From New York to Nkandla shale gas is a ‘game-changer’


This article first published July 15 in Daily Maverick – South Africa’s leading online publication

TO ACCESS THE EMBEDDED LINKS FOLLOW THE DAILY MAVERICK LINK BELOW

http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2014-07-15-from-new-york-to-nkandla-shale-gas-is-indeed-a-game-changer/#.U8TFT42SyCg

WINNING OVER CRITICS AND INFLUENCING PEOPLE.
15 JULY 2014 07:58 (SOUTH AFRICA)
OPINIONISTA JONATHAN DEAL

From New York to Nkandla, shale gas is indeed a game-changer

  • JONATHAN DEAL
Shale gas has been hailed as a game changer worldwide, but many of the numbers being crunched are outdated – and the reality is a little more sobering. It’s worth picking up on US shale gas hype and bringing it down to earth in the Karoo.
Since 2011, there have been some incredible statements from oil and gas executives, but the uncontested winner must come from Chris Faulkner: “There is enough oil and gas underground (in America) to supply America for an almost endless amount of time.”

Oil industry mouthpiece, RIGZONE speculates on SA fracking


An online article July 8, by oil and gas industry mouthpiece RIGZONE proclaims “SOUTH AFRICA EDGES CLOSER TO KAROO SHALE GAS DEVELOPMENT” Peppered with inaccuracies, and drawing on phrases like ‘rolling blackouts in South Africa in May of this year’, the article regurgitates the industry speculation that we have heard in this country since January 2011. Here is the article. My reply to RIGZONE on their own online comment section may not be published, and is set out underneath the RIGZONE article.


A Rigzone nonsense

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I believe that the article is poorly researched, and as one would expect biased towards the oil and gas industry that supports your publication. As proof, I mention just one point that jumps out of the text. ‘300 000 to 700 000 jobs over 25 years. (485tcf)’ Anyone who has done their homework knows that South African scientists long ago reduced that figure from 485 to 40tcf – so any estimates based on 485 are irrelevant – much like the industry hype and speculation over Monterey. No Sir, those backing shale mining in SA may feel that it is edging closer, but actually the news on shale gas globally is not good and is building a strong body of evidence against SA moving ahead under the current circumstances. Jonathan Deal, CEO, Treasure Karoo Action Group, South Africa.

B Rigzone nonsense-1

Cuadrilla’s consultant’s hype over California shale turns out to be hot air


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Write-down of two-thirds of US shale oil explodes fracking myth

Industry’s over-inflated reserve estimates are unravelling, and with it the ‘American dream’ of oil independence
An oil field over the Monterey shale formation in California

An oil field over the Monterey shale formation in California: 96% reserve downgrade undermines claims that fracking is solution to the world’s energy needs. Photograph: David McNew/Getty Images

Next month, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) will publish a new estimate of US shale deposits set to deal a death-blow to industry hype about a new golden era of US energy independence by fracking unconventional oil and gas.

EIA officials told the Los Angeles Times that previous estimates of recoverable oil in the Monterey shale reserves in California of about 15.4 billion barrels were vastly overstated. The revised estimate, they said, will slash this amount by 96% to a puny 600 million barrels of oil.

The Monterey formation, previously believed to contain more than double the amount of oil estimated at the Bakken shale in North Dakota, and five times larger than the Eagle Ford shale in South Texas, was slated to add up to 2.8 million jobs by 2020 and boost government tax revenues by $24.6 billion a year.

Industry lobbyists have for long highlighted the Monterey shale reserves as the big game-changer for US oil and gas production. Nick Grealy, who runs the consultancy No Hot Air which is funded by “gas and associated companies”, and includes the UK’s most high-profile shale gas fracker Cuadrilla among its clientspredicted last year that:

“… the star of the North American show is barely on most people’s radar screens. California shale will… reinvigorate the Golden State’s economy over the next two to three years.”

This sort of hype triggered “a speculation boom among oil companies” according to the LA Times. The EIA’s original survey for the US Department of Energy published in 2011 had been contracted out to Intek Inc. That report found that the Monterey shale constituted “64 percent of the total shale oil resources” in the US.

The EIA’s revised estimate was based partly on analysis of actual output from wells where new fracking techniques had been applied. According to EIA petroleum analyst John Staub:

“From the information we’ve been able to gather, we’ve not seen evidence that oil extraction in this area is very productive using techniques like fracking… Our oil production estimates combined with a dearth of knowledge about geological differences among the oil fields led to erroneous predictions and estimates.”

The Intek Inc study for the EIA had relied largely on oil industry claims, rather than proper data. Hitesh Mohan, who authored the Intek study for the EIA, reportedly conceded that “his figures were derived from technical reports and presentations from oil companies, including Occidental Petroleum, which owns the lion’s share of oil leases in the Monterey Shale, at 1.6 million acres.” Mohan had even lifted his original estimate for the EIA to 17 billion barrels.

Geoscientist David Hughes, who worked for the Geological Survey of Canada for 32 years, said:

“The oil had always been a statistical fantasy. Left out of all the hoopla was the fact that the EIA’s estimate was little more than a back-of-the-envelope calculation.”

Last year, the Post Carbon Institute (PCI) published Hughes’ study,Drilling California: A Reality Check on the Monterey Shale, which conducted an empirical analysis of oil production data using a widely used industry database also relied on by the EIA. The report concluded that the original EIA estimate was “highly overstated,” and unlikely to lead to a “statewide economic boom…. California should consider its economic and energy future in the absence of an oil production boom.”

A spokesman for the Institute, Tod Brilliant, told me:

“Given the incredible difference between initial projections of 15 billion barrels and revisions to 600 million, does this not call into account all such global projections for tight oil?”

As I’d reported earlier in June last year, a wider PCI study by Hughes had come to similar conclusions about bullish estimates of US shale oil and gas potential, concluding that “light tight oil production in the USA will peak between 2015 and 2017, followed by a steep decline”, while shale gas production would likely peak next year. In that post, I’d pointed out previous well-documented, and alarmingly common, cases of industry over-estimates of reserve sizes which later had been questioned.

Analysts like Jeremy Leggett have said, citing exaggerated oil industry estimates, that if reserve and production reality are indeed significantly lower than industry forecasts, we could be at risk of an oil shock as early as within the next five years.

The latest revelations follow a spate of bad news for industry reassurances about the fracking boom. New research published this month has found that measured methane leaks from fracking operations were three times larger than forecasted. The US Environment Protection Agency therefore “significantly underestimates” methane emissions from fracking, by as much as a 100 to a 1,000 times according to a new Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study published in April.

The Associated Press also reported, citing a Government Accountability Office investigation, that the US Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management had failed to adequately inspect thousands of oil and gas wells that are potentially high risk for water and environmental damage.

Despite the mounting evidence that the shale gas boom is heading for a bust, both economically and environmentally, both governments and industry are together pouring their eggs into a rather flimsy basket.

According to a secret trade memo obtained by the Huffington Post, the Obama administration and the European Union are pushing ahead with efforts to “expand US fracking, offshore oil drilling and natural gas exploration”, as well as exports to the EU, under the prospective Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement.

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is an international security journalist and academic. He is the author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It, and the forthcoming science fiction thriller, Zero Point. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @nafeezahmed.

Colorado River shrinks in 14 year drought while Fracker’s play on its banks


A recent article by the exposed director of Fracknation in which he made a mockery of anti-fracking claims about the amount of water used in fracking, flies in the face of fact in more than one way. While he jests about water and fracking, communities in the South West may be bracing for a shortage of water for basic living.

McAleer

Phelim McAleer posted a story (http://bitly.com/1lugivV) exposing what he claimed are the ten biggest lies told by the anti-fracking lobby. Here is what he said about the supposed lie that fracking uses a lot of water:
8) Fracking uses a ton of water
Even fracking fans have a hard time swallowing the water stats for fracked wells: the EPA estimates that fracking used between 70 and 140 billion gallons of water in 2011. That sounds like a lot of H2O. Unless you have a lawn.
Americans use 20 times more water on their lawns than they do on fracking.

Colorado River Drought Forces a Painful Reckoning for States

To help the Colorado, federal authorities this year will for the first time reduce the water flow into Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, created by Hoover Dam. JIM WILSON / THE NEW YORK TIMES
By MICHAEL WINES
January 5, 2014

LAKE MEAD, Nev. — The sinuous Colorado River and its slew of man-made reservoirs from the Rockies to southern Arizona are being sapped by 14 years of drought nearly unrivaled in 1,250 years.

The once broad and blue river has in many places dwindled to a murky brown trickle. Reservoirs have shrunk to less than half their capacities, the canyon walls around them ringed with white mineral deposits where water once lapped. Seeking to stretch their allotments of the river, regional water agencies are recycling sewage effluent, offering rebates to tear up grass lawns and subsidizing less thirsty appliances from dishwashers to shower heads.

But many experts believe the current drought is only the harbinger of a new, drier era in which the Colorado’s flow will be substantially and permanently diminished.

Faced with the shortage, federal authorities this year will for the first time decrease the amount of water that flows into Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, from Lake Powell 180 miles upstream. That will reduce even more the level of Lake Mead, a crucial source of water for cities from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and for millions of acres of farmland.

A connector will link the existing water infrastructure to a tunnel being built under Lake Mead.

JIM WILSON / THE NEW YORK TIMES

Reclamation officials say there is a 50-50 chance that by 2015, Lake Mead’s water will be rationed to states downstream. That, too, has never happened before.

“If Lake Mead goes below elevation 1,000” — 1,000 feet above sea level — “we lose any capacity to pump water to serve the municipal needs of seven in 10 people in the state of Nevada,” said John Entsminger, the senior deputy general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Since 2008, Mr. Entsminger’s agency has been drilling an $817 million tunnel under Lake Mead — a third attempt to capture more water as two higher tunnels have become threatened by the lake’s falling level. In September, faced with the prospect that one of the tunnels could run dry before the third one was completed, the authority took emergency measures: still another tunnel, this one to stretch the life of the most threatened intake until construction of the third one is finished.

These new realities are forcing a profound reassessment of how the 1,450-mile Colorado, the Southwest’s only major river, can continue to slake the thirst of one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions. Agriculture, from California’s Imperial Valley to Wyoming’s cattle herds, soaks up about three-quarters of its water, and produces 15 percent of the nation’s food. But 40 million people also depend on the river and its tributaries, and their numbers are rising rapidly.

The labyrinthine rules by which the seven Colorado states share the river’s water are rife with potential points of conflict. And while some states have made huge strides in conserving water — and even reducing the amount they consume — they have yet to chart a united path through shortages that could last years or even decades.

“There is no planning for a continuation of the drought we’ve had,” said one expert on the Colorado’s woes, who asked not to be identified to preserve his relationship with state officials. “There’s always been within the current planning an embedded hope that somehow, things would return to something more like normal.”

Unfortunately, the Colorado during most of Lake Mead’s 78-year history was not normal at all.

Studies now show that the 20th century was one of the three wettest of the last 13 centuries in the Colorado basin. On average, the Colorado’s flow over that period was actually 15 percent lower than in the 1900s. And most experts agree that the basin will get even drier: A brace of global-warming studies concludes that rising temperatures will reduce the Colorado’s average flow after 2050 by five to 35 percent, even if rainfall remains the same — and most of those studies predict that rains will diminish.

Already, the drought is upending many of the assumptions on which water barons relied when they tamed the Colorado in the 1900s.

The Colorado basin states tried in the 1920s to stave off future fights over water by splitting it, 50-50, between the upper-basin states of Utah, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming and the lower-basin states of Arizona, Nevada and California.

In fact, the deal underestimated how much water the fast-growing lower-basin states would need. During most of the wet 20th century, however, the river usually produced more than enough water to offset any shortage.

Now, the gap between need and supply is becoming untenable.

Lake Mead currently stands about 1,106 feet above sea level, and is expected to drop 20 feet in 2014. A continued decline would introduce a new set of problems: At 1,075 feet, rationing begins; at 1,050 feet, a more drastic rationing regime kicks in, and the uppermost water intake for Las Vegas shuts down. At 1,025 feet, rationing grows more draconian; at 1,000 feet, a second Las Vegas intake runs dry.

Lake Powell is another story. There, a 100-foot drop would shut down generators that supply enough electricity to power 350,000 homes.

The federal Bureau of Reclamation’s 24-month forecasts of water levels at Powell and Mead do not contemplate such steep declines. But neither did they foresee the current drought.

“We can’t depend on history to project the future anymore,” Carly Jerla, a geological hydrologist and the reclamation bureau’s Colorado River expert, said in an interview. The drought could end tomorrow, she said — or it could drag on for seven more years.

That raises questions that the states are just beginning to sort out.

The river’s upper-basin states are worried that they might have to curb their consumption to meet their obligations downstream. But the thorniest problems are in the lower basin, where a thicket of political and legal deals has left Arizona holding the bag should the Colorado River continue to diminish.

In the 1960s, California’s legislators demanded first dibs on lower-basin water as a condition of supporting federal legislation to build the Central Arizona Project, a vast web of canals irrigating that state’s farms and cities. Should rationing begin in 2015, Arizona would sacrifice a comparatively small fraction of its Colorado River allotment, while California’s supply would remain intact.

Painful as that would be, though, it could get worse: Should Mead continue to fall, Arizona would lose more than half of its Colorado River water before California lost so much as a drop.

That would have a cascading effect. The Central Arizona Project would lose revenue it gets from selling water, which would raise the price of water to remaining customers, leading farmers to return to pumping groundwater for irrigation — exactly what the Central Arizona Project was supposed to prevent.

“By going back to the pumps, you’ll have made the decision that agriculture will no longer be an industry in central Arizona,” David Modeer, the project’s general manager, said in an interview.

Even Californians doubt Arizona would stand for that, but no successor to the 1960s agreement is in place. And California has a vital interest in holding on to its full allotment of water. The Southern California region using Colorado water is expected to add six million people to the existing 19 million in the next 45 years, and its other water source — the Sierra Nevada to the north — is suffering the same drought and climate problems as the Colorado basin.

“The basic blueprint of our plan calls for a reliable foundation that we then build upon, and that reliable foundation is the Colorado River and Northern California water,” said Jeffrey Kightlinger, the general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. “To the extent we lose one of those supplies, I don’t know that there is enough technology and new supplies to replace them.”

There may be ways to live with a permanently drier Colorado, but none of them are easy. Finding more water is possible — San Diego is already building a desalination plant on the Pacific shore — but there are too few sources to make a serious dent in a shortage.

That leaves conservation, a tack the lower-basin states already are pursuing. Arizona farmers reduce runoff, for example, by using laser technology to ensure that their fields are table flat. The state consumes essentially as much water today as in 1955, even as its population has grown nearly twelvefold.

Working to reduce water consumption by 20 percent per person from 2010 to 2020, Southern California’s Metropolitan Water District is recycling sewage effluent, giving away high-efficiency water nozzles and subsidizing items like artificial turf and zero-water urinals.

Southern Nevada’s water-saving measures are in some ways most impressive of all: Virtually all water used indoors, from home dishwashers to the toilets and bathtubs used by the 40 million tourists who visit Las Vegas each year, is treated and returned to Lake Mead. Officials here boast that everyone could take a 20-minute shower every day without increasing the city’s water consumption by a drop.

Moreover, an intensive conservation program slashed the region’s water consumption from 2002 to 2012, even as the area added 400,000 residents.

Even after those measures, federal officials say, much greater conservation is possible. Local officials say they have little choice.

“The era of big water transfers is either over, or it’s rapidly coming to an end,” said Mr. Entsminger, the southern Nevada water official. “It sure looks like in the 21st century, we’re all going to have to use less water.”

Top climate scientists call for CA governor to ban fracking


Top climate scientists call for fracking ban in letter to Gov. Jerry Brown

(Meanwhile quasi-intellectual pro-frackers in South Africa, who don’t even live in the Karoo, say that all of the anti-fracking lobby’s major claims have fallen apart)

By Paul Rogers

progers@mercurynews.com

POSTED:   11/12/2013 04:07:39 PM PST | UPDATED:   A DAY AGO

Twenty of the nation’s top climate scientists have sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, telling him that his plans supporting increased use of the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” will increase pollution and run counter to his efforts to cut California’s global warming emissions.

The letter is the latest example of the increased pressure that environmentalists and others concerned about climate change have been putting on Brown in recent months. Their argument: The governor can’t say he wants to reduce global warming while expanding fossil fuel development in California.

Large hoses go from one hydraulic fracturing drill site to another as horses graze in the field Sept. 24, 2013, in Midland, Texas. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan) ( Pat Sullivan )

“If what we’re trying to do is stop using the sky as a waste dump for our carbon pollution, and if we’re trying to transform our energy system, the way to do that is not by expanding our fossil fuel infrastructure,” said Ken Caldeira, an atmospheric scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University.

Caldeira signed the letter along with other prominent climate scientists, including James Hansen, the former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies; Richard Houghton, acting president of Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts; and physicist Michael Mann, a professor of meteorology at Penn State University.

The letter called for Brown to place a moratorium on fracking, as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has done.

“Shale gas and tight oil development is likely to worsen climate disruption, which would harm California’s efforts to be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” it notes.

Last month, in response to a question from this newspaper, Brown said: “As you know, I signed legislation that will create the most comprehensive environmental analysis of fracking to date. It will take a year, year and a half, maybe a little longer. And I hope that all the people, critics and supporters alike, will participate and offer their best thoughts.”

On Tuesday, the Brown Administration responded to the scientists’ letter in a statement:

“As the scientists note, California has among the strongest set of policies to combat climate change in the nation. These efforts are driven by sound science and so too will the new hydraulic fracturing regulations. … We look forward to continuing to work with the scientific community.”

The oil industry criticized the scientists’ letter.

“The authors of this letter, while clearly very respected in their fields, do not present an accurate or realistic picture of our energy needs and our energy future,” said Tupper Hull, a spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Association in Sacramento.

“California is going to need petroleum-based energy for a long time, even as it transitions to a lower carbon future.”

Brown has generally won high marks from environmental groups over his 40-year political career. He signed legislation requiring California utilities to generate 33 percent of their electricity from solar, wind and other renewable resources by 2020, for example. Last month, he appeared at an event in San Francisco to announce a pact with the governors of Washington state, Oregon and the premier of British Columbia to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

But he has come under increasing criticism — and public protests — this fall from opponents of fracking, the practice in which oil and gas companies inject water, sand and chemicals into the ground to fracture underground rock formations and release huge amounts of fossil fuels.

In September, Brown signed SB4, a bill by state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, that requires companies that conduct fracking operations in California to notify all nearby property owners, obtain a permit from the state, conduct groundwater testing and disclose the chemicals they are using. The law takes effect in 2015. Opponents say that water pollution and increased air and climate emissions from fracking require a moratorium, particularly in the Monterey Shale, an area that stretches from Bakersfield to Monterey and holds billions of dollars of shale oil that could be recovered from increased fracking.

Paul Rogers covers resources and environmental issues. Contact him at 408-920-5045. Follow him at Twitter.com/PaulRogersSJMN

Coalition of Californians urge Gov. Jerry Brown to ban fracking – but SA Pro-frackers see only dollar signs


Media Advisory, November 14, 2013

Contact: Rose Braz, (510) 435-6809, rbraz@biologicaldiversity.org
Peg Mitchell, (760) 224-3252 (onsite cell)

Anti-fracking Activists Confront Gov. Brown at “Elected Official of the Year” Award Event

Coalition Highlights Extreme Oil Production’s Harm to State’s Air, Water, Climate

SAN DIEGO— Sign-carrying activists with San Diego 350, CREDO, the Center for Biological Diversity and Californians Against Fracking will urge Gov. Jerry Brown to ban fracking at his appearance to receive an “elected official of the year” award in San Diego today. The protest is being organized on the ground by San Diego 350.

Gov. Brown has been dogged by protesters from the 150-member Californians Against Fracking coalition at appearances across the state for his refusal to ban the highly polluting technique, which involves blasting huge volumes of water mixed with toxic chemicals into the ground to break up rock formations and release oil and gas.

“Governor Brown needs to realize that water has become a scarce natural resource that must be protected,” said Peg Mitchell of SanDiego350.org. “Fracking consumes huge amounts of fresh water for extracting a product that destroys our climate. Meanwhile our cities are struggling to find new sources of water while our citizens are left with costly energy-intensive alternative solutions for drinking water. This just doesn’t make economic or environmental sense.”

“Gov. Brown needs to realize that climate leaders don’t frack,” said Rose Braz of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The governor’s support for this dangerous form of oil and gas extraction could tarnish the Golden State, not to mention his legacy, forever. Fracking pollution contaminates the air we breathe and the water we drink. It will also blow a huge hole in California’s efforts to fight dangerous climate change.”

What: Protest calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to ban fracking outside governor’s appearance to receive an award as elected official of the year.
When: Today, Thursday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m.
Where:  Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine, 3777 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego CA 92122

Despite acknowledging the urgent need to fight climate change, Gov. Brown has refused to halt fracking in California. Fracking is tied to air and water pollution and releases huge volumes of methane, a dangerously potent greenhouse gas.

A study published this year in the Journal of Geophysical Research found that the methane leak rate from Los Angeles-area oil and gas operations was 17 percent, a rate that makes these fuels far worse for the climate than coal. New fracking and acidization technologies are opening up huge new sources of dirty oil in California’s Monterey Shale formation to extraction and combustion, threatening the state’s leadership on climate.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 625,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Californians Against Fracking is a coalition of environmental, business, health, agriculture, labor, political, and environmental justice organizations working to win a statewide ban on fracking in California.

 

‘New’ fracking Moratorium bill to be introduced in Ohio


And still the South African government has no comment on more than 180 bans, restrictions and moratoria on fracking …

Energy Inc. 2013

Time: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Place: David L. Lawrence Convention Center

Sep 6, 2013, 12:06pm EDT

Sen. Ferlo plans PA fracking moratorium legislation

 
Reporter- Pittsburgh Business Times

State Sen. Jim Ferlo, whose 38th district includes Pittsburgh, is signaling he intends to formally introduce legislation for a moratorium on new hydraulic fracturing.

In an email sent this week to constituents, Ferlo said “in a matter of days, I plan to introduce legislation which would impose a temporary moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (fracking).” Ferlo is planning a statewide conference call next week regarding the proposal and expects to introduce formal legislation the following week, he said.

Ferlo noted his proposal would call for a moratorium on fracking new wells and would not affect the thousands of already permitted wells, or the 7,000 drilled and operating wells.

“This year there were 366 violations by a weak-kneed (Department of Environmental Protection) in the state and 6,000 violations since 2000,” Ferlo said. “I would not stop those permits already out there pumping. It would not affect the activity already in place. But it’s important to take a step back and look at the infractions and get an independent commission to create and take at least two to three years to look closely at how we can best provide appropriate protection.”

Ferlo said his proposal will include creating a commission appointed by the governor with Senate approval to hold hearings and submit a report no later than January 2018. He added this commission must be made up of industry, environmental and consumer groups.

So far there are eight co-sponsors on the proposal but Ferlo acknowledged this will be “an uphill battle.” However, he said it’s an issue that should be debated particularly by the candidates running for governor.