Hydrofracking - are we nuts? (OT)

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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.
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.


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