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Old 04-14-2014, 11:46 AM
 
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"We need to be cautious.* With any industry there are inherent risks, but the idea is to identify those risks and then minimize those risks and that is what we are trying to do," said Ohio State Representative Sean O'Brien.' [1]


A moratorium on fracking has been instituted within three miles of Poland Township by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. This due unusual earthquake activity in the area, believed to be related to fracking operations. The ODNR has also decided to require seismic monitoring by oil companies when drilling within 3 miles of a known fault. [1]


In related news, the latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report says that greenhouse gas emissions (being principally CO2) will need to be cut by between 40 and 70 percent by 2050 in order to avoid unavoidable atmospheric warming results. That figure is 0 (zero) by the year 2100.

For those unfamiliar with the IPCC, it is a consortium of learned scientists of different disciplines tasked with studying and reporting mankind's effects upon this planet. The emphasis, as it should be, as most dire, has to do with our atmosphere. These lengthy and detailed reports are released publicly periodically every few years. The report just released is their fifth assessment. With governments eager not to unduly rock the boat, and in a quandary with how to secure necessary energy as inexpensively and safely as possible, the work of the IPCC and its findings are politicized to an extent. If anything, in result, they tend to understate the severity of exiting problems. Nor are they perfect or flawless, with projections and assumptions at times in error. If to their credit these are recognized, with subsequent adjustments made to reflect best known facts. Their findings reflect the common consensus of most scientists in the world with knowledge of these matters.

When the IPCC says that greenhouse emissions must be significantly cut back now and soon near eliminated, they are not joking. It is no longer a topic of scientific conjecture or inevitable political wrangling, but fact that collectively we have managed to put ourselves and all other life on this planet in deep peril. Half of all species are already extinct or presently in significant danger of doing so, the rest of us not that far behind. At minimum, a significantly warmed planet will present a dramatically different environment to all who manage to inhabit it. The greater degree of unexpected severe weather globally, in hurricane and droughts and so forth is exactly that predicted to intensify. In Colorado alone, the 2013 (one-thousand year) flood will become more a common occurrence and feature; the massive wildfires of 2012 and 2013 but prelude of that more the norm. Etc.

400ppm (part per million) is the concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere that we were never supposed to reach. It was exceeded several months ago. The maximum permissible level, to suffer only moderate damage, was more like 387ppm. And, significantly, with then some hope of being able to return back toward levels more the norm. 400ppm represents a tipping point, a point of no return, which we are already at. Thus the IPCC suggestion of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 50 percent by mid-century is more an appreciation of political and other realities on the ground, than in any ideal way to forestall massive weather changes. Or, more the hope that somehow we might manage to not go over the brink. For at a certain point, and we on the cusp of it now, there is no retreat: that we have initiated will take on an inevitable, basically irreversible life of their own. We will have crossed the Rubicon. But in this case no entreaties made by man, or even any beneficial steps we then make, will make any difference.

As mentioned, our population has a significant bearing on these matters. It has grown exponentially since the Industrial Revolution of 1750, as has, concurrently, our rapidly growing influence on the atmosphere. A global population of some 7 billion now is projected to be more like 11 billion by the end of this century—baring certain possible calamities. Where any of that makes any difference lies in each of our individual footprints upon this land, and resources we require to live. For just that, more minimal. But a global population of no more than 2.5 billion if each of us to continue to live, sustainably, in a modern Western fashion (as most reading this piece are probably accustomed to. Or, to remember, that half the Earth's population still does not have ready access to the internet—let alone often enough food or potable water, etc.). 2.5 billion, that is it. What we are collectively doing now is living far beyond our means, that we ask of this Earth and in resource extraction most certainly NOT sustainable. The system we live under is as a Ponzi scheme that must inevitably fail dramatically. And more all the time wish to join, with growing prosperity and wants and needs in places such as India and China. In China that can be in finally having a family car, something individually often taken for granted for in the US. It all proliferates. In China alone, they are bringing a new coal-fired electric plant online every few weeks to match burgeoning demand.

Per energy, we really are between a rock and a hard place. Our modern economies and lives are based upon the finite resource of fossil fuels. Once used, they are gone. Despite their severe repercussions in use, the huge amount of energy contained in oil has allowed an unprecedented historical spike in human prosperity and population. That could very well be as soon gone, as almost wholly dependent upon a finite limited resource that we are on the downward supply of.

Nothing else at this point offers a viable alternative to oil. In part because we haven't looked yet in earnest, and because the ease afforded by oil has allowed a gross increase in our population and needs that is unlikely to be met by such alternatives as we might use. To put this explicitly, the majority of our present global population is almost certainly unsustainable and will become, in one way or another, extinct.

In the short term, the usage of coal (another fossil fuel) is only likely to increase (and there is no such things as 'clean coal'). Nuclear fission is appealing and, for instance, supplies something like over 80 percent of the electricity needs of France). Yet for all its complexity is no modern solution. For one, it is as coal or anything else that must be mined, verily as the silver and gold that once made Colorado. Or also that this state has been a significant source of the uranium needed and used. As oil, that is also a finite resource once used and gone.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of March 2011 is a good case in point of the potential perils of nuclear energy. In the modern age, the nation of Japan, having few natural energy resources of its own, has relied principally and near exclusively on nuclear energy towards electricity. At present, none of its electricity needs is being met by its many nuclear plants, all in effect turned off. This is solely because of the tsunami and bad planning that has left Fukushima a continuing environmental nightmare. Ever since 11 March 2011 the best and brightest have been in a race to stem one major problem after another, and in result not much more than temporary bandaids to date. Much of the highly radioactive water that has been contained thus far is stored in quite large metal tanks hastily assembled on site, more all the time, and many leaking. At present, and ever since this first began, this nuclear plant has been leaking some 300 tons of radioactively contaminated water into the Pacific ocean every day. With no end in sight. To the extent that the Fukushima area is a growing no-go area in Japan, with just a permanent containment perhaps 40 years off, and the region radiated beyond human habitation far beyond that. The US is presently monitoring, if not much publicizing, the increasing radiation levels along our West Coast.

Japan, in consequence, has a populace concerned and largely opposed to the continuation of nuclear energy. Being vividly reminded on a daily basis of the potential perils involved with even one 'accident.' Despite public sentiment, in time some of the nuclear plants deemed newer and safer are likely to be reactivated in Japan. With the bulk of their remaining energy needs met by coal.

It might be noted that nuclear power in the United States has not always enjoyed a stellar safety record. That as well that government regulators have, if not in actual collusion with, been in instances and are lackadaisical with possible safety concerns. There are any number of nuclear reactors in the US which are built near earthquake faults. While some have been required retrofitting towards this threat now better understood, not all to the level truly necessary. Or the view, as with Fukushima, that something like that not likely to happen. Overlooking what will occur when and if it does.

The sun could meet all our energy needs. If allowing that oil, entirely aside from its energy uses, is a unique resource used in a wide variety of products. But the potential is there. For some 5 billion years more, until this star implodes, we will enjoy this free resource. If only being able, and willing, to utilize it effectively. The price and effectiveness of solar panels continues to respectively decease and increase. Even as the pioneer in this technology, the US, has ceded it to China—who may well make better use of it. The advent of a truly effective battery remains the principal constriction in the widespread deployment and use of solar energy. As before, with some, but not a great deal of research being done in this.

More, seemingly, in improving old technologies like oil shale fracturing, or fracking. Something that is known to cause environmental problems both in its extraction and later use as fuel (i.e. our atmosphere). Yet, for now, it is the easy way out. We know how to do it, the uses are easily understood. The price (in very near-term standards) is right. And, not inconsequently, there is a lot of money to be made by a few in doing this.

Canada has vast energy resources in the form of tar sands. Its extraction in northeastern Alberta is massively damaging to the land and water, verily a raping of it. But the money is there, as well the energy in a world which will, for now, value it all the more as time passes. No matter that the extraction and usage of this tar sand oil results in some of the highest output of greenhouse gases, far more than with conventional oil.

Venezuela has one of the highest homicide rates in the region of northern South America and Central America which is the highest in the world. Honduras, incidentally, is by far the worst globally. There is a large amount of unrest in that nation presently. Much of it is political and due the policies of the present government. They blame most of it on the United States, and not without reason. Whether true or not now, in 2002 the US attempted the covert overthrow of the then government of Hugo Chavez. Using much the same tactics of flash mobs and other devices most recently seen in Russia's annexation of Crimea, but most particularly now witnessed in eastern Ukraine. Venezuela's oil is not light crude, but it has vast reserves. Or, of interest to those that have an energy policy setting red lines in the critical supply region of the Middle East, and even instituting wars towards same in nations like Iraq.

None of this is easy. But when we consider the close ties between energy concerns and government in Colorado, in many respects the actions of a dying age. They are the actions and of a mindset that are unsustainable. Profit and advantage gained by some for today with little thought of tomorrow. That we suffer now in increasing earthquakes and degraded water and other natural resources is but the tip of the iceberg. If proverbial, and the real ones quickly melting in Greenland and Alaska (or, closer to home, the namesake glaciers within Glacier National Park soon all gone).

What love can we have for ourselves, not to mention our children, with so little care evident? That we could and might we do not, but largely business as usual and all the more of that. Strangely, the IPCC is also to have said that for all subsequent environmental tragedies to follow, that our current energy policy is unlikely to harm the business economy. If, surely, it will have to make some major adjustments. Or just in no longer having the same access to such principal crops as wheat and corn, whose yields are expected to diminish in our ever warmer climate. It not perhaps at a moment collapse, due the monoculture Frankenstein inbreeding and contamination by such ilk as Monsanto (again, towards myopic greed and profit).

So business perhaps a bright spot in our dystopian future.



1) 'ODNR finds "probable connection" between fracking and earthquakes,' WFMJ
ODNR finds "probable connection" between fracking and earthquake - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -
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Old 04-18-2014, 12:31 PM
 
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Fracking helping to lower CO2 emmissions. More efficient than wind/solar

Thanks to fracking, U.S. carbon emissions are at the lowest levels in 20 years.
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:40 PM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
5,583 posts, read 5,037,921 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sammy87 View Post
Fracking helping to lower CO2 emmissions. More efficient than wind/solar

Thanks to fracking, U.S. carbon emissions are at the lowest levels in 20 years.
Click on the the link to US Energy Information Agency given in your 2012 article. You will notice that the data for 2012 is incomplete, falling 9 month's short of a year's worth. Yet those 3 month's worth of numbers are being compared to an entire 12 month's set of data from the previous years listed in the study. For some reason I am completely unimpressed with this attempt at science fiction.
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Old 04-18-2014, 07:42 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,778 posts, read 17,460,349 times
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@Rambler....more like a fairy tale than science fiction! Anything goes to advance the cause of corporatism. Screw the facts and make up your own. They would have us believe that reality is whatever they say it is.

Last edited by CosmicWizard; 04-18-2014 at 07:55 PM..
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:56 PM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
5,583 posts, read 5,037,921 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicWizard View Post
@Rambler....more like a fairy tale than science fiction! Anything goes to advance the cause of corporatism. Screw the facts and make up your own. They would have us believe that reality is whatever they say it is.
There, there. Calm down and repeat after me: "The world is flat. The world is flat..."
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Old 04-19-2014, 07:39 AM
 
1,505 posts, read 1,073,262 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicWizard View Post
@Rambler....more like a fairy tale than science fiction! Anything goes to advance the cause of corporatism. Screw the facts and make up your own. They would have us believe that reality is whatever they say it is.
Whats more of a fairy tale, the fact that NG is cleaner than coal, or that 30k wind turbines don't put a dent in our energy needs? When those turbines fatigue life is roughly 10-15 yrs and theres no more tax credit to help subsidize them, I doubt we will see too many more of them.

And it's not like those on the Earth is dying side of global warming don't fudge facts. They would be out of work if it wasn't doom and gloom all the time.
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Old 04-21-2014, 03:04 PM
 
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Add Ohio to the list of states concerned about earthquakes from fracking.

Excerpt: "State officials now say a series of earthquakes that shook Mahoning County last month likely were caused by fracking, leading them to create the most stringent drilling rules in the nation, requiring seismic monitoring near fault lines and epicenters."
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Old 04-22-2014, 10:59 AM
 
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Default Sustainability of output from frac'd wells an issue...

Article in Bloomberg raises the concern that output of frac'd wells plays out quicker than older conventional wells have historically dwindled down. This excerpt explains the issue that concerns them:

"...David Hughes -- a 32-year veteran with the Geological Survey of Canada and now a research fellow with the Post Carbon Institute, ... notes the average decline of the world's conventional oil fields is about 5% per year. By comparison, the average decline of oil wells in ND's booming Bakken shale oil field is 44% per year. Individual wells can see production declines of 70% or more in the first year...."
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Old 04-23-2014, 09:59 AM
 
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Wink Nimb

"Given the danger presented by fires, chemical spills and emissions, I hope this will set a precedent," said Carl Granrud, a father of three, "so that drilling will not be done at unsafe distances from schools." [1]


Of late there have been several oil tank fires in Colorado. Such as near Frederick, Platteville, north of Greeley, and fire and explosions with some storage tanks northeast of Denver—and as with Frederick, near an elementary school.

While some oil tank fires are suspicious, even human-induced (such as jumping up and down on a tank full of volatile fumes with a lighter in hand), 'accidents' in malfunctioning equipment, or natural causes like lightning can also be the reason. [2]

However what has parents in Greeley incendiary is not just that any given oil storage tank might go up in flames, or has on occasion, but that oil companies should feel free to situate them close to hospitals and schools. Citing their listening to community concerns, Mineral Resources, Inc. withdrew its application to drill 19 oil wells within 900 feet of the Frontier Academy elementary school. Mineral Resources might have acted as a good corporate citizen, or indeed in realizing they were quickly getting into some untenable hot (fracking) water.

It turns out that since last year the state of Colorado has required a 1,000 foot setback of oil installations from schools and hospitals. So Mineral Resources was already pushing their luck. Moreover, prior to this new rule, having plans to drill 19 to 67 wells as near as 478 feet from the school's playground, and 828 feet from its building. It was all lined up, with the COGCC having granted approval for this in May 2013. If disappointed, Mineral Resources says its prior plans were "safe and suitable," if now willing to abide by the mandated 1,000 foot setback.

If oil companies are not always known for their altruism, the parents so aggrieved might look to their own school. As it also turns out that, as a charter school, Frontier Academy has the ability to make their own deals with oil companies. The Greeley-Evans School District is collecting about $100,000 a year from oil field royalties.

"Given the danger presented by fires, chemical spills and emissions, I hope this will set a precedent, so that drilling will not be done at unsafe distances from schools," says father of three, Carl Granrud.

"We're grateful. Now our children are safe," adds the head of the Frontier Parents' Group, Trisha Golding.

However they might both wish to look closer to home. As there are currently 425 such oil and gas wells within Greeley itself. And while the state of Colorado has recently, and most graciously, extended the mandated setback of oil installations in residential areas from homes, it is but 350 feet (but 150 feet in rural areas). So, while their children might be able to breath just that much easier while at school, maybe not so much at home.


1) 'Greeley school parents' fury forces oil and gas driller to back down,' The Denver Post
Greeley school parents' fury forces oil and gas driller to back down - The Denver Post

2) 'Tank Battery Fires,' Well Servicing Magazine
http://www.wellservicingmagazine.com...battery-fires/
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Old 04-24-2014, 01:16 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 6,314,230 times
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Wink As legacy

"...David Hughes -- a 32-year veteran with the Geological Survey of Canada and now a research fellow with the Post Carbon Institute, ... notes the average decline of the world's conventional oil fields is about 5% per year. By comparison, the average decline of oil wells in ND's booming Bakken shale oil field is 44% per year. Individual wells can see production declines of 70% or more in the first year...." [1]


This recently cited reference is telling. Unfortunately the article this quote was excerpted from has abruptly disappeared. But I, and hopefully others, read it before then. The gist of it was that, despite hyperbole to the contrary, that fracking may not provide the energy bonanza customarily assumed, due the rapid production decline of these wells. We'll return to that in a moment.

But it also got me wondering what then happens to all these exhausted fracked oil and gas wells, and how many there might be. It turns out quite a few, and of course many more on tap to join that club in time. If the figure correct, there are some 79,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in Colorado.[2] Moreover (as data and photos of reference #2 illustrate) these abandoned wells can, unknown to residents, be buried in residential neighborhoods. Apparently no longer with what little in the way of mandated setbacks and safeguards apply to operational wells. And not just out of sight out of mind but with the possibility of continuing severe repercussions, as with natural gas seeping into dwellings and compromising structures and occupants.[2] Or that fracking in Colorado and elsewhere is not necessarily a one-time windfall of energy and money without long term consequences.

It seems that fracked wells have distinctly different characteristics from their conventional counterparts, commonly suffering a far more rapid decline in production output. This can be a 70 percent decline in the first year, 20 percent the second, then 10 percent left to peter out over time. The oil industry often speaks of 40-year lifespans, yet a fracked gas well can have 80-95 percent less output after but three years.[3] This would suggest that fracking will be a short term play and with any longevity only due all the many more wells necessarily drilled in time—and then abandoned.

According to this reference (#4) there were 43,383 producing and oil and gas wells in Colorado as of June 29, 2012. If all operational wells accounted for, then 47,737 as of that date.[4] 552 of those are noted as "temporarily abandoned," meaning basically waiting to be permanently plugged and abandoned. This data is also out of date due the rapid increase of fracking in Colorado. Not only would there surely be more active wells now, but also those abandoned. Nor do I presently have the date on how many wells have since been abandoned and likely forgotten by most. Although the data that there are 129,073 completed wells in Colorado, 82,000 of these with a non-active status—and all in time abandoned.[5]

Whatever may be done in future, past standards have not always been all that rigorous or even existed at all. There are many examples of oil and gas wells improperly plugged, having since failed in some manner, or simply abandoned outright at the outset with no remediation. The results are varied and not limited to the pollution of groundwater. Or imagine the unsettling experience of being blown up in one's own bathroom. As happened in 2008 when a candle was lit there, unsuspecting that their septic system had since been compromised with gas from one of these abandoned wells. [6]

It is worth in closing to return to reference number four once more. A single photo there will convey in an instant what is afoot in Colorado. Look at all the many red dots scattered across the state, each denoting an active oil or gas well. Very heavy concentrations are found near Trinidad, in the vicinity of Grand Junction, south of Durango in La Plata County, and especially north of Denver along the Front Range, with Weld County of epicenter of sorts. All these wells will be abandoned in time, sooner it would seem than later. And as reminder of the legacy they represent in that already done, but remaining, and that to come.




1) (non-operational link, see post #408) Bloomberg

2) 'Thanks Encana Oil & Gas for the Abandoned Well Under our City Park! Courtesy Matters…,' Fractivist
FRACTIVIST - Assist, Reform and Protect!: Thanks Encana Oil & Gas for the Abandoned Well Under our City Park! Courtesy Matters...

3) 'Shale Gas and Tight Oil: Boom? Bust? Or Just a Petering Out?,' Duke, Nicholas School of the Environment
Shale Gas and Tight Oil: Boom? Bust? Or Just a Petering Out? | Duke Dean's Blog: The Green Grok

4) 'Colorado - Operational Oil and Gas Wells,' Skytruth
SkyTruth: Colorado - Operational Oil and Gas Wells

5) 'The failure of the State of Colorado to prevent or mitigate adverse impacts to it's citizens and environment,' Shane Davis
http://cogcc.state.co.us/library/set...20-%20Copy.pdf

6) 'Deteriorating Oil and Gas Wells Threaten Drinking Water, Homes Across the Country,' ProPublica
Deteriorating Oil and Gas Wells Threaten Drinking Water, Homes Across the Country - ProPublica

Last edited by Idunn; 04-24-2014 at 01:27 PM..
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