basin, for whom fracking hysteria has meant a loss of crucial income, to experts like James Delingpole, who somehow makes a fairly reasoned case that the anti-fracking people are the tools of Russian President Vladimir Putin (for whom the natural-gas market provides political leverage), most of the voices entertained here make a good deal of sense. But the filmmakers might have done well to address the animosity so many Americans feel toward the energy business in general.

And what did the New York Times think? You’d probably guess … and you’d be wrong:

Narrated by Mr. McAleer, whose previous documentaries have also argued against environmental concerns, “FrackNation” is no tossed-off, pro-business pamphlet. Methodically researched and assembled (and financed by thousands of small donations from an online campaign), the film picks at Mr. Fox’s assertions and omissions with dogged persistence. Much of what it reveals is provocative, like a confrontation with Mr. Fox about the presence of methane in the water supply decades before fracking began.

What’s clear is that Mr. McAleer knows his way around the Freedom of Information Act and has done his legwork. Besides talking to carefully selected scientists and water experts, he visits pro-fracking residents of Dimock Township, Pa., who are annoyed that their community is being characterized as a toxic wasteland. And he’s not above taking a sentimental detour to Poland to commiserate with a pensioner who can’t pay her energy bills, or reveling in the odd gotcha moment, like accusing a public official of “inappropriate ties” to Mr. Fox.

More than anything, “FrackNation” underscores the sheer complexity of a process that offers a financial lifeline to struggling farmers. Whether it also brings death to their water supply is something we won’t find out by listening to only half of the debate.

Fracknation will air on Tuesday evening on Mark Cuban’s AXs cable television channel at 9 pm ET. It’s a brilliant effort by Phelim and Ann, and it’s appropriate for all ages. The only violence in the film comes, unsurprisingly, from people who don’t want to have Phelim asking inconvenient questions.

I find it of interest that the filmaker specifically limited the size of his individual donations which were requested via Kickstarter.
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jan 21, 2013 - 04:52pm PT
Well that should clear it all up.Fracking is actually good for the environment.Seems as all the greenwashing has failed,wtf,go rogue.
Credit: wilbeer
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jan 21, 2013 - 05:19pm PT
Couchmaster,

Surely you've hung around ST long enough not to expect facts to interfere with peoples' feelings on environmental issues, particularly after Hollywood told us what to believe.

John
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jan 23, 2013 - 10:34am PT
So you are to believe an "online" funded movie.It is amazing that safe drinking water has been turned into a political issue.
Debra Winger, an actor, helped fund gasland,an individual,not hollywood.Please give me a reason as to why Josh Fox would lie and fracknation,truthland,would not.
I live here,western new york,they[big oil/gas] are going to push fracking right through,our politicians are bought and paid for.There are presently reports of only 2 methane contaminated wells in our area.We shall see.
Dimrock ,Pa,the wells contaminated there were not caused by fracking,instead,by operators spilling frac fluids into a creek there.Cleverly said as "not caused by fracking".
This story is amazing,corporations politically mobilizing a campaign for drilling thousands of wells in the name of energy independence,all the while fully knowledgeable of the consequences,with there real intentions of exporting to the highest bidder.The deamonizing of individuals against this ,whether they made a movie ,or not,is just truly so "republican" of you and yours.Check your stock prices!














'
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Jan 23, 2013 - 10:18pm PT
So you are to believe an "online" funded movie.It is amazing that safe drinking water has been turned into a political issue.
Debra Winger, an actor, helped fund gasland,an individual,not hollywood.Please give me a reason as to why Josh Fox would lie and fracknation,truthland,would not.
I live here,western new york,they[big oil/gas] are going to push fracking right through,our politicians are bought and paid for.There are presently reports of only 2 methane contaminated wells in our area.We shall see.
Dimrock ,Pa,the wells contaminated there were not caused by fracking,instead,by operators spilling frac fluids into a creek there.Cleverly said as "not caused by fracking".
This story is amazing,corporations politically mobilizing a campaign for drilling thousands of wells in the name of energy independence,all the while fully knowledgeable of the consequences,with there real intentions of exporting to the highest bidder.The deamonizing of individuals against this ,whether they made a movie ,or not,is just truly so "republican" of you and yours.Check your stock prices!

Opps, sorry, "demonizing" individuals, don't see where I did that, posted a review of a movie...can you copy past the specific part where I demonized you? It's true that I must have just posted an unpolitically correct thing. Thanks for correcting me. As John notes above, additional facts are not needed or worthy of debate, Hollywood has already come out with their "truth".

The truth, Mr Beer, in the real world, is that every type of energy has environmental consequences that heads towards or are horrible. We pick and chose our poison, but until you stop YOUR energy consumption, you're just another hypocrite. I will say that Dr Steven Chu has been a welcome addition to the debate and implementations of policy, sad to see him leaving. May his replacement be as capable.

Of course, curiously, fracking wasn't shut down or even slowed down by him and his hires. Clearly he didn't consult you about it or perhaps he would have. But all he had was a damned fine brain, a Doctorate, extensive work in physics, he was the Director of the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, where he led the lab in pursuit of alternative and renewable energy technologies. He also taught at the University of California as a Professor of Physics and Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology. Previously, he held positions at Stanford University and AT&T Bell Laboratories.

His research in atomic physics, quantum electronics, polymer and biophysics includes tests of fundamental theories in physics, the development of methods to laser cool and trap atoms, atom interferometry, and the study of polymers and biological systems at the single molecule level. While at Stanford, he helped start Bio-X, a multi-disciplinary initiative that brings together the physical and biological sciences with engineering and medicine.

The dude is the holder of 10 patents, and has published ~250 scientific and technical papers. He remains active with his research group and has recently published work on general relativity, single molecule biology, biophysics and biomedicine, and on scientific challenges and opportunities in clean energy. Over 30 alumni of his research group have gone on to become distinguished professors and have been recognized by dozens of prizes and awards.

Dr. Chu is a member of numerous honorific societies including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Academia Sinica, the Korean Academy of Sciences and Technology, and is an honorary member of the Institute of Physics, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a Lifetime Member of the Optical Society of America. He received an A.B. degree in mathematics, a B.S. degree in physics from the University of Rochester, and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as 23 honorary degrees. and in fact had recieved the NobelFRIKKANPrize for Physics work. BUT HE WAS TOO STUPID TO CONSULT YOU ABOUT HOW HORRIBLE FRACKING IS SO FRACKING WILL JUST CONTINUE UNABATED. Obviously, in re-reading your post, I can see that YOU and Debra Winger know more than him based on a Hollywood movie.

Stay warm. Clean gas. Or we can stay with "clean" coal like you are suggesting. The US currently gets 50% of it's energy from CLEAN Coal. Maybe you can look into coal as a fuel source and the issues associated with it. Whatevaaaahhh works.
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jan 23, 2013 - 11:05pm PT
When i said demonizing, i was talking about the gas industry demonizing Josh Fox.I said nothing of you,most of what i said was directed at JE.Hypocrite,well thanks ,i run biodiesel in 2 cars,burn wood for heat ,off my property only ,and have two solar panels connected to the grid.Have not paid for electric in 10 years.Look up greeneck.
It is like i said,safe drinking water is now a political issue.You and your fellow republicans should be proud you stand with big oil/gas.
And sorry i have not seen fracknation,so i cannot comment on Dr Chu.The one thing i can comment on is ,you CAN get off of fossil fuels,and we can subsidize alternatives.Whether you or anybody likes it or not,it is the way FORWARD. I will repeat gasland is not a hollywood movie.


by the way ,i dont think they are going to frack anywhere near pdx.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jan 24, 2013 - 12:47am PT
Ahh. It is beyond discussion from my end. It isn't that technical if you have been around wells for ages, but it is impossible to keep up with the information, both real and exaggerated, if you are a normal person. Who are you gonna believe? An actor or some slick oil company commercial?

Frack jobs on these horizontals use so much water and sand that it is just a huge industrial 24 hour per day process for anywhere from a few days to weeks. It takes so many trucks that it tears up roads and pisses off the residents. If you look at a place like the Arkoma Basin, where most of the drilling is done, it has settled down.

As far as methane in groundwater, when I was at Chesapeake, they had been doing pre-drilling sampling of all water wells around their pads. If there weren't any wells, they drilled them. Water wells are really shallow and cheap. They also had a division in geosciences that did nothing but study the natural methane that exists in some places of the Appalachian Basin.

Like I have always said, the mess exists moving that stuff around the surface. In the past year everyone has started using a company who can recycle the flow back load water and remove the solids and use it over and over. This saves money because fresh water is expensive, and it also relieves the strain on local water supplies.

There are so many places in oil and gas exploration that are being ignored because of the frac hysteria. In that respect it makes me a little sad.

I'm fracking a well next week. It will be a much smaller one because we aren't in a shale. Conventional reservoirs use vastly smaller fracs. I can sample the flow back water in gallon jugs. Anyone can go out to a location and do that on the sly. It isn't like they have armed guards out there.

You will find a lot of those nasty chemicals in your gas tank. I've never heard of them being used in a freshwater frac.

Right now, with gas prices in the gutter, drilling has slowed to a crawl in the shale gas plays. Everyone is drilling for oil. The joke is if you hit a gas well you will be fired.

It is just so hard for people to understand simple concepts. I watched the Macondo blowout play out on the big news networks, all with their own experts from academia. None of them could get it right. I could sit down with two beers, a piece of paper and a pencil and show you how BP negligently tried to cut a tiny corner. Everyone I knew knew exactly how that well blew out within a week as the info came out. BP was never admired, and now they are pretty much despised.

The problem with the exploration end of things is that the only people who are knowledgable about the technology work in the industry. College professors are usually not up to snuff. They don't let you go on TV and explain how the Macondo blowout happened. They get some expert professor on there and they get it all wrong.

We are drilling almost nothing but horizontal stage fracked wells in Oklahoma and Texas right now. We have really good regulatory agencies with almost 100 years of experience. Simple rules that are easy and not expensive to follow.

I'll say it for the thousandth time. An American uses something like thirty times more resources than your typical third world citizen. So when you talk about our 0.9% population growth, the effect is much higher. We are a little country, 5% of the world's population, and use 25% of the world's oil.

The whole shitty mess is going to be a nightmare for our grandkids, and it won't be fracking. People need to stop screwing and stop driving big cars and stop buying one car per person and stop the crazy train we are on as a species.

I see it in a geologic time sense. This period will have a groovy fossil record, a reasonably large extinction event, a big climate event, and the rise of some other species to take over our mess.

I'll just say this: I work with smart people who care about the planet as much as anyone, and we all shake our heads that the public seized on frack jobs to blow a fuse on. Meanwhile the real problems get pushed aside. We just shake our heads.

New York is doing it right. Anyone with a brain knows the quality of that watershed.

Sorry. I just don't feel like talking science over and over and over. Just stop using the stuff.
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jan 24, 2013 - 09:42am PT
Well i can totally agree with you base.I do not care to argue the thing to death either,and i have mentioned on other threads the same,who are you going to believe?

I will however preach/rally/support all alternatives,and their subsidizing ,support of our government.It is forward thinking,leading the transition off fossil fuels.

As for consumption,i do not believe the average american wants to work/sacrifice to become carbon neutral[or near it].I am talking with a contractor right now about the final piece in my own puzzle of renewables,geo thermal heat.It is fascinating.

I really feel with all of this that i have been cornered into defending my turf.Local government has been bought,farmers around here do not want fracking.They want windmills.Yet ,fracking, will sail right through,so you could see the dismay of mine and plenty of others here.

Hope you are getting that boat out soon!
tallguy

Trad climber
eastside
Jan 24, 2013 - 10:00am PT
Base,

Thoughts on the biomass carbon vs. fossil carbon distinction question I asked on the last page? Still curious about that..
bookworm

Social climber
Falls Church, VA
Jan 24, 2013 - 12:22pm PT
always suspicious when the accusers are reluctant to answer straight questions:

http://fracknation.com/


also suspicious of cries of environmental disaster ala the alaskan pipeline, exxon valdez, gulf oil spill, etc.

not saying we shouldn't be careful, but hysteria is not convincing


Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Jan 24, 2013 - 01:19pm PT
who are you going to believe?


Or who are you going to have some faith in? If you are a Hook worm you certainly won't invest any faith in regulatory government agencies but that leaves industry...... enough said.

Up here our gas industry along with many other resource extraction industries are so poorly monitored and environmetal standards are so poorly enforced as well as watered down to such insignificance that we have no real faith in government..... which leaves Industry?!?

Base - would you ever consider wearing a white hat? I'm only half kidding. Are you really confident of your regulators to manage and enforce and avoid corruption?

If so I congratulate and envy you
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jan 24, 2013 - 01:43pm PT
well said bruce
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jan 24, 2013 - 02:21pm PT
wilbeer,

You state the following: "I really feel with all of this that i have been cornered into defending my turf.Local government has been bought,farmers around here do not want fracking.They want windmills.Yet ,fracking, will sail right through,so you could see the dismay of mine and plenty of others here."

I agree that local sentiments matter. In my neck of the woods, those who burn wood to heat their homes are villains this time of year, because the pollution from the particulate matter constitutes a much greater health hazard than the pollution from electricity generation or methane combustion. Your locality is apparently different.

And windmills here are now getting a bad rap because the local environmental community says they cause widespread destruction of migratory birds. As BASE104 says (or would say), all energy remains imperfect.

Your statement about farmers selling out confuses me. If they don't want fracking, but they're selling out, what's going on? Are the energy companies taking their mineral rights by eminent domain, or do these involve private, voluntary transactions? I don't want to work, either, but I gladly trade my time for money. Does that mean I'm being treated unfairly?

Finally, you ask who I would believe. I believe people in the industry, such as BASE104, on technical issues, because they are the ones with first-hand knowledge of what actually goes on in the field. I am particularly skeptical of Hollywood, because it is in the business of creating fantasy, and of the conventional, unspecialized media, because they are ignorant and subject to group think. Also, the conventional media seems to be more and more enamored of "advocacy journalism," or, as we used to call it, propaganda. When advocacy groups on either side of the fracking issue provide arguments, I examine their data and explanations and make my own decisions. I don't choose what to believe before hearing the evidence.

John

wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jan 24, 2013 - 03:40pm PT
John,firstly,burning firewood is one of the cleaner ways to heat.Yes ,the particulate goes in to the atmosphere,there it combines with a variety of compounds and settles out through gravity,in effect cleaning our atmos phere.The same thing is said of forrest fires.As a geology prof once said"a solution to pollution is dilution".Not only does firewood do that ,it is carbon neutral,burning methane is not.

Secondly,windfarms are big here,and only getting bigger,farmers make more on their leases and less physical land is used employing mills=more crop yield.There are less[other than those you mentioned]possibly bad repercussions to their crops/livestock.Most farms around here grow vegtables for Birds Eye,a leading food company,they do not want to risk losing those contracts if things were to turn south with fracking.I can understand why farmers downstate[delaware river valley] want fracking,because the DOA has been buying them out and relocating them for decades.The farming sucks because of poor water/soil conservation practices.

And finally,Josh Fox,a resident of ny,grew up in pa.[as did i]From what i know,he made a documentary,had trouble getting distribution,accepted money from an actress,amongst others[yes liberals],to get the thing distributed.It was not made by hollywood.You can read into that whatever you want.The premise of the film was to show exactly what Base has said,what a huge industrialization fracking is.
What kills me is that all they[gas industry] have debunked is that the guys tap water does not light up.They have not even tried to say anything about what the rest of the documentary states,i.e.condensate pollution,surface and wastewater disposal,land use,misuse,etc.

Now if this were in the name of energy independence,maybe i could get behind it.But in light of recent findings that the gas companies want less restrictions, so they can export gas to countries that will pay more than us,i and many round here are more than against it.Especially with the things that COULD happen to OUR environment. Terence
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jan 24, 2013 - 03:55pm PT
http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/drilling/violations/ And one other thing,all this just 70 miles south of me, in PA.Just sw of elmira,ny,three rivers start,the alleghany,which goes to the ohio,the genesee which goes to the st.lauwrence and the susquehana which goes to the chesapeake bay




That is what ive been talking about.I have been to some of these sites,these guys could not organize a rockfight,but we should trust them.3025 violations,and the PA DEP are way understaffed to try and keep up.
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 24, 2013 - 04:20pm PT
I agree on the one side is hysteria....and the other profits.

There are always solutions. But you are not going to get them from the ones profiting and you wont get reasonable ones from the hysterics.

I have been cleaning up the worst stuff in the USA for over two decades now, dealing with the results that the profiteers left behind and trying to find reasonable solutions that the hysterical people end up disagreeing with.

In every single clean up I have been on it would have ALWAYS been cheaper to not pollute in the first place. Allowing Frackers to inject "proprietary" chemicals into the ground is stupid. It may not "fix" the overall problem that Base refers to, but I dont see anyone on this thread willing to say, "No, I am not climbing this weekend to save gas so I can save the environment". Thats because it is not a real solution in this day and age. Which is not to say that we do nothing. We absolutely need to try and conserve. But at the end of the day we have to fix the problems that we can fix and not throw our hands up.

There needs to be tighter controls on fracking in terms of pollution pprevention. Pay now, or pay a LOT more later.
Hoser

climber
vancouver
Jan 24, 2013 - 04:22pm PT
John,firstly,burning firewood is one of the cleaner ways to heat.Yes ,the particulate goes in to the atmosphere

and your lungs and then you die....its one of the leading causes of death in the undeveloped world where the use it and dung exclusively for cooking and eating

KNow what happens when they get some cashola...they buy a propane stove
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 24, 2013 - 04:25pm PT
Yeah, most third world countries dont use those EPA certified Wood Buring Inserts or Stoves. In fact, most old trailer parks in the USA dont either.
Hoser

climber
vancouver
Jan 24, 2013 - 04:38pm PT
right now, with gas prices in the gutter, drilling has slowed to a crawl in the shale gas plays. Everyone is drilling for oil. The joke is if you hit a gas well you will be fired.

There in lies the rub, the cheaper the fuel the less money we will spend to find better fuels. So in reality, if oil could go really high then we could move on.

This is why building pipelines from the oilsands is not a good idea in the name of moving onto a cleaner alternative.

It would involve fewer regulatory hurdles - after all, they'd simply double an existing pipeline on existing rights of way, and increase the amount of tanker traffic through an already heavily used and regulated waterway.

It still crosses two provinces which makes it a federal gig, so still quite a few hurdles, less than keystone but more than within a single province

I'll say it for the thousandth time. An American uses something like thirty times more resources than your typical third world citizen. So when you talk about our 0.9% population growth, the effect is much higher. We are a little country, 5% of the world's population, and use 25% of the world's oil.

And another reason why we dont need the rest of the world trying to catch up, bottom line as BASE said, stop using it....if they lose customers...
Hoser

climber
vancouver
Jan 24, 2013 - 04:41pm PT
Essentially to point out that central North America is rapidly producing more oil and gas,

Which is why they want to sell to Asia, to get at the world price of oil, right now they have to sell it cheaper in the North American oil market, they are losing billions and billions

Funny that what within a decade we completely blew out the notion of peak oil, we are set for centuries...so we really do need to figure out a way to move on

wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jan 24, 2013 - 05:53pm PT
Just for clarification,when i say burning firewood is one of the cleaner methods of heating,it is ,when you burn in a modern woodstove with a reburning catalyst system .
It does matter where you live also.JE you live in Fresno,a close friend lived in Selma for years ,i remember him saying that smoke from his woodstove could linger for days,depending on weather systems.He also said smog could form in the valley and take some time to move over the sierra.Is this correct?
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Jan 24, 2013 - 06:09pm PT
Which is why they want to sell to Asia,


Yes. This is what its all about. The energy independence thing is a total ruse and red herring.

But to hell with that anyway. China is the elephant in the room somewhat and they will be demanding our coal, oil and gas if they aren't already. The only ones who shouldn't mind giving it to them for peanuts and no strings attached are the multi nationals corporations that call the shots.

Now, if we were really interested in more than just a trickle down of wages and royalties, like a decrease in CO2 production for instance, wouldn't it be wise to index decreases in coal and oil consumption with access to our gas? What - that is just not done?

How about if California really really wants to buy our "green" hydro produced electricity, we first require them to decrease coal fired electricity.

What - we don't do that either?

Of course not. We walked away from Kyoto remember?


Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Jan 24, 2013 - 07:35pm PT
Wilbeer, Fresno has the worst air in the nation.

DMT
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jan 24, 2013 - 09:57pm PT
Well thanks DMT,I have only been through there a couple times back in the early 80s.
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jan 25, 2013 - 11:32am PT
Heres some more hysteria for you.http://ecowatch.org/2013/natural-gas-exports-economy/
Hoser

climber
vancouver
Jan 25, 2013 - 12:07pm PT
All boils down to what the cheapest energy source is.

Regarding the LNG and methane, I think if you look at the pollutants from coal and oil and compare it to the ones from LNG you end up putting less into the atmosphere with LNG.

However making gas liquid requires quite a bit of power so you need or should include that in your final calculations. This is why these plants will grab all the IPP power and go green.

http://www.bchydro.com/etc/medialib/internet/documents/planning_regulatory/iep_ltap/2012q2/draft_2012_irp_executive.Par.0001.File.DRAFT_2012_IRP_ExecutiveSummary.pdf
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Jan 25, 2013 - 12:40pm PT
Thanks Wilbeer for the edumacation that woodstoves are teh cleanest stuff out there. As Reagan announced and clarified years earlier, "trees are the largest producer of methane in the world". So I suppose if we cut them all down and burn them the world will be a much better place.

As far as your comment:
"i have not seen fracknation,so i cannot comment on Dr Chu"
Fracknation is a movie which has not come out, whereas Dr Chu has been the Secretary of Energy for over 4 years. I have this program on my computer called Google, I use it research things. Click here to learn more. http://bit.ly/JGvtyo

Hope that helps, you can enter "Who is Dr Steven Chu" to get more info.

You might want to clue the EPA in on the point you make on how clean woodstoves are, those idiots have it totally wrong as their chart shows.



Next, increasing the price of oil has been a goal of this administration. Gasoline for autos has doubled in the first 4 years of the Obama administration. However, despite what is noted upthread - this natural gas being fracked isn't so much competing with oil as with coal. The major use is production of electricity. Coal is the leading way we get electrical power and the numbers are shocking and staggering. A quick search of "clean coal" as an energy source should dissuade you that burning coal is a good thing on any level.

So if you want to stop the increased production of natural gas via fracking, have at it. But realize that what you will be getting then in place of natural gas for electricity production, is so much worse. As far as exporting it via liquefaction, have at it I'd say. It will increase the price and help reduce consumption (although the elasticity models of power don't show it to be significant, power is price elastic).

Unless we all go to those beautiful EPA certified clean burning woodstoves and can manage to make all those nasty "methane producing trees" to disappear off the planet.


BTW Wilbeer, the "solution to pollution" comment started out as twisted humor. That it has been advocated by academia now is a scary thought.

Wilbeer said:
"John,firstly,burning firewood is one of the cleaner ways to heat.Yes ,the particulate goes in to the atmosphere,there it combines with a variety of compounds and settles out through gravity,in effect cleaning our atmos phere.The same thing is said of forrest fires.As a geology prof once said"a solution to pollution is dilution".Not only does firewood do that ,it is carbon neutral,burning methane is not."

Oh, as far as your attempt to slam me for being a "republican", I'd rather be a republican than a dumbass any day. I may be a dumbass but sorry to inform you I am not a republican.

I do have a dog in the fight I'll share. I've invested a shitload of money into natural gas related companies and I suggest you look at doing the same. If you are interested in my thoughts on that, I'd be fine with sharing them but the short version is that because natural gas is so damned cheap right now, I've concentrated on companies that have large proven reserves. One hickup in the middle east and gas will go crazy due to speculation. Long term it's a no-brainer winner as well, as natural gas (and again, it's prime use will be electricity production) is one of the healthiest of our energy sources, there will be additional uses found and exploited as time goes on (car and truck conversion, new pipelines installed etc etc) and useage will increase thus driving up prices again. The Obama administration is trying to make coal go away and encourage that it go over to China. Talking long term on Natural Gas, it's a winner. Does fracking suck? Yes. Sorry, it causes environmental issues it really does. We know that. Is it a better choice than coal? Yes. Hands down no question. Dr Chu was a breath of fresh air after 8 years of Bush and an excellent choice by President Obama. With him controlling the game, I don't feel I need to micro manage the issue and that the peoples interest isn't being looked after, and you might consider that idea as well.

In either case, wish you well.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jan 25, 2013 - 01:11pm PT
Damn. I just wrote a tome worthy of a Nobel Prize and my computer just whacked it into oblivion. I hate laptops.

Couchmaster, I know those companies inside out, and I don't have the balls to buy them. The supply end of the equation is going to be pretty cyclic. You can play the cycles, though. PM me is you want to yack about them.

I'm a libertarian Democrat, so don't try talking politics. I'll discuss policy, but not politics, other than to say that most Republicans have some sort of disease. They wash their hair and it always has sh#t in it.

:)
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jan 25, 2013 - 01:14pm PT
Couch,when we say fine particulate matter,Do you know what that is?Do you know what oil or ngas put in the air?Do you know what carbon neutrality means?Please educate me on that.
Particulates from wood burning, are far less toxic than carbon monoxides and unburned petrochemicals left behind from burning fossil fuels,while the fossil fuels have far less particulate in amounts,the matter they do leave behind is far more toxic.There are no perfect fuels and or energies ,but some are much" greener" than others[chemically speaking].
It is somewhat very similar of a discussion between diesel exhaust and gasoline exhaust,yeah the diesel has way more particulate[and looks dirty],but the gasoline exhaust has way more harmful chemicals.
I am sure you can pick this apart to.


And by the way in your previous "movie review" ,i would like to know how saying people against fracking are actually covertly with Putin .You are right ,thats not demonizing anybody.
Where did i say i dont know who Dr, Chu is?From your text,i took it as he had said something in the movie[which i have not seen,and all my previous comments were about the"review" of it]
Do you know where methane from trees comes from?It is not from burning them.
"Solution to Polution is Dilution" was said to me 35 years ago by a then old professor,its hardly new to academia and i believe its origins are from industry.

BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jan 25, 2013 - 01:17pm PT
There is nothing neutral over Carbon. We have to actually remove it from the atmosphere, because we have already crossed at least part of the tipping point by spewing almost all of your oil into the atmosphere already. We are burning coal right and left.

Biofuels or anything you burn is bad. Use natural gas or propane if you can.

wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jan 25, 2013 - 01:49pm PT
"There is nothing neutral over carbon"
Base with great respect,How?
Wood ,biofuels,start their life as plants,taking co2 out of the atmosphere ,replenishing o2.Their cycle is just that.There are huge arguments against fossil fuels for this very reason.No fossil fuels can do this,this is the premise of carbon neutrality.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jan 25, 2013 - 02:00pm PT
It does matter where you live also.JE you live in Fresno,a close friend lived in Selma for years ,i remember him saying that smoke from his woodstove could linger for days,depending on weather systems.He also said smog could form in the valley and take some time to move over the sierra.Is this correct?

DMT answered the question technically accurately, though as someone who spent nine years in the LA area, what constitutes "bad air" and what feels like "bad air" differ. Nonetheless, the San Joaquin Valley is one huge basin with prevailing winds that carry air -- and everything in it -- to the base of the Sierra and Tehachapi mountains. During the winter, a thermal inversion keeps that air stagnant, and particulate matter becomes a real health hazard.

Now as for Selma . . . my wife is from Selma, so I have an extremely high opinion of Selma natives. Your friend must have been outstanding.

John
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jan 25, 2013 - 02:07pm PT
John,thanks for that. My freind from Selma was Norm Gong Guy,he worked with me for 20+ years.He passed away from pc 4+ years ago.So i too have high regards for Selma. Terence
and yes he was an outstanding person.
TradEddie

Trad climber
Philadelphia, PA
Jan 25, 2013 - 02:28pm PT
Biofuels or anything you burn is bad. Use natural gas or propane if you can.

Please explain?
TE
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Jan 25, 2013 - 02:33pm PT
I like Selma too. Raisin capital of the world and some fine Mexican restaurants, if you can successfully negotiate getting across the railroad tracks hahahaha.

Check out Rodolfos... interesting twist on salsa (I think it has applesauce in it)

You eaten there John? I know there are other gooduns there too.

DMT
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jan 25, 2013 - 02:45pm PT
I'll ask my wife if she knew Norman. There was a Gong Guy in her class at Selma High who died in a fire while she was in high school. I wonder if they were related.

I have not eaten at Rodolfo's, DMT, but it's now on my list.

John
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jan 25, 2013 - 03:19pm PT
John,He would have been 54, as i am,many sisters and brothers,his dad ran a asian food store in Selma.A very humor filled person,a masters in biophysics from the University of Rochester,[what brought him here]with undergraduate studies at Berkeley.A 25 year carpenter and superb craftsman.
Hoser

climber
vancouver
Jan 25, 2013 - 03:43pm PT
Please explain?
TE

Just look at what each fuel pumps into the atmosphere and then decide which is the best one, for now. So that we dont head past the amount of what we can put into the atmosphere in order to not surpass the 2c limit of warming.

Thats something like 565 giga tons more, which works out to about 16 years at the current rate with a 3% increase per year.

So if we can get into LNG we may be able to lengthen that time to transition to something else and start conserving
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Feb 6, 2013 - 09:39pm PT
http://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/US-Breweries-go-to-War-against-Fracking-Industry.htm You gotta love breweries!
Dick_Lugar

Trad climber
Casper the Friendly Ghost Town!
Feb 7, 2013 - 07:03pm PT
Not sure if this point was covered or not. It's well-known (that's punny!)that many oil and gas wells are not properly sealed when they are shut-in or abandoned. Operators are supposed to plug certain know zones where groundwater resides. So, if that is at 5,000 ft. they need to cement or shove bentonite down to those zones in the casing to prevent transmission of fluids in the event the casing erodes or is compromised.

Not sure of the frequency, but I know it happens more than we realize from well inspectors BLM and actual oil and gas personnel that have done this practice. A favorite practice to seal wells is just to plug the first several feet of the top of the well/casing and call it good and not even plug the zones where groundwater is found. Once the casing erodes and fills up to the groundwater zones, contamination is inevitable.

I wouldn't count on being able to use groundwater in areas of oil and gas development within 50-100yrs. after drilling began, give or take.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 7, 2013 - 07:22pm PT
Base104: Casing leaks happen in certain areas

healyje: I'd say it's the combination of an inevitable percentage of casing leaks in combination with shoddy flowback disposal that are the problem with fracking. I'm guessing the former happens infrequently but can have fairly serious consequences, but having worked around the mid-south and having a pretty good feel for the kind of fly-by-night operators who are out there leaves me with far greater concerns with the latter.

So to the former, how pervasive are casings failures and how often are there serious environmental / health consequences as a result. To the latter, how many bad players are there and how big a problem is shoddy or criminal flowback disposal?

Maybe this is the better thread for asking this question...
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 7, 2013 - 09:11pm PT
Every casing leak that I have ever seen has happened years after any frack flowback. It takes that long for a corrosive zone to eat through that stout steel.

I'm sorry, but you guys have zero knowledge of how drilling and production works. If I could have a full day and a chalkboard, I could give you the basics, but a seminar on oil and gas production for non scientists costs several grand. Those courses are usually for non science types who work in or around the oil business. Management, land, banking, those sorts.

I'd try to explain more, but I'm tired of doing it over and over.

Every casing leak I have seen is from corrosive fluid on the backside of the production string. You still have two strings beyond that which cover groundwater. When you buy casing, it is drifted, pressure tested, and right before it goes in, the threads are electronically inspected. If a thread doesn't pass, it gets red spray paint and doesn't go in.

A prize for anyone who can tell me what a kelly bushing is. Google is off limits.
johntp

Trad climber
socal
Feb 7, 2013 - 09:41pm PT
Damn Base. My mind grows old and feeble; back when I was 17 working on gas rigs in the gulf I knew what a kelley bushing was, but I'll take a stab at it: it is the swivel that allows the pipe to spin while keeping the drilling mud contained.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 7, 2013 - 09:43pm PT
I get that probably most folks do things by the book and also that sh#t sometimes happens.

With regard to casings I'm simply trying to ascertain what the likely frequency of such casing failures as a percentage of the total number of wells (say per thousand wells) assuming the incidence is somewhere north of zero.

And I already know all about sketch crews in any number of fields - in this case I'm just trying to decipher - from someone who seems to me like they really know what they're talking about - what percentage of the fracking is done by crews likely to cut corners and cause problems - again, assuming the number is somewhere north of zero in the real world.

Having some idea of both, in combination with aquifer and water sourcing info in any given area, I should think would give at least a rough idea of the overall risk to drinking water supplies over time and how much state and federal oversight is required.

I also get that no one likes negative waves in the midst of a gold rush. I'm just trying to cut through all the hype on both sides to get a rough idea of the risks involved.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 11, 2013 - 01:41am PT
Close John,

The kelly is basically a square pipe that you screw into the top of the drill pipe at every connection. It goes through a square hole in the rotating floor and spins the drill string.

Now you remember, eh? The roughnecks sit in the doghouse getting warm, staring at that kelly going down. When you are drilling very deep you might have a ten minutes/foot rate of penetration. That's 300 minutes between connections. If they are lucky, morning tower gets to sleep all night....
johnboy

Trad climber
Can't get here from there
Feb 11, 2013 - 02:10am PT
rotating floor

Motor table?

Been 38 years, my last rig was all diesel electric.
Saaweet

Seen a lot of crazy sh$t. My last day our dereck hand was riding the collars up, driller was whacked on a 3 day speed trip and ran him into the crown. I walked and the driller threatened all water haulers not to give me a ride. Then the tool pusher showed up and asked me what happened, he gave me a ride in and told my driller (and the rest of his crew) not to come back.
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Mar 6, 2013 - 07:31pm PT
http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2013/03/06/will-new-yorks-fracking-decision-matter-to- We here in NY win,for now. The money will eventually win though.
dave729

Trad climber
Western America
Mar 19, 2013 - 10:29pm PT
Fracking California! Let the drilling begin.

The Monterey Shale, running southeast of San Francisco at an average depth
of 11,000 feet, extends over about 1,750 square miles and may hold

64 percent of the nation’s estimated shale oil reserves, according to the
federal Energy Information Administration.

That’s double the combined reserves of the Bakken Shale (NDBOOILP) in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas, where energy companies are spending billions.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-17/california-fracking-fight-has-25-billion-taxes-at-stake.html



TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 19, 2013 - 10:40pm PT
Operators are supposed to plug certain know zones where groundwater resides. So, if that is at 5,000 ft. they need to cement or shove bentonite down to those zones

LOL

If you are pumping from a 5,000 ft aquifer (if any viable ones exist) you are going to go broke on pumping costs.

1,500 ft is a really deep water well.
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
Apr 25, 2013 - 08:45pm PT
http://grist.org/news/radioactive-frack-waste-quarantined-at-pa-dump-turned-away/?utm_campaign=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&kmi=robbertken2008@mac.com


Fracking waste deemed too radioactive for hazardous-waste dump

By John Upton


A truck carrying fracking waste was quarantined and then sent back to where it came from after its contents triggered a radiation alarm at a Pennsylvania hazardous-waste landfill. The truck’s load was nearly 10 times more radioactive than is permitted at the dump in South Huntingdon township.

The radiation came from radium 226, a naturally occurring material in the Marcellus Shale, which being fracked for natural gas in Pennsylvania and nearby states. “Radium is a well known contaminant in fracking operations,” writes Jeff McMahon at Forbes.


From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Township Supervisor Mel Cornell said the MAX Environmental Technologies truck was quarantined Friday after it set off a radiation alarm at MAX’s landfill near Yukon, a 159-acre site that accepts residual waste and hazardous waste.

[Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection] spokesman John Poister confirmed the drill cutting materials from Rice Energy’s Thunder II pad in Greene County had a radiation level of 96 microrem.

The landfill must reject any waste with a radiation level that reaches 10 microrem or higher.

“It’s low-level radiation, but we don’t want any radiation in South Huntingdon,” Cornell said.

Poister said DEP instructed MAX to return the materials to the well pad where it was extracted for subsequent disposal at an approved facility.

Pennsylvania is currently studying radiation issues associated with fracking of the shale and disposal of the industry’s waste.




 Yeah…. Let me hear another "It's totally safe" argument….
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
Jun 1, 2013 - 09:54pm PT
bump.

Apparently the Boulder County Board of Supervisors has been bought out and they have lifted the moratorium on fracking in Boulder County.

A huge battle is building and I'm a part of it.

Ridiculous.
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jun 1, 2013 - 10:18pm PT
It really sucks in your backyard.
On the prairie or up the mountain?
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Jun 1, 2013 - 11:35pm PT
Regarding Dr Steven Chu, former director of the Dept of Energy:
"Of course, curiously, fracking wasn't shut down or even slowed down by him and his hires. Clearly he didn't consult (any of) you about it or perhaps he would have. But all he had was a damned fine brain, a Doctorate, extensive work in physics, he was the Director of the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, where he led the lab in pursuit of alternative and renewable energy technologies. He also taught at the University of California as a Professor of Physics and Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology. Previously, he held positions at Stanford University and AT&T Bell Laboratories.

His research in atomic physics, quantum electronics, polymer and biophysics includes tests of fundamental theories in physics, the development of methods to laser cool and trap atoms, atom interferometry, and the study of polymers and biological systems at the single molecule level. While at Stanford, he helped start Bio-X, a multi-disciplinary initiative that brings together the physical and biological sciences with engineering and medicine.

The dude is the holder of 10 patents, and has published ~250 scientific and technical papers. He remains active with his research group and has recently published work on general relativity, single molecule biology, biophysics and biomedicine, and on scientific challenges and opportunities in clean energy. Over 30 alumni of his research group have gone on to become distinguished professors and have been recognized by dozens of prizes and awards.

Dr. Chu is a member of numerous honorific societies including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Academia Sinica, the Korean Academy of Sciences and Technology, and is an honorary member of the Institute of Physics, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a Lifetime Member of the Optical Society of America. He received an A.B. degree in mathematics, a B.S. degree in physics from the University of Rochester, and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as 23 honorary degrees. and in fact had recieved the NobelFRIKKANPrize for Physics work. BUT HE WAS TOO STUPID TO CONSULT (any of) YOU ABOUT HOW HORRIBLE FRACKING IS SO FRACKING WILL JUST CONTINUE UNABATED. ..."
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
Jun 2, 2013 - 12:28am PT
not exactly sure where - mostly open space lands and probably along the range front (fault zones). Boulder County is pretty small.
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jun 2, 2013 - 08:59am PT
Couch,thanks for that ,is he still there?

He and the present admin want fracking ,to increase the use HERE ,to bridge the gap between now and future fuel/energy technology,i.e. replace coal.

Is that happening?

Meanwhile we have become the second largest exporter of fossil fuels.

Recently the port of Philadelphia has reopened for buisness,to export LNG .

Trust in Fossil Fuel Corporations is dangerous.So please tell me how this is strengthening the US's energy future?
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
Jun 2, 2013 - 10:26am PT
Nature - how long before you start tasting the tainted water?

Personally, at least with fracking, we have taken a step back socially.

One group of people from the industry made so many people without knowledge of these things that it was a good idea to go searching for gold down where the water stays….


Never a good idea, in my view
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jun 2, 2013 - 10:41am PT
This is not frac water. This was drill cuttings. When you drill an 8 inch hole for 5000 horizontal feet, it is quite a bit. In most places it is just covered and buried in the pit, because in verticals this never happens.

I will have to check in on this, because there are thousands of Marcellus wells and this is the first one to have high radioactivity, which is common in certain areas. The Marcellus actually outcrops over a large area, so that rock is in the aquifer that people have been using for centuries.

The drilling in the Denver Julesberg Basin targets the Niobrara formation, which is a much younger and much different rock. The Niobrara has turned out to be kind of a bust. It is really only good in the Wattenburg field, which consists of thousands of wells around Denver up to just east of Boulder. Not IN Boulder.

I'll check on this. I don't work the Marcellus up in the NE, where this is, but I do work with other shales, and this doesn't happen.

I'm leary about this, because so many thousands of wells have drilled through the Marcellus, and there is a lot of hysteria over it. I'm sure right now that everyone is checking the drill cuttings. If it is at that level, it will have to be taken to a hazardous waste landfill. My wife regulates those. It is more expensive to use a hazardous landfill, but in the 9 million dollar cost of these wells, it is just a nuisance.

Remember. This isn't from water. This is from the actual rock cuttings that are circulated up and separated from the mud stream. I have sat at least a couple of hundred wells, and the geologist looks at samples gathered at every ten feet.

The only real NORM problem that has occurred, is in the Permian Basin. Almost every single oil well produces associated saltwater, and over the years you can get scale buildup inside the production tubing, which isn't casing. It turned out that this scale from one zone was highly radioactive. The old tubing, which has to be replaced every decade or two, had built up a very radioactive scale, but it took many years to build up.

So all of that tubing, which had been used for fences and even things like swing sets, had to be found and disposed of properly.

Frac fluid is only in the formation for a few weeks. Most of it comes flowing back in the first few days. I've never heard of radioactive frac fluid.

This is a huge concern in the exploration industry, because public perception, even if it is false, has an impact. Right now we are seeing the really big companies coming in and buying out the smaller guys. The big companies have the resources to handle almost anything. If the Macondo blowout had happened on land, it would have been controlled within a few days, and could have been cleaned up.

Over the past few years, the flowback fluid has been recycled and used over and over again instead of purchasing clean fresh water, which is a big expense. The service companies now have "green" frac fluids that don't contain any toxic materials, and in general have been dealing with the problems that are unique to the Marcellus, which lies in Pennsylvania and associated areas.

These big stage fracs have been under a lot of scrutiny. You or anybody can go out to the pit and take samples of the flow back fluid, and this has been done many times. This case has nothing to do with the fluid. It was the actual rock that comes up in the drilling. I've NEVER heard of this before, but the shales are more radioactive than other shales. One of our logging tools is a gamma ray scintillomiter, and is run on modern wells. We know how radioactive the rock is that we are drilling through, and in all of the mid continent and rocky mountain basins (which are not "in the mountains.")

Everyone here knows how green I am, and if this isn't a spiked load of cuttings, it will have to dealt with. It isn't radioactive waste type radioactivity. It is just above the line for type one landfills.

The drill cuttings, if this pans out, will now have to be examined.

This is in the Marcellus, which is upper Devonian. The zone in eastern Colorado is the Niobrara, which has been produced for decades in vertical wells. Underneath the Denver area, the geothermal gradient is higher because it is in line with the Colorado Mineral Belt. The Niobrara is failing in most places other than the Wattenburg Field, so the whole Niobrara is very patchy. It isn't thermally mature in most other areas. There is a small place in the Powder River that I know of, but it is pretty small. Shales are really high tech, and I'm learning about the geomechanics, chemistry, capillary pressure and lots of other stuff that.

Do you guys know the association with Young's modulus and Poisson's ratio? These shales are examined with electron microscopes, x-ray diffraction, and the mineralogy is well understood. Every shale is a little different, and there is a learning curve to make economic wells.

I'm bummed today because a buddy of mine and his son were killed in the El Reno tornado two days ago. This guy was huge in the meteorology community, Nobody can believe that he was killed chasing. He did a lot of important work with Texas Tech on windspeeds and damage, along with successfully planting instruments that were hit by tornadoes, something that only he could pull off after zillions of attempts. His son and partner died with them when a tornado veered its course and caught them in their car, sending it flying and killing all three.
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
Jun 2, 2013 - 11:08am PT
Base….

You are totally biased being a worker in the industry. Not totally sure how much weight we're supposed to put in your "Its all safe" call.

One question: Can you say with certainty that every frac operation is run to your exacting standards and integrity?

If not, then you cannot say that everything is always safe with any sincerity.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Jun 2, 2013 - 11:27am PT
You are totally biased being a worker in the industry.

I'm not sure if your bias detecto-meter is working so hot there Jingy. What I just read in Bases post didn't raise a whole lot of red flags of bias and in fact I believe he indicated he was a bit puzzled by this development and he intends to look into it.

If Base possesses "total bias" he does a ferociously good job of concealing it, not just in that last post but damn near everything he writes. Of course the only people who can know for sure are his professional peers. Still you gotta wonder how you arrive at your "total bias" assessment. Or is it simply because he works in the industry?



10b4me

Ice climber
Jun 2, 2013 - 11:34am PT
Base, sorry to hear about your friends.
My condolences to you, and the family.
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
Jun 2, 2013 - 11:56am PT
Bruce - Right, I guess I too have allowed my anti-frac bias to get the better of me, in that I read Base to be pro-frac at all costs. Yes, he will look into something further, but in the meantime let the fracking continue regardless of the consequences to the people and the environment the people live in.

It's almost like reading the idea that spins the commercials that suggest that there are no problems in drilling for oil i the gulf and how much better the place is because of the drilling… I haven't been to the south, but from what I've heard there are more people down there on some kind of public assistance than anywhere else in the country.

If it (the frac) was really safe, there would be no need to report anything. We never hear stories on the people that continue to breath as this is what people do. Never hear the story about the numerous cars that start every day… That's just how things work. And if fracing were truly safe we would have never heard about it because life would have continued without a hitch. But as it stands there seems to be enough of the bad news so as to outweigh the good news, not to mention who false the claims of "making a community all better" economically.
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
Jun 2, 2013 - 01:58pm PT
I agree with Bruce. I've always appreciated Base for what he contributes.

We do get blinded when we stand for a cause and we have to be careful about that.

My teachers points out that in his tradition their approach is to look at all the positives and benefits and ways that other opinions might be right before taking it apart. I think often times the approach is to understand deeply your opinion on something (fracking, clear cutting, whatever) and use those strengths to tear down the opposition *before* understanding fully the oppositions strengths. The inherit problem there is if you are proven wrong you undermine not only the point you are trying to make but also your broader goals.

Base - do you have any information regarding the fracking that is looking to begin probably starting June 11th here in Boulder Country? (June 10th is when the moritorium is lifted).
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Jun 2, 2013 - 04:46pm PT
The Monterey Shale, running southeast of San Francisco at an average depth
of 11,000 feet
There are already low producing oil wells in the Santa Cruz mtns. The nearest me are adjacent to Castle Rock State Park and about 3 hawk miles away. There are others between La Honda and San Gregorio.

WHOOOEEEEE......I can lease out my little spot of paradise and get rich!
I've just changed my mind. Let The Fracking Begin!
sharperblue

Mountain climber
San Francisco, California
Jun 2, 2013 - 11:33pm PT
Very sorry to hear about your friends, Base - I'm really enjoying lurking and reading this one - brings back a lot of memories of the oil and gas wells drilled into the Devonian shale on my parent's land when I was 4 years old in the West Virginia hills.

Read Sinclair's 'Oil' a few years back and was absolutely amazed at how little had changed in the process of drilling from 1920's to the 70's. looking back at the family pics from those days makes it look like they were using the same equipment!

I remember the strange grey fracking waste was pumped into a pit that was then covered over; nothing at all grew in those filled pits for years and years
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Jun 3, 2013 - 12:30am PT
Jesus, the stupid Rubes in the White house have screwed the pooch again! This time the idiots have selected ANOTHER (see Dr Chu note above) PRO FRACKING HACK, a guy who is a MIT physicist no less (Ernest Moniz) to be the next Secretary of Energy.

Are they all just that stupid? He wants MORE electricity, cheaper. Where are they getting all these idiots? They clearly are not familiar with this web site, or they would be against fracking. Sh#t, do they just give about anyone a Doctorate these days? Sorry boys, looks like the new sheriff in town wants you to PAY LESS for electricity, which in turn will add shitloads of new jobs throughout the country as the cost to Mfg decreases, and you'll breath cleaner air while all that crap occurs. No way around it, they seem intent on cleaning up the environment by MORE fracking, not less. Ya can't even turn around and vote in the republicans either.

“Mr. Moniz has been supportive of nuclear power, clean coal as well as renewable energy. He is perhaps best known for a study published by MIT on the future of natural gas, which was presented to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in 2011.”

“It’s cheap, there’s lots of it and there’s lots of it in places with high demand, namely the U.S., China and India,” says co-author and M.I.T. physicist Ernest Moniz. “Sequestration,” he adds, “is a key enabling technology for coal use in a carbon-constrained world.”

“The world needs both more electricity and less pollution. The goals are not incompatible, but the solution will require better management of demand, smarter use of coal as well as renewable energy sources, and increased use of nuclear power.”

Clearly the academics don't know sh#t about shinola these days. Pfft, pro-fracking and he's a Doctorate from MIT.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jun 3, 2013 - 12:50am PT
There are a ton of little gas wells that have been drilled in and produce from the Marcellus. There is a town in Pennsylvania where back in the olden days, they drilled incredibly shallow wells to light the town. This is also where the water caught fire in the movie Gasland. He didn't show the water from the other 4000 people in the town who deal with the same thing and have since day one.

I'm not proanything that trashes aquifers or makes people sick.

This all started in the Marcellus Shale in the Northeast. There have been no problems of any significance in the thousands of horizontals in the Woodfod Shale in the Arkoma Basin, the Anadarko Basin, or the Sherman Marieta Basin.

All I'm saying is that there is a ton of misinformation out there. Casing leaks for example. We have been dealing with those for decades. In parts of Kansas, there is a sandstone called the Cedar Hills formation. It is full of saltwater, but it is corrosive for some reason, and if you don't run an uphole cement tool to cement across it, you will get a casing leak within a few years and lose your well.

I take offense to you calling me biased. For the past five years I have been working limestone and dolomite reservoirs. Not shales, but I go to the meetings and see a ton of data.

So the general public is scared of this. Although we know that most of this stuff is so stupid that a one year geologist knows it is bunk, that doesn't matter anymore. The big companies who do a lot of this are doing all sorts of stuff that isn't necessary just to prove that the wells are safe.

I spent a year at Chesapeake, who was drilling more shale gas wells than any other company, and they had an entire hydrology and groundwater division that studied the aquifers in the Marcellus. They did pre-drilling sampling of all nearby water wells, and drilled monitoring wells. They didn't have to do it, but they spent a ton of money on it. Nobody wants a problem.

If you are going to call me biased, well you are wrong. I get to see microseismic, which records each fracture and where it is in relation to the wellbore. I've never seen a fracture get more than 100 feet out of zone.

These shales aren't everywhere, and many shales aren't suitable. The productive shales produce from silica rich layers that have clay rich ductile layers between them. The frac science is designed to frac the silica rich zone, because you can't frac the ductile shales. They have to be brittle to take a frac. The economic trends in the shales are usually 10 or 20 miles wide and maybe several hundred miles long. A lot of it has to do with thermal maturity of the Type II kerogen. It has to have been heated to a certain point for these organic rich shales to source the gas in the whole basin.

Right now I am reading everything about shales, because I am probably going to work in the Bakken in North Dakota, where all of the farmers are millionaires.

The U.S. has produced more oil than the reserves of any other country on the planet besides Saudi Arabia. There are so many wells in the producing basins that a map of them looks like a bird shot pattern. The wells that cause problems are the ones up to about 1965. They didn't have to case off the groundwater, which has been mapped in every state. They also didn't plug them worth a damn. Today, plugging standards are far tougher, but the thing is, plugging it properly is not expensive at all.

All of these basins have gas production dating back to he twenties or thirties. The gas shales are deep. 8000 to 12000 feet. The thickest one I know of is 400 feet. It is overlain by a sedimentary sequence that is thousands of feet thick. The typical sedimentary sequence is 90% shale, but not the organic rich shale that is brittle enough to be fracked, and it doesn't carry organics to begin with.

I was on a rig once when the operator let the mudpit overflow. I was woken by a very irate inspector, and happily gave him the home phone number of the operator, leadint to a fine, although it wasn't a toxic release. I never worked for them again.

I'm desperate to get off of hydrocarbons. I believe in global warming, because these organic rich shales were deposited in anoxic conditions cause by ocean acidification, which was caused by CO2 forced hothouse conditions just like we are doing.

Natural gas is by far the lowest carbon fuel, but our country has a huge gullet for oil. We now import over half of what we use. The dream has always been to switch to natural gas instead of oil as a transportation fuel. Transportation fuel is by far the biggest use of oil.

We totally waste the stuff, and it is sickening. We have a nigh endless supply of natural gas. The problem is that alternatives are much more expensive. People look the other way and fill up their big trucks that they don't need, and drive them around every day with only one person in the truck.

I just understand fracks. We have been fracking wells for many decades, and haven't had any problems that I'm aware of. Jinghy doesn't understand the science of wellbore design, reservoir pressure (which is low in the shales), geochemistry, rock mechanics, anything. I deal with this every day of my life.

I'm not biased. I'm just saying something that he doesn't want to hear.
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Jun 3, 2013 - 08:49am PT
Base said:
"So the general public is scared of this"

MIT PHd holder nuclear physicist and current Sec. of Energy Moniz isn't.

Say what you will about Obama, he has a good grasp on how important energy is to the country and has acted in our long term interest. His avoidance of political hacks as sec of Energy via selecting intelligent folks who have both book smarts and real smarts is an example. This nomination is an awesome choice. Boosting the CAFE standards as one of his first acts when elected was the very first example.

Of course, holding a Phd is no panacea you are not a stupid douchbag, look at Weschrist for instance, but it's better than hiring an ignorant hack like Bill Richardson.
wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jun 3, 2013 - 09:12am PT
While i will agree Couch, with the above,i for one ,do not believe fracking at the headwaters of 3 major wataersheds in pa,is a very smart agenda.
That water supplies millions of peoples needs.
5000 wells less than 100 miles from my house,NG prices have only risen.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jun 3, 2013 - 10:09am PT
Obama has been quite friendly to the domestic oil and gas industry. These are the companies that drill onshore.

You have to calm down and be rational.

I am crazy against drilling in ANWR. The hype over that is pure propaganda.

The propaganda doesn't come from the oil companies so much. The state of Alaska needs it to survive. They have no means of support other than the oil production coming down that pipeline.

I wrote a journal article about this a long time ago.
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Jun 3, 2013 - 10:20am PT
you're supposed to just keep playin with yer ipad and not notice anything.
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Jun 3, 2013 - 02:52pm PT
The big companies who do a lot of this are doing all sorts of stuff that isn't necessary just to prove that the wells are safe.

if the wells are so safe then i guess it would be cool with you to have one of these operations on your 5 acre parcel where your water comes from a well.

BS. Some of your posts have so much extraneous BS to them that have nothing to do with the issue at all.

BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jun 3, 2013 - 04:12pm PT
Dude,

That was typical internet childish behavior.

You are ignorant about the topic, and the fact that you wish to remain willfully ignorant pretty much sums you up.



wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jun 3, 2013 - 07:37pm PT
BASE ,I am calm and rational,WE have yet to see any benefit from all this,will WE?.
I totally respect your position on this,alaska,south dakota need this,does pa,ny or colorado ,near metros like Boulder?
When were there rich farmers from apalachia? Not in our recent history and certainly not now.
I just do not believe fracking should be going down near such population centers,time will tell. I will stay calm.
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Jun 3, 2013 - 07:47pm PT
Do you guys know the association with Young's modulus and Poisson's ratio? These shales are examined with electron microscopes, x-ray diffraction, and the mineralogy is well understood. Every shale is a little different, and there is a learning curve to make economic wells.

so Base, whats the point of this comment/question? does it have anything to do with the waste associated with fracking? no.

and its inconceivable to me that someone who deals with the subsurface does not know about radon. a noble gas that is commonly found in some sub surface areas which typically has a very short half-life of about 4 days.

Natural [edit]





Radon concentration next to a uranium mine.
Radon is produced by the radioactive decay of radium-226, which is found in uranium ores; phosphate rock; shales; igneous and metamorphic rocks such as granite, gneiss, and schist; and, to a lesser degree, in common rocks such as limestone.[53] Every square mile of surface soil, to a depth of 6 inches (2.6 km2 to a depth of 15 cm), contains approximately 1 gram of radium, which releases radon in small amounts to the atmosphere[2] On a global scale, it is estimated that 2,400 million curies (90 TBq) of radon are released from soil annually.[54]

Radon concentration varies widely from place to place. In the open air, it ranges from 1 to 100 Bq/m3, even less (0.1 Bq/m3) above the ocean. In caves or aerated mines, or ill-aerated houses, its concentration climbs to 20–2,000 Bq/m3.[55] Radon concentration can be much higher in mining contexts. Ventilation regulations instruct to maintain radon concentration in uranium mines under the "working level", with 95th percentile levels ranging up to nearly 3 WL (546 pCi 222Rn per liter of air; 20.2 kBq/m3, measured from 1976 to 1985).[2] The concentration in the air at the (unventilated) Gastein Healing Gallery averages 43 kBq/m3 (1.2 nCi/L) with maximal value of 160 kBq/m3 (4.3 nCi/L).[56]

Radon mostly appears with the decay chain of the radium and uranium series (222Rn), and marginally with the thorium series (220Rn). The element emanates naturally from the ground, and some building materials, all over the world, wherever traces of uranium or thorium can be found, and particularly in regions with soils containing granite or shale, which have a higher concentration of uranium. However, not all granitic regions are prone to high emissions of radon. Being a rare gas, it usually migrates freely through faults and fragmented soils, and may accumulate in caves or water. Owing to its very short half-life (four days for 222Rn), radon concentration decreases very quickly when the distance from the production area increases. Radon concentration varies greatly with season and atmospheric conditions. For instance, it has been shown to accumulate in the air if there is a meteorological inversion and little wind.[57]

High concentrations of radon can be found in some spring waters and hot springs.[58] The towns of Boulder, Montana; Misasa; Bad Kreuznach, Germany; and the country of Japan have radium-rich springs that emit radon. To be classified as a radon mineral water, radon concentration must be above a minimum of 2 nCi/L (74 kBq/m3).[59] The activity of radon mineral water reaches 2,000 kBq/m3 in Merano and 4,000 kBq/m3 in Lurisia (Italy).[56]

Natural radon concentrations in the Earth's atmosphere are so low that radon-rich water in contact with the atmosphere will continually lose radon by volatilization. Hence, ground water has a higher concentration of 222Rn than surface water, because radon is continuously produced by radioactive decay of 226Ra present in rocks. Likewise, the saturated zone of a soil frequently has a higher radon content than the unsaturated zone because of diffusional losses to the atmosphere.[60][61]

In 1971, Apollo 15 passed 110 km (68 mi) above the Aristarchus plateau on the Moon, and detected a significant rise in alpha particles thought to be caused by the decay of 222Rn. The presence of 222Rn has been inferred later from data obtained from the Lunar Prospector alpha particle spectrometer.[62]

Radon is found in some petroleum. Because radon has a similar pressure and temperature curve to propane, and oil refineries separate petrochemicals based on their boiling points, the piping carrying freshly separated propane in oil refineries can become radioactive because of decaying radon and its products.[63]

Residues from the petroleum and natural gas industry often contain radium and its daughters. The sulfate scale from an oil well can be radium rich, while the water, oil, and gas from a well often contains radon. Radon decays to form solid radioisotopes that form coatings on the inside of pipework.[63]

thats ok Base,keep telling folks its all good, trust those oil companies, get a job on an offshore rig run by BP. yep, its safe.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Jun 3, 2013 - 08:11pm PT
When are "we" going to all start walking to the crags barefoot or in leather only shoes with hemp ropes over our shoulders?


(no petroleum products allowed)



Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Jun 3, 2013 - 08:16pm PT
TGT,

the devils in the details of how fracking is done, what stuff they are pumping into the ground (even if they claim its a confined aquifer which by base's own admission is not if the casing corrodes away), as well as what they do with the waste.

figure that out and keep it away from drinking water wells and then it might be viable from an environmental perspective. otherwise its not.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jun 3, 2013 - 09:09pm PT
I've decided that this is a very painful waste of my time. It is too technical.

BTW, we have been running gamma ray sensors on wells since the fifties.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Jun 3, 2013 - 09:24pm PT
Not too technical at all.


Hope you keep it up


Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jun 3, 2013 - 09:27pm PT
Base104, I hope you don't give up on us, many lurkers probably appreciate
your responses, even if they are marginally understandable. ;-)
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Jun 3, 2013 - 09:47pm PT
Don't let all that radon in those purrdy granite counter tops get too you Rilley
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
May 6, 2014 - 03:02am PT
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/05/05/309888859/usgs-okla-fracking-has-increased-chance-of-damaging-quake?ft=1&f=1001

key parts of USGS findings:
The agencies said "183 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater occurred in Okla. from October 2013 through April 14, 2014. This compares with a long-term average from 1978 to 2008 of only two magnitude 3.0 or larger earthquakes per year. As a result of the increased number of small and moderate shocks, the likelihood of future, damaging earthquakes has increased for central and north-central Oklahoma."

"We hope that this new advisory of increased hazard will become a crucial consideration in earthquake preparedness for residents, schools and businesses in the central Oklahoma area," said Dr. Bill Leith, USGS Senior Science Advisor for Earthquakes and Geologic Hazards. "Building owners and government officials should have a special concern for older, unreinforced brick structures, which are vulnerable to serious damage during sufficient shaking."

The statement says "a likely contributing factor to the increase in earthquakes is wastewater disposal by injection into deep geologic formations."

"The water injection can increase underground pressures, lubricate faults and cause earthquakes – a process known as injection-induced seismicity," according to the statement.

"Much of this wastewater is a byproduct of oil and gas production and is routinely disposed of by injection into wells specifically designed and approved for this purpose. The recent earthquake rate changes are not due to typical, random fluctuations in natural seismicity rates," it said.

I'd like to hear what the industry has learned from this, how it self-regulates to put less waste-water back into the well or not when certain geologic circumstances are present, or to deeper depths, etc.
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
May 6, 2014 - 11:15am PT
This has been know about since the induced quakes in the Denver area back in the mid 60's when they were pumping fluids down wells in the old Rock Mtn arsenal site. There were and are a lot of proponents of using this technology to create smaller earthquakes, so as to keep the pressure from building up for a larger quake. The obvious problem here is that a large potential release has already been building and the injection into the fault could trigger it. There are lots of people working on this problem, lots of differences of opinion, still a long way to go.
couchmaster

climber
pdx
May 6, 2014 - 01:36pm PT
Interesting thread revival. Todays news it looks like you, the taxpayer, will soon be paying to try and make coal cleanER. As I satirically called it upthread, "clean coal". The name is total bullsh#t. The US is gifted with amazing reserves of coal, and in many years, when we do figure out how to burn it without the horrific environmental destruction it causes, we'll be in fat city. But if the coal companies want to pay to make their product clean, let them, or let West Virgina (Rockerfeller is one of the West Virgina senators) pay for it. Can we re-title the thread?
"Fracking, not even close to as insane as coal"

"Rockefeller introduces bills for clean coal incentives, research

By Timothy Cama - 05/06/14 08:33 AM EDT

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has introduced a set of bills aimed at incentivizing carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and funding federal research that could improve the process.

In addition to funding CCS research, Rockefeller’s legislation would expand tax credits for companies that use CCS, fund loan guarantees for constructing CCS facilities and fund retrofits of existing CCS facilities.

CCS is the process of capturing carbon dioxide emissions and moving them into storage, so that they do not enter the atmosphere. One of Rockefeller’s bills specifically targets the process of injecting carbon dioxide into oil wells to increase the wells’ yield, a practice known as enhanced oil recovery.

“The reality for West Virginia and the rest of the country is that we need coal; we can’t meet our energy needs without it,” Rockefeller said in a Monday statement. “It is simply unrealistic to think that we can stop burning coal and shift to cleaner sources of energy instantly.”

Rockefeller said he sees his legislation as a way to preserve coal as an important energy source while reduce its harm to the environment. West Virginia is a coal-heavy state, and the mining industry fears that government efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions could harm its business.

Eileen Claussen, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, praised Rockefeller’s proposals.

“Carbon capture and storage is a critical technology to cut carbon emissions while coal and natural gas remain part of our energy mix,” Claussen said in a statement. “Providing incentives to capture CO2 for use in enhanced oil recovery will help bring more commercial-scale projects online, which will help advance carbon capture technology and lower costs.”"


http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/205279-rockefeller-introduces-bills-for-clean-coal-incentives-research
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
May 6, 2014 - 03:18pm PT
Interestingly, chouchmaster, US coal exports to Europe have increased dramatically of late.

Of course, all environmental discussions on the internet are settled as soon as the disfavored activity is proven imperfect. . .

John
dindolino32

climber
san francisco
May 6, 2014 - 03:34pm PT
Oh the stupid sh#t humans can come up with! What is wrong with us?
lostinshanghai

Social climber
someplace
May 6, 2014 - 04:19pm PT
Credit: lostinshanghai

Credit: lostinshanghai
couchmaster

climber
pdx
May 6, 2014 - 06:22pm PT
JohnE said:
"Interestingly, chouchmaster, US coal exports to Europe have increased dramatically of late."

True that, chart below - they have an environmental consciousness, sell them all that they want. China (seen in the chart as a goodly part of "Asia" is all but begging for more as well.


The 1 percenters want a new coal terminal to start exporting it much more significant quantities. I like to be for free trade, but knowing that as bad as the coal in this country is (@ 1/2 of our electricity in the nation comes from coal) the Chinese are much less concerned with pollution or making it "clean". They'll burn it and release much more crap into the air which will drift over us, so F em. By the way, last time I was over there it was brought to my attention that they had had a coal mine burning continuously since the late 1800's.



zBrown

Ice climber
Brujo de la Playa
May 6, 2014 - 06:38pm PT
The one way back up there got me a non-existent page message.

This one worked

http://www.egr.msu.edu/tosc/akron/factsheets/fs_btexpdf.pdf


TGT

Social climber
So Cal
May 21, 2014 - 10:06am PT
What frauds!



http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/cannes-video-hollywood-environmentalists-anti-706051?mobile_redirect=false
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
May 21, 2014 - 10:12am PT
OK you frackers the report is out - Monterrey Shale Formation has, get this, 96% LESS RECOVERABLE OIL than the hype masters of speculation suggested.

Monterrey formation contains, according to what I read, as much as half of the U.S. shale oil 'reserves.' But those 'reserves' are not recoverable. Hype hype hype hype hype.....

DMT
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 21, 2014 - 11:05am PT
You're advising us to believe the gubmint on this?
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
May 21, 2014 - 11:06am PT
Been to McKittrick lately?

DMT
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 21, 2014 - 11:09am PT
No, just Taft. I needed my James Dean fix.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
May 21, 2014 - 12:26pm PT
Yesterday morning the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors voted to ban fracking in the county.

Unknown to most, there are in fact a few small producing oil wells immediately adjacent to Big Basin and Castle Rock state parks. Just off Hwy 9 if you know the area. There's also a small production just above Hwy 84 west of La Honda.

Anyway, these oil formations are relatively close to the surface as evidenced by the supposed seeps (I've never seen them myself) in oil creek and coal creek. Since my water well is in an aquifer at 400 ft I have a personal concern.
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
May 21, 2014 - 12:31pm PT
Holy crap High Traverse!!! So I take it the capping unit to your aquifer/groundwater source is the Monterey Shale? Is your well in a confined or semi confined aquifer?

Edit; After reading your post more closely, I don't know the groundwater geology of Santa Cruz well at all. But I would not want fracking near my well, thats for sure.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
May 21, 2014 - 12:37pm PT
Don't know if the aquifer is in Monterey Shale or above it. I know the Monterey Shale is beneath me somewhere.
We have no idea how deep the existing oil wells are.
I do know the strata slope downwards from my canyon towards Hwy 9 at a pretty steep angle. The strata could easily be 1000 feet below the surface at the wells.
Wouldn't know a capped aquifer if it bit me in the arse.
That's why I say I'm concerned about the fracking. Not freaking out. Now looks as if I don't personally have to worry.

To my conservative engineering brain, I'm very concerned about the risks and lack of transparency in fracking. I haven't yet read all of BASE104's posts on this site.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
May 21, 2014 - 12:42pm PT
Besides groundwater contamination, I'm sitting within 1/4 mile of the San Andreas Fault. I've seen reasonable reports that there may be a link between extensive fracking and fault movements.
Again far to many unknowns about this tracking business.
Transparency would be a good thing all around.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
May 21, 2014 - 12:53pm PT
So here's some more precise info on Santa Cruz County
From the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
The move, however, is largely symbolic: There are no known oil leases in Santa Cruz County, nor has it been targeted by oil prospectors.
I believe this is wrong. I mentioned above I've been told by reputable people there are some wells.
I was wondering myself what regulatory authority Santa Cruz County has.
While the state regulates underground wells, Tuesday's vote bans above-ground production support facilities. In doing so, the new law echoes a similar local effort from the 1980s to ban facilities for offshore oil drilling, an effective regulatory tool that became a model for coastal communities across California.

and it appears there is less oil in the Monterey Shale than earlier thought
Monterey Shale, a vast rock formation lying more than a mile underground that extends south through the San Joaquin Valley. While the U.S. Energy Information Agency estimated it to hold nearly 14 billion barrels of untapped oil, on Tuesday the agency downgraded its potential to 600 million barrels — possibly enough to deflate the debate over the issue.

I was also wondering about this
While fracked wells use water located far below drinking water aquifers, among Leopold's concerns is that wells could be breached and contaminate scarce local supplies.

Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
May 21, 2014 - 01:01pm PT
Don't think of underlying strata as a layer cake that is grossly inaccurate for almost all of California and certainly anywhere there are mountains.

Its not like this:


No its more like this though this is of the Ojai (Ventura ) area.


The point is 'capping Monterey' is like herding cats. That's why the shale estimates have been so dramatically reduced. The methods used elsewhere to lay devastation to the shale landscape won't work here.... YAY!

:D

DMT
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
May 21, 2014 - 01:29pm PT
Just a comment. Anybody with a water well as a drinking water (or any use for that matter) source can sample their water and have it tested to establish some sort of baseline for the well. Best to repeat the test a few times at different times of the year. Say, for instance before and after recharge events (ie substantial rainfall in many cases).
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
May 21, 2014 - 01:53pm PT
I was talking to a co-worker the other day when she told me she signed up for a program that cut her gas bill significantly.
I asked "How do they do that? Are they using a different kind of gas? Maybe more abundant? Or is your utility just wanting to grease the slippery slope for their profits..?...

Then I thought are they doing what drug dealers figured out long ago.... first taste is practically free... because they know you'll be back for more... and by then it's too late.. the environmental damage is done

nothing to worry about at all..































































































Unless you like drinking water...



When will humans begin to get serious about their energy needs and their ENVIRONMENTAL NECESSITY!!!


Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
May 21, 2014 - 01:57pm PT
What was her answer, Jingy?

DMT
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
May 21, 2014 - 02:12pm PT
I guess the way I asked the questions got the right thoughts rolling around in the head because she said she "hadn't thought about it that way?" (My first thought after hearing this was "And you never will, why should you?" But in the end her second thoughts will change nothing. It will not get her to actually stop and think about the "deal" in a long term scope.

My mentioning it here will result in nothing either.... let's all just keep thinking while we make it impossible for humans to exist on the only planet that we know harbors life.....


All for money.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
May 21, 2014 - 02:12pm PT
Ok. :)

DMT
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
May 21, 2014 - 03:24pm PT
DMT,

Most of the shale activity is located in areas that weren't tectonically busted up as much as your cross section shows.

I would go into this again, but nobody understands the technical stuff. I've tried over and over. I suggest some reading. Go buy a basic Petroleum Geology book and glean from it what you can. You can learn a lot from a basic book.

Fracking is a red herring. There are tens of thousands of these wells now and there are very few accidents. In Oklahoma and Texas, most of the activity is in the horizontal plays right now. The rigs are all busy drilling horizontals.

Groundwater contamination is not a big problem. I haven't seen a single instance yet. Nothing like you will hear by watching fake Youtube videos or reading environmental blogs.

I do know of 3 cases of gas getting in the groundwater down in the deep Anardako Basin, but they were vertical wells that were super high pressure. The shale gas wells produce at a low flowing pressure.

This has me in a weird spot. I am a connoisseur of wilderness. I am adamantly opposed to drilling in the Arctic Refuge and have spoken out against it in the media quite a few times.

This is different. Most of it happens on land that is not in any way wild, in areas with a long history of oil and gas production. The problems that it brings are aesthetic in nature. It involves a lot of trucking of water and sand around until the area is developed. That is where the environmental risk lies.

I've seen the pro-development side lie through their teeth on things like ANWR. I've seen the environmental side lie through their teeth on fracking. It has worked. It isn't based on facts, but operators can't ignore public opinion. In Oklahoma, people are used to it. Still, there is a fairly vocal anti-fracking group. They do a really good job of screwing up reporting on it in an honest way.
couchmaster

climber
pdx
May 21, 2014 - 03:32pm PT
I'm with you Base, compared to the destruction coal causes, fracking is much less. But I agree with Hightraverse too, need some transparency. Serious transparency. On that note we have this complete bullshit:
http://www.newsweek.com/north-carolina-bill-would-make-revealing-fracking-chemical-secrets-felony-251537?piano_t=1

Article titled:
"North Carolina Bill Would Make Revealing Fracking Secrets a Felony
By Zoë Schlanger
Filed: 5/20/14 at 5:29 PM"
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
May 21, 2014 - 03:38pm PT
OK. Everyone was all freaked out about the chemicals used in fracks. I'm pretty sure that all of this info has now been released.

It is pretty technical. Halliburton is the largest oilfield services company, and they have their own methods. There are other companies who do the fracks as well, though. Schlumberger, etc.

Yeah, Dick Cheney is probably the most evil American of my lifetime, but Halliburton is the best, as well as the most expensive.

It really is intellectual property, but I'm glad that they finally disclosed that.

This is just one of those things that has so much disinformation. I read false stuff regularly, even by supposed "science" writers.

edit: I just saw the above post about North Carolina. North Carolina isn't very prospective for oil and gas. I'm not aware of a single producing well. So the law is one of those stupid "masturbation" laws.
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
May 21, 2014 - 04:46pm PT
.....circle jerkin...?


....on parade....
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
May 21, 2014 - 04:48pm PT
Sort of like voting to delete Obamacare 50 times in 2 years.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
May 21, 2014 - 06:11pm PT
Hey Base get off your high horse. I used the Ventura area to illustrate the point and said so. But if you prefer,



Do carry on.

Also, I didn't make up the 96% fewer recoverable shale oil in the Monterrey formation.

So wax on wax off about fracking, the simple fact of the matter is there ain't much oil to be had with it in some 50% of the oil shale rocks of the US?

Fracked out man.

DMT
FortMentäl

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
May 21, 2014 - 06:38pm PT
It really is intellectual property, but I'm glad that they finally disclosed that.

They disclosed nothing. MSDS sheets are next to worthless and nearly all of that shiht is too new to have been properly tested for toxicity. From Halliburtons BS site:

Toxicity Tests

Oral Toxicity: Not determined
Dermal Toxicity: Not determined
Inhalation Toxicity: Not determined
Primary Irritation Effect: Not determined
Carcinogenicity Not determined
Genotoxicity: Not determined
Reproductive /
Developmental Toxicity:
Not determined

12. ECOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Mobility (Water/Soil/Air) Not determined
Persistence/Degradability Not determined
Bio-accumulation Not Determined

Ecotoxicological Information

Acute Fish Toxicity: Not determined
Acute Crustaceans Toxicity:Not determined
Acute Algae Toxicity: Not determined
Chemical Fate Information Not determined
Other Information Not applicable
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
May 21, 2014 - 07:09pm PT
that is some transparency goin on there....highly technical as base said.

lets be really clear. there is nothing technical about listing the chemical constituents of the fracking fluid. there is nothing technical about what the hazards are and there is nothing technical about being forthcoming about what companies are injecting into your earth just so they can make a dime.

TGT

Social climber
So Cal
May 21, 2014 - 07:22pm PT
Fracking fluid is mostly mineral oil.

Ya know this stuff.



along with sand.


Rumor has it that Halliburton is in the final stages of getting one that's NSF 61 approved and will then force is monopoly via regulation on everyone else.
klk

Trad climber
cali
May 21, 2014 - 07:30pm PT
in california, the primary threat to groundwater statewide is simply agriculture as we currently practice it. we've already sterilized a huge chunk of the southern great valley and are hard at work on the rest.

the principal reason for opposing hydrofracking in california is simply this-- the state doesn't even regulate groundwater pumping. the state doesn't systematically monitor wells. we have a "voluntary" reporting system-- probably less than half of all wells even self-report.

hydrofracking isn't one of things i would prioritize for worry.



wilbeer

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
May 21, 2014 - 07:31pm PT
I told you all earlier,money will win.They will frack New York.

http://polhudson.lohudblogs.com/2014/05/05/democrats-supported-fracking-schumer-says/

edit : another win for the wallethuggers
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
Jul 14, 2014 - 07:38pm PT
Hey base did your fracking pals cause all those Oklahoma earthquakes recently?

DMT
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Jul 14, 2014 - 08:50pm PT
The Monterey Revolution ain't gonna happen, largely for the reasons outlined below in the abstract by Tom MacKinnon, former Chief Stratigrapher for Chevron. Several modern style hydrofracks have been attempted in the Monterey diatomite and chert in the last 10 years at South Belridge Field (see photo) with very limited success. Not sure how much more the land surface could be impacted at Belridge.



Geology of the Monterey Formation of California
With Comments on Recent Oilfield Developments

Dr. Thomas C. MacKinnon

Diatomaceous rocks and their diagenetic equivalents, chert, porcelanite and siliceous mudstone are abundant in Miocene deposits of the Pacific region. Of these, the Monterey Formation is the best known and most extensive. Its origin is tied to a fortuitous combination of tectonic, climatic and oceanographic events. In Oligocene-Early Miocene times, a change from subduction to a transform margin resulted in extension of the borderland and formation of new marine basins isolated from terrigenous input. In Miocene times, global cooling and changes in ocean circulation resulted in increased upwelling and productivity, and rapid accumulation of relatively undiluted biogenic sediment. Near the end of the Miocene, plate motion shifted from transtension to transpression, resulting in mountain building and a sudden influx of terrigenous material; this signaled the end of Monterey-style deposition in most areas of California. Rapid burial and basin-margin uplift continued through the Pliocene to the present, creating an ideal setting for oil field formation. As burial proceeded, soft diatomaceous rocks were converted to brittle chert, porcelanite, and siliceous mudstone. With further burial, organic-rich Monterey rocks generated hydrocarbons. Rocks overlying or adjacent to the Monterey included porous sandstones that made ideal reservoirs. Oil migration was aided by fractures in brittle Monterey rock types. Approximately 29 Billion barrels of oil have been produced in California, with roughly 90% probably sourced from the Monterey. Most of this oil has been produced from clastic rocks, leaving enormous amounts of oil still trapped in the matrix of low permeability Monterey rock types. In 2011 a report by INTEK, funded by the federal government, claimed that the Monterey Formation contained 15 billion barrels of recoverable oil, making it the largest resource base in the US. Using the INTEK numbers at face value, economists at USC predicted that California could experience an enormous economic boom. Both reports have been criticized as being wildly optimistic and not factually based, but not before they created a firestorm of public controversy resulting in new regulations on fracking. The main problem with the INTEK report was incorrectly assuming the Monterey would behave like the new tight oil and gas plays (i.e. Bakken, Marcellus) elsewhere in the U.S.; but the Monterey has little in common
with these plays. While it is clear that tremendous amounts of oil do remain within Monterey “shales” and diatomite, no easy way has been found to extract it. For decades operators have been using every available technique for enhancing production. This includes water flooding, steam flooding (lateral and huff-and- puff), CO2 flooding, and acidization, utilizing both vertical and horizontal injector and producing wells, some of which are fracked. There is no Monterey “Revolution”, however, operators will continue to seek better ways to extract the tremendous volume of oil remaining for many years to come.

___

RE the environmental impacts of hydrofracking in other States (e.g., Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania & New York, Bakken Fm in N Dakota, etc), I'd say the jury is still out.

IMO, the greatest risks to the environment from hydrofracking are...

1) the existence of poorly completed wells that can serve as vertical conduits for drilling mud, frack fluid (flow back), produced fluids, methane, condensate, etc. and gas blow outs during drilling or production operations. These wells may or may not be known to the operators;

2) inadequate or poor cement jobs in the vertical portion of new hydrofrack wells that can serve as vertical conduits. Sometimes these poor cement jobs are identified with cement bond logs and sometimes not;

3) mishandling of drilling, frack and produced fluids during drilling, well installation and fracking (especially by the smaller operators). Discharge of these fluids, that can contain elevated levels of naturally-occurring radioactive material (NORM)*, metals, and hazardous chemicals, to natural surface water or discharge to unlined surface impoundments that infiltrate into shallow groundwater;

* http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/122-a50/

and

4) methane leaks to the atmosphere during drilling or from production facilities. Also the increase in methane flaring.

IMO, as long as the oil industry can keep hydrofracking as the focus of public debate, rather than how our society can transition away from a hydrocarbon-based economy, then they are winning and our children & grandchildren are losing.

___
J David Hughes, a Canadian geoscientist
http://www.postcarbon.org/person/36208-david-hughes

and

Mark Zoback, Stanford Univ Geophysicist and expert in Rock Mechanics
https://pangea.stanford.edu/researchgroups/srb/people/type/mark-zoback

are relatively unbiased sources for information about the Monterey Fm potential and the environmental impacts of hydrofracking.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Jul 15, 2014 - 08:43am PT
Noble gas mass spectrometry will likely shed some light on these issues...

Goldschmidt Conference 2014 Abstracts

**The source and migration of natural
gas in shallow aquifers: Insights
provided by the integration of noble
gas and hydrocarbon isotopes**

THOMAS H. DARRAH1, ROBERT B. JACKSON2,
ROBERT J. POREDA3, NATHANIEL R. WARNER4
AND AVNER VENGOSH5

1School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University,
Columbus, OH 43210, USA
2Dept. of Environmental Earth System Science, School of
Earth Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 94305
3Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of
Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627, USA
4Department of Earth Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover,
NH 03755, USA
5Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Nicholas School of the
Environment, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have enhanced
energy production but raised concerns over drinking-water
contamination and other potential health risks. Specifically, the
presence and environmental implications of elevated methane
and aliphatic hydrocarbons (ethane, propane, etc.) in drinkingwater
remain highly controversial and require a distinction
between naturally occurring and anthropogenic sources.
Previous efforts to resolve these questions have generally
focused on identification of the genetic fingerprint of natural
gas using the molecular (e.g., C2H6/CH4) and stable isotopic
(e.g., δ13C-CH4, δ2H-CH4, or Δ13C=(δ13C-CH4 - δ13C-C2H6))
compositions of hydrocarbon gases. In many cases, these
techniques can resolve thermogenic and biogenic contributions
of natural gas and further differentiate between multiple
thermogenic sources (e.g., Marcellus production gases vs.
intermediate Upper Devonian gas pockets). However, these
parameters are subject to alteration by microbial activity and
oxidation and may not always uniquely identify the source or
mechanism of fluid migration. Moreover, they do not
necessarily identify the transport mechanisms by which
material would migrate into shallow aquifers. In contrast to
hydrocarbon gases, noble gases provide a suite of elemental
and isotopic tracers that are unaffected by chemical reactions
or microbial activity. Here we develop an integrated noble gas
and hydrocarbon isotope analysis to evaluate if elevated levels
of natural gas in drinking-water aquifers near gas wells are
derived from natural or anthropogenic sources and to
determine the mechanism by which stray gas contamination
occurs.
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