Why the backlash over fracking?

If you listened to green taliban mouthpieces like Gareth Hughes you would think that fracking is evil, poisonous and down-right dangerous…but is it?

The answer is no, it is perfectly safe.

Studies have shown repeatedly that fracking is fundamentally safe. It creates jobs and cuts dependence on foreign oil. So why is there still such backlash?

Is hydraulic fracturing — used for more than 60 years to produce oil and natural gas — safe?

The “safe fracking” question has been asked and answered many times over by government regulators, scientists and other technical experts, and they have concluded that hydraulic fracturing is a fundamentally safe technology. Interior secretaries and EPA heads have repeatedly said that fracking can be done, and is being done, so that it doesn’t present environmental or public health problems.

That’s been the case for decades, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, a former petroleum engineer and a former president of REI, the outdoor equipment retailer, said in May. Jewell’s predecessor, Ken Salazar, testified to Congress that hydraulic fracturing “has been done safely hundreds of thousands of times” and warned lawmakers against anti-fracking “hysteria.”

As far back as 1995, the Environmental Protection Agency studied whether hydraulic fracturing contaminated drinking water. The EPA studied a site in Alabama at the request of environmentalists and found “no evidence” of “any contamination or endangerment of underground sources of drinking water.” In 2004, the agency conducted a broader study and also found fracking “poses little or no threat” to water supplies.  Read more »

Fracking, neatly summed up

The green taliban would have us all believe that fracking is incredibly dangerous and a huge risk…but is it?

When you hear shale gas and fracking described as “controversial” or “risky”, bear in mind that most campaigners against it are not concerned about fracking as such. Their main motive is to prevent us from exploiting fossil fuels.

That is why they grotesquely exaggerate the supposed environmental risks of fracking. They claim it will lead to contamination of the water table, “earthquakes” and methane coming out of your taps. In fact, fracking is a tried-and-tested technology which has been used since the late Forties. Hydraulic fracturing, to give fracking its full name, simply involves pumping water under great pressure into shale beds several kilometres underground until tiny fissures open up, which are then kept open by grains of sand so that the gas can flow out. Over 100,000 wells have been fracked in recent years. Not a single person has been poisoned by contaminated water, nor a single building damaged by the almost undetectable seismic tremors sometimes released. The Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering concluded unequivocally that any “health, safety and environmental risks associated with hydraulic fracturing… can be managed effectively in the UK as long as operational best practices are implemented and enforced”.  Read more »

Traditional energy sources go from doom and gloom to boom

The time of the climate change shills is coming to an end, but not before literally billions has been poured into their pockets. Stephen F. Hayward looks and the whole Climate Change debacle and the decline of the deception.

 [T]he climate change story has been overtaken by facts on the ground. Most significant: The pause in global warming​​—​​now going on 15 years​​—​​has become so obvious that many of the leading climate scientists are grudgingly admitting that global warming has stopped. James Hansen, who recently stepped down as NASA’s chief climate scientist to become a full-time private sector alarmist, is among those admitting that the recent temperature record has flatlined.

After two decades of steady and substantial global temperature increase from 1980 to 1998, the pause in warming is causing a crisis for the climate crusade. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. The recent temperature record is falling distinctly to the very low end of the range predicted by the climate models and may soon fall out of it, which means the models are wrong, or, at the very least, something is going on that supposedly “settled” science hasn’t been able to settle. Equally problematic for the theory, one place where the warmth might be hiding​​—​​the oceans​​—​​is not cooperating with the story line. Recent data show that ocean warming has noticeably slowed, too.

These inconvenient data are causing the climate science community to reconsider the issue of climate sensitivity​​—​​that is, how much warming greenhouse gases actually cause​​—​​as I predicted would happen in these pages three years ago: “Eventually the climate modeling community is going to have to reconsider the central question: Have the models the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] uses for its predictions of catastrophic warming overestimated the climate’s sensitivity to greenhouse gases?”  Read more »

Let’s get fracking

The US is into fracking boots and all, and political opposition is waning. We need to be telling the Green Taliban to frack off and get cracking with the fracking here:

Political obstacles to oil and gas production are starting to fall away at the state and local levels as voters, elected officials and courts jump on the energy boom bandwagon.

Voters are rewarding local politicians who support production. Ballot measures are distributing potential tax windfalls broadly. And most state legislatures are focused on managing the economic and environmental consequences of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, so the drilling boom can speed up rather than slow down.

The trend is crucial to the nation’s energy future because oil and gas production is regulated and taxed almost entirely by state and local governments. The federal government’s role is largely advisory, except on federal lands and on pipelines.

“Fracking is happening and it’s not going to stop, so we have to take the high road of good regulation and taxes so communities are better off, not worse off, after it’s done,” says Ted Boettner, executive director of the liberal West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.

Most states were caught off guard when fracking turned Pennsylvania into a major natural gas producer in 2009. Fracking could produce oil or gas in as many as 36 states. Result: The USA will become the world’s No. 1 producer of natural gas in 2015 and oil in 2017, overtaking Russia and Saudi Arabia, respectively, predicts the International Energy Agency.

Something more for the Greenies and Labour Party to cry about

Great news for New Zealand and in particular the Hawkes Bay as two oil and gas companies spend their money to increase the jobs and invest in New Zealand.

The Greenies of course will cry fracking hell at the prospect of increased work opportunities, investment in New Zealand infrastructure and increased tax take for the government coffers.

The fact that the Maui gas field is winding down and New Zealand will benefit greatly from increased security of supply of energy sources will be irrelevant.  What they want is for us all to live in caves, walk (or bike everywhere) and promote so called “green technologies” which are economically unfeasible and only work with massive tax-payer funded subsidies (variation of a ponzi scheme).

The licence area sits between two others being explored by fellow Canadian TAG Oil, near Gisborne in the southern Hawke’s Bay, both of which have prompted opposition from local environmental groups who fear TAG and its Texan partner, Apache, plan to use hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, to unlock hydrocarbons held in shale formations.

Oh this will be good.

The lunatic conspriacy theory Greens will attack fracking. But fracking will be shown to be safe and sustainable and cost effective.

The controversial oil and gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, is capable of being managed sustainably and without serious risk of groundwater contamination or inducing damaging earthquakes, the Royal Society has found.

One of the world’s most respected independent scientific bodies, the society worked with the Royal Academy of Engineering to produce a report sought by the UK’s chief scientific adviser, John Beddington.

Another greenie myth dispelled and proven to be nothing but a lie based on fear of the stupid and gullible.  I wonder what their next lie will be?

The Labour Party will no doubt be wanting to nationalise any discovery which will be just the trick to encourage more investment in the extraction industry in New Zealand.  After all to do otherwise would be inconsistent with their other policy announcements.  But here is the problem for Labour;  The Greenies will want to plant an organic garden on top of any discovery and shut it all down.  Labour will want the production from any discovery.  How will the two parties reconcile their differences on the future of mining and extraction in New Zealand?

Probably by caving to Green demands to print more money.

The Absolute Law of Unintended Consequences

Let’s accept, for argument’s sake, that you give a rat’s arse about too much carbon, and lay awake nights imagining the future when your children are armpit deep in tepid water, fending off the floating corpses of dead polar bears.

Right, now you are Green.   But you did everything to stop this didn’t you?    Solar power, wind power, ethanol, carbon trading.

But wait.

The outcome of every one of these Green and bureaucratic interventions has been near enough the complete opposite of what you intended.

Solar power is a bankrupt industry rorted by Chinese dumping subsidies and a blot on every landscape where it has been introduced.

Windpower?   Its most enthusiastic proponents are now the cunning mates of top Tories in the UK, where the extended families of the Conservative PM and his deputy are making fortunes from subsidies, while the only winners from windfarms are the landholding Lords who rent out the family estates for rows of bird-shredders.

Ethanol?  BIG agriculture has taken that over (it’s BIG and you hate that).   The result, further devastation of the rainforests and a worldwide increase in food prices that is starving the poor.

Carbon Trading?  Scammed by governments and smart traders, collapsing under the weight of its own absurdity.   Even in NZ, the ETS means $330 million in corporate welfare for BIG agriculture.

Every move a total failure, the only beneficiaries the very institutions and classes you despise.

Hey Greenie…you know what is working?    The Free Market, that’s what.   It is working for you.

Weather conditions around the world this summer have provided ample fodder for the global warming debate. Droughts and heat waves are a harbinger of our future, carbon cuts are needed now more than ever, and yet meaningful policies have not been enacted.

But, beyond this well-trodden battlefield, something amazing has happened: Carbon-dioxide emissions in the United States have dropped to their lowest level in 20 years. Estimating on the basis of data from the US Energy Information Agency from the first five months of 2012, this year’s expected CO2 emissions have declined by more than 800 million tons, or 14 percent from their peak in 2007.

The cause is an unprecedented switch to natural gas, which emits 45 percent less carbon per energy unit. The U.S. used to generate about half its electricity from coal, and roughly 20 percent from gas. Over the past five years, those numbers have changed, first slowly and now dramatically: In April of this year, coal’s share in power generation plummeted to just 32 percent, on par with gas.

America’s rapid switch to natural gas is the result of three decades of technological innovation, particularly the development of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which has opened up large new resources of previously inaccessible shale gas. Despite some legitimate concerns about safety, it is hard to overstate the overwhelming benefits.

For starters, fracking has caused gas prices to drop dramatically. Adjusted for inflation, natural gas has not been this cheap for the past 35 years, with the price this year three to five times lower than it was in the mid-2000s. And, while a flagging economy may explain a small portion of the drop in U.S. carbon emissions, the EIA emphasizes that the major explanation is natural gas.

The reduction is even more impressive when one considers that 57 million additional energy consumers were added to the U.S. population over the past two decades. Indeed, U.S. carbon emissions have dropped about 20 percent per capita, and are now at their lowest level since Dwight D. Eisenhower left the White House in 1961.

Transforming Britain with Fracking

David Cameron’s government is upsetting the hippies in Britain:

Owen Paterson is far from a household name, but the significance of his appointment as Environment Secretary has not been lost on the green lobby groups. As far as they’re concerned, this is war. They are already denouncing him as a “prominent hater of wind turbines” and overall climate change sceptic.

Sounds like a top bloke.

In the boom years, a green surcharge on a heating bill seemed like a small price to pay for environmental progress. But with living standards facing their worst squeeze for 80 years, and at least 20,000 pensioners dying of the cold each year, the cost of such green subsidies is now becoming intolerable. Especially since, as Paterson will know, their beneficiaries are often the rich – to an extent that even appals the gentry. “When we toffs meet up, all we talk about is government grants,” one landowner tells me. “I was even offered a grant for my folly. It’s all about who is getting what subsidy for which hydro plant.”

Over recent years, a class of landowning welfare junkies has been created – and the old environmental consensus left them immune from scrutiny. Many are impeccably connected (one has the Prime Minister as a son-in-law), and can take their money directly from Brussels. But there is still much an Environment Secretary can do to cut that cost.

Subsidies are like welfare. Welfare is like crack, junkies become addicted far too easily.

Perhaps the greatest single opportunity facing him, however, is shale gas exploitation. Geologists have known for decades about gas trapped in shale and other rock formations, but only in the past 20 years has technology existed that allows it to be captured. In America, hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, has transformed the energy supply. Shale now provides a third of its gas, up from 2 per cent a decade ago. British companies now pay four times as much for gas as their American counterparts – not something that global chemical companies can ignore when deciding where to build a new factory. Docks built to import gas into America are now exporting it.

This has been nothing short of an energy revolution, and it could well happen here. When 200 trillion cubic feet of shale gas deposits were discovered in Lancashire last year – enough to power Britain for 65 years – it was without doubt the biggest energy find since North Sea oil in the Sixties. It says much about the hysterical nature of the British climate change debate, however, that this was almost entirely ignored.

The hippies oppose all progress.

Shale emits half as much carbon dioxide as coal, and is far cheaper to produce. The biggest deposits are in China, so passing fracking technology on to the Chinese could do more to reduce global carbon emissions than any airport runway ban. Yet the environmentalists have greeted shale with either complete silence, or outright hostility.

In economic terms, too, shale is a godsend for Cameron, just as North Sea oil was for Thatcher: it could well make Blackpool into the Dallas of the north, creating 5,000 jobs in an area that desperately needs them. But this gift horse is being sent packing, as if the Prime Minister wants to be left alone with his economic misery. Even as Northern Ireland Secretary, Paterson was saying in Cabinet that this was lunacy. Then, he was a lone voice. Now, he is in charge of the policy.

Britain might get somewhere now.

Part of the problem in developing shale is that the Environment Agency has inserted itself into the licensing process. It is taking between six and nine months to process drilling applications that should take a fortnight, at most. However, the quango answers to Paterson. He can not only nudge it along, but publish – and trumpet – the studies showing that fracking is both safe and viable. Early earth tremors, deep underground, have been judged to pose no safety risk.

Paterson’s will be a lonely battle, because shale lacks anything resembling a proper lobbying group to make its case. It is up against three powerful enemies: Big Oil, Big Green and Big Government. Indeed, had it not come along, Britain’s wind farm industry would have been in line for £130 billion in subsidy over the coming years. Little wonder that its allies are so angry, both at shale and at Mr Paterson’s appointment.

Always good upsetting hippies.

Win-Win with Fracking

Fracking is making a big difference in the world, more so that whacky Green ideas for energy. Now it appears the benefits of fracking can be extended further by using Carbon Dioxide.

Very strange how the Greens oppose this wondrous technology:

Talk about a win-win situation. Compressed carbon dioxide may be more suitable than water for fracturing methane-rich rock – a finding that could help the growing hydraulic fracturing industry extract more natural gas from spent fields. And because the carbon dioxide is then trapped below ground, the discovery could also spur the development of large-scale carbon sequestration.

Natural gas production has soared worldwide in recent years as a result ofhydraulic fracturing, or fracking – a process of injecting pressurised water into shale formations to fracture the rock and release massive amounts of natural gas trapped inside.

The more extensive the network of fractures created in the shale, the more pathways are available for the gas inside it to escape. Tsuyoshi Ishida at Kyoto University, Japan, and his colleagues have now found a way to greatly extend that network of fractures by replacing pressurised water with liquid or supercritical CO2.

On a broad scale, the pattern of fractures created in rock by conventional hydraulic fracturing is two-dimensional – the fractures tend to occur along a plane. Ishida’s team found, through experiments involving cubes of granite, that compressed CO2 yielded a fracture pattern that was three-dimensional. Ishida expects the compressed CO2 would produce a similar 3D pattern of fracturing in shale too.

It’s unclear exactly why pressurised CO2 yields a different fracture pattern from water, but Ishida’s team suggest it might be connected to the fact that compressed CO2 is around 10 times less viscous than water.

Abundance, something Greens don’t understand, Ctd

The Telegraph

This morning I blogged about abundance, and as if my magic I found this article at The Telegraph about shale gas deposits in the UK.

Costs would come down quick if the subsidised this rather than expensive, failing green technology.

My personal policy is Mine, Drill it, Sell it:

Britain may have enough offshore shale gas to catapult it into the top ranks of global producers, energy experts now believe, and while production costs are still very high, technology should eventually make reserves commercially viable.

UK offshore reserves of shale gas could exceed one thousand trillion cubic feet (tcf), compared to current rates of UK gas consumption of 3.5 tcf a year, or five times the latest estimate of onshore shale gas of 200 trillion cubic feet.

Reserves of 200 tcf would put the UK in the top 20 countries with the highest shale reserves, alongside Brazil, and 1,000 tcf would put Britain in the same league as estimates for China, the United States and Argentina, top dogs in global shale potential.

Although there are still no reliable figures available for the UK, and only around 10-20pc of total reserves are currently deemed recoverable, experts say that whatever the final recoverable reserve figure is, it is likely to be big enough to make Britain energy self-sufficient.

“There will be a lot more offshore shale gas and oil resources than onshore,” Nigel Smith, subsurface geologist and geophysicist at the British Geological Survey (BGS) said. UK offshore reserves could be five to 10 times as high as onshore, said.

On Tuesday, UK authorities gave approval to drill for shale gas onshore after a temporary ban on the controversial extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.Britain is well placed for offshore development with its North Sea oil and gas sector long established.”We were pioneers in the North Sea with conventional oil and gas and the technology has gone around the world, so why not become one in the unconventional sector,” Smith said.

Chch rooted, but no fracking at least

NZ Herald

The whole place is rooted but at least there won’t be any fracking causing more earthquakes in Christchurch. Personally I think Bob Parker should frack off. I’m pretty sure that residents of Christchurch would have wanted their council to focus on more important things than fracking…like re-building their city:

Christchurch City Council has voted unanimously to declare Christchurch a fracking-free zone.

Fracking or hydraulic fracturing is a mining system that involves injecting chemicals into rocks so they break, releasing oil and natural gas.

The stance is because of concerns about the impact of fracking on the local environment, including contamination of the city’s underground water supply and fracking’s link to earthquakes.

The council also decided to call on the country’s other territorial/local authorities and regional councils to declare their areas fracking-free. Christchurch City Council will discuss the issue with Environment Canterbury.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said the council received extremely positive feedback when it called for a moratorium on fracking earlier this year.

“However, today’s decision takes our opposition to this practice a step further. It is a very strong sign from the Council that we do not want fracking taking place in this city. We hope that the strong stand we are taking is picked up by councils in other areas,” Mr Parker said.