We discuss and comment on the role agriculture will play in the containment of the CO2 problem and address protocols for terraforming the planet Earth.
A model farm template is imagined as the central methodology. A broad range of timely science news and other topics of interest are commented on.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Shale Gas Continues Expansion
Maybe or maybe not.The problem is that recovered fluids need to
be handled, and this means recycling were possible and reinjection into another
formation able to absorb the water.Generally, this is not the problem in most geological settings.The problem is the spurious roadblocks thrown
up by activists whose sole aim is to interfere with any new production as much
At least the operators are not
attempting to simply toss it all into the Mississippi.
What is totally clear, is that
all politicians are distancing themselves from this freight train.They know a political loser when they see
one.After all, after two generations of
sucking up to the Saudis, this technology is swiftly freeing us of ever buying
another drop of Saudi oil or gas.What
is more, it is in their backyard and visible as hell.
Even Obama knows he does not need
to paint a huge bull’s eye on his back for republicans to shoot at.That is why the turn down of the Keystone
pipeline was a document only a lawyer could love.It was actually a conditional approval
written to ensure that no mistakes were made that they could not slither past.
It is presently strategically
important for North America to become energy
independent.Within the next three to
five years we will be in a position to strand any Oil producer who annoys us.
This means that environmental
concerns will be worked through, but it is all going ahead.
More environmental rules needed for shale gas
by Staff Writers
(SPX) Feb 08, 2012
A hydraulic fracturing operation under way in western Pennsylvania. Credit: Mark Zoback, StanfordUniversity.
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama praised the
potential of the country's tremendous supply of natural gas buried
in shale. He echoed the recommendations for safe extraction made by an advisory
panel that included StanfordUniversity geophysicist
The panel made 20 recommendations for regulatory reform, some of which
go well beyond what the president mentioned in his address.
The topic is controversial. Breaking up rock layers thousands of feet
underground with hydraulic fracturing has unleashed so many minuscule bubbles
of methane that shale gas now accounts for 30 percent of U.S. gas production,
an increase in supply that has pummeled the commodity's price. The gas industry
will support more than 600,000 jobs by
the end of the decade, Obama said.
But environmental concerns about the technology behind the boom -
specifically hydraulic fracturing - receive near daily news coverage, with
opponents saying that toxic additives in the water used for the fracturing have
found their way into household tap water, among other concerns.
Obama said natural gas producers will have to disclose the chemicals
they add to the fracturing slurry of water and sand when they are working on
federal lands. The Secretary of Energy's seven-person advisory group on shale
gas, of which Zoback was a member, called for such disclosure by shale gas
operators on all lands. The advisory group further recommended that data on a
well-by-well basis be posted on publicly available, searchable websites.
"The problem is that the president only has jurisdiction over
federal lands, while states regulate development on private land, where most of
the shaleformations are
found," Zoback said.
"The so-called 'Halliburton exclusion' passed by Congress
says gascompanies don't
have to disclose the chemicals in fracturing fluids. That was a real mistake
because it makes the public needlessly paranoid."
The chemical additives used during hydraulic fracturing are really not
a serious issue, Zoback said at the Precourt Institute for Energy's weekly
Energy Seminar. The problem lies elsewhere: Once water is injected into the
shale, it can pick up naturally occurring selenium, arsenic and iron, a lot of
salt and even radioactive particles.
Thus, when this water flows back up the well, it has to be disposed of
properly. What gas companies do with that water is a serious regulatory
problem. Typically, they either reuse it or inject it into deep saline
aquifers, Zoback said, and regulators must monitor the safe disposal of the
"In western Pennsylvania,
the gas companies initially said that recycling water used for hydraulic
fracturing couldn't be done economically," Zoback said. "But
because there were really no good options for safe disposal, they now recycle
95 percent of the water used, and it's not a big deal." Much is still
to be discovered about the rapidly expanding technology, Zoback said.
"I think it is fair to say that the bigger producers have no
problem with our 20 recommendations. The question is whether state regulators
will implement them and small companies will be forced to follow them as well
as large ones," Zoback said. "That's of great concern to us."
Obama cited shale gas development as justification for federal
investments in clean energy technology, which have been under attack since the
bankruptcy of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which received federal loan
guarantees on about $500 million it borrowed.
"Public research dollars,
over the course of 30 years, helped develop the technologies to extract all
this natural gas out of shale rock - reminding us that government support is
critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground," the
"Payoffs on these public investments don't always come right away.
Some technologies don't pan out; some companies fail. But I will not walk away
from the promise of clean energy."
If well regulated, the enhanced gas supplies could cheaply supplant
coal as the main source for electricity generated by burning fossil fuel,
which would go far in reducing the threat of climate change, Zoback said.
Gas produces half the carbon dioxide of coal per kilowatt-hour of
electricity produced. And major oil companies are investing heavily to develop
natural gas liquids to displace gasoline and diesel fuel in transportation,
which could improve economic and national security.
"Gas is the bridge fuel to a decarbonized future, not a way of
sustaining business as usual," Zoback said.