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marnixR
Post  Post subject: fracking talk  |  Posted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:26 pm
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yesterday the SWGA (South Wales Geologists' Association) had one of their monthly talks of the winter season on the subject of "Fraccing: mythology, propaganda and geomechanics"

the speaker, Joe Cartwright, is an expert on seismology, and is now at Oxford University where he is leading a joint venture with Shell on exploring fracking possibilities in the UK - so presumably that makes him to the anti-fracking community as being in be with the enemy

mind you, the audience were well-behaved during the talk (even though i'd say about a third were there with reasons nothing with an education in geology), but most of the questions were overtaken by their supporters

and i must admit i'm puzzled - what exactly is it that brings out the fracking movement ? is it the fact that your escape-to-the country-house has now been overtaken by the dark signs of industry when you lest expected it ? is it the prospect of subsidence that might affect the structural soundness of your property ? is it the worries about water supply contamination

unfortunately that didn't come out in the talk where the speaker first had a go a cartoonish misrepresentations in the media of how fracking would directly affect groundwater quality, then talked about the nuts-and-bolts of how fracking happens, but a no stage was a list given of risk factors involved, whether these risks were warranted and whether measure should be in place to mitigate them

so that left the field wide open to the anti-fracking community to make it look like the speaker was pooh-poohing genuine concerns without those concerns ever being brought fully in the open
i would be very surprised if the only risk factor would be the additional traffic from lorries bringing in heavy drilling fluids, but the fact that he never mentioned a specific list for discussion, apart from trying to dispel fears groundwater quality directly from the fracking event, left the field wide open for the relevance of the talk to anyone who wanted something more from a geological talk than the geological detail of fracking

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: fracking talk  |  Posted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 5:26 pm
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There are genuine worries about fracking which unfortunately can get lost in all the brouhaha. Here in Colorado the oil and gas companies want to have the right to frack pretty much anywhere they lik, within city boundaries, next to your house. The concerns over groundwater pollution may be greatly overblown, and the worry we had here that our sparse water reserves would be pumped into holes in the ground have been largely answered in my opinion. What cannot be answered so easily is the visual impact on once pristine countryside such as the Roan Plateau and the leakage of methane to the atmosphere. When we are told that well sites are tiny they don't mention the roads that have to be gouged through the wilderness.

Anyway, as an example of the dishonesty and hypocrisy of the energy companies on this issue here's an amazing article. The title pretty well says it all.

"Exxon CEO Profits Huge As America's Largest Natural Gas Producer-But Frack In His Own Backyard And He Sues!"
http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2014/02/22/exxon-ceo-profits-huge-as-americas-largest-natural-gas-producer-but-frack-it-in-his-own-backyard-and-he-sues/


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: fracking talk  |  Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:28 am
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Fracking in Texas (and Oklahoma) also seems to be leading to earthquakes.

http://www.npr.org/2014/02/09/273372026 ... nd-go-boom
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There's been a surge in earthquakes in the U.S. over the last few years. In Texas, there are 10 times the number of earthquakes now than just a few years ago.

Scientists say it's likely linked to the boom in oil and gas activity, meaning that people who never felt the ground shake are starting to.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: fracking talk  |  Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:29 am
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i wonder to what extent it makes a difference that in the UK a lot of the geology is a lot more fractured than in many of the US's major fracking fields

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: fracking talk  |  Posted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:47 am
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i wish i had read the following FAQ on fracking prior to the talk

Shale Gas: FAQ

because if confidently reiterates what i had suspected to start with : that the protesters couldn't have found a harder target to criticise than fracking - if done properly there should be no contamination from the well head into groundwater, and spent fracking fluid if stored properly causes no environmental issues

imo this is a case of nimby-ism by people who thought they'd ensconced themselves in an idyllic rural enclave like the Vale of Glamorgan, only to find that industrial pursuits are never far away

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Prometheus
Post  Post subject: Re: fracking talk  |  Posted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:27 pm
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What about the opportunity cost? Not sure how much, but i imagine a fair amount of money and expertise has been spent on a technique that will ultimately exacerbate global warming, when that money and expertise could have been spent on developing renewable sources.


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: fracking talk  |  Posted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:58 pm
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strangely enough i've never heard that argument raised by anti-fracking campaigners

when pushed, and seeing that their standard objections of immediate environmental damage don't wash, they might come to the bit that it encourages people to burn more, not less, carbon, but i've never seen anyone claim the cost of missed opportunity

maybe because fracking is such a natural extension of current drilling technology, that it did not require new people to invent totally new stuff, instead presented the petrochemical guys with an extension of their expertise in a closely related field - i doubt whether it would interfere with any research/investment into renewables

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: fracking talk  |  Posted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:09 pm
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Quote:
strangely enough i've never heard that argument raised by anti-fracking campaigners


The argument that fracking for natural gas production may divert money away from investment in alternative energy projects has been made by people who are serious about climate change for a long time. Maybe the vociferous campaigners don't use that argument - perhaps it doesn't lend itself to handy slogans - but it is a major part of the overall concern about fracking.

I'm not familiar with the Vale of Glamorgan, but I am familiar with the open spaces of Colorado and these are not by any means the exclusive preserve of rich NIMBYists. Us poor folks like to get away to the pristine wilderness and believe me we do not want gas and oil wells, roads and pipelines up there. If a farmer on the eastern plains wants to lease his land to an oil company so be it, but not in our state forests, parks and wilderness areas please.

As it happens, fracking in Colorado is done both for gas and oil. There are huge oil reserves here, rivaling Saudi Arabia, and no one can claim that producing this oil by fracking is going to help climate change. Natural gas produced by fracking has historically been problematic for the methane emissions during drilling and well completion, as well as during normal production.

We do now have a new set of regulations in place that seem to address this methane leakage issue in a satisfactory way. This goes to show that loud mouthed protesters can in fact have a positive effect.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-24/colorado-first-state-to-clamp-down-on-fracking-methane-pollution.html


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