Wednesday, May 21, 2014

One Trick Pony

Not to gloat but BRT did say fracking was a short term solution to a long term problem, a fact big oil is unwilling to admit even though the predicted shale boom for CA is now a bust with more bad news to follow as fracking wells don't last very long due to the fact natural gas is just that, a gas, something evanescent, something totally different from the sweet crude gushers that issued forth from Texas back in the day.

Chesapeake Energy’s (CHK) Serenity 1-3H well near Oklahoma City came in as a gusher in 2009, pumping more than 1,200 barrels of oil a day and kicking off a rush to drill that extended into Kansas. Now the well produces less than 100 barrels a day, state records show. Serenity’s swift decline sheds light on a dirty secret of the oil boom: It may not last. Shale wells start strong and fade fast, and producers are drilling at a breakneck pace to hold output steady. In the fields, this incessant need to drill is known as the Red Queen, after the character in Through the Looking-Glass who tells Alice, “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.” 

Lest we forget CA.

In 2012, the federal officials estimated that 13.7 billion barrels of oil could be recovered from the Monterey Shale. The EIA now says that only 600 million barrels of oil can be recovered using existing technologies such as acid treatment and fracking, the controversial oil and gas technique that involves forcing millions of gallons of water laced with silica and chemicals deep underground to break up rock formations.

Reality check anyone?

“This downgrade fundamentally changes the risk-reward calculation when it comes to unconventional oil development in our state,” Jayni Foley Hein, executive director of the Berkeley Center for Law, Energy and the Environment, said in a statement from the group CAFrackFacts. “Given that the industry’s promised economic benefits are not likely to materialize, the state should take a hard look at the impacts that oil development has on public health, safety and the environment.”

The revised figures come from new evidence accumulated by the EIA and the U.S. Geological Survey, Sieminski said. Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY), based in Los Angeles, controls 2.3 million acres in California -- an area 12 times the size of New York City -- including vast portions of the Monterey Shale that have so far frustrated attempts to extract commercial quantities of crude.

Makes one think, doesn't it, particularly when weighing the costs versus the benefits of tech questionable at best.

To open shale rocks and to release trapped oil and gas, large amounts of water, fine sand, and chemical substances must be injected under high pressure into the ground. In fact, hydraulic fracturing requires as much as five million gallons of water per well; in 2012 alone, fracking consumed some 50 billion gallons of water. Although the sheer volume of water consumed may not present a problem in water-rich regions, such as Pennsylvania, it may become a major obstacle in water-parched states, such as Texas; overall, 55 percent of the wells fracked since 2011 are in drought areas. In those areas, energy producers will need to compete for water with other users, including farms, manufacturing plants, and households. According to a recent UN World Water Development Report on water and energy, "There is an increasing potential for serious conflict between power generation, other water users and environmental considerations."

Water wars anyone?
And so it goes - K. Vonnegut

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