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How much oil left in America? Not much

How much oil left in America? Not much

Preface. If you think we have no worries because we can get arctic oil, think again. We can’t because icebergs mow drilling platforms down in the ocean. On land, massive amounts of expensive new drilling rigs, roads, rail lines, platforms, buildings and other infrastructure need to be built, and maintained every year as permafrost soil bucks and heaves like a bronco trying to shake infrastructure off.

In the first two oil shocks in the 1970s, many intelligent people proposed we should buy oil from other nations to keep ours in the ground for when foreign oil declined. But hell no, Texas, Oklahoma, and other oil states said that we need jobs and CEO/shareholder profits more than national security. Over half of all remaining oil is in the Middle East, which China, Russia, and Europe are much closer to than the U.S.

What saved the U.S. and the world, from conventional peak oil and natural gas decline since 2005 is fracking. But fracking began to decline as early as 2020 according the first report below. The second article is about oil discoveries in the U.S. declining.

This just in: John Hess, CEO of Hess Corporation, told his audience that “key U.S. shale fields are starting to plateau” and will not the next Saudi Arabia. U.S. shale oil production has been a major driver in the growth of world oil supplies. Last year the United States accounted for 98% of global growth in oil production. Since 2008 the number is 73%. so a slowdown or decline in U.S. oil production growth would mean trouble for the whole world. With 81 percent of global oil production now in decline, even a plateau in U.S. production would likely result in a worldwide decline (Kobb 2020).

Peak Fracking in the news:

2020 U.S. Shale Oil Production – All That’s Left Is The Permian And That Won’t Last Forever Either.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

North Dakota blues: The legacy of fracking

North Dakota blues: The legacy of fracking

When oil drillers descended on North Dakota en masse a decade ago, state officials and residents generally welcomed them with open arms. A new form of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” for short, would allow an estimated 3 to 4 billion barrels of so-called shale oil to be extracted from the Bakken Formation, some 2 miles below the surface.

The boom that ensued has now turned to bust as oil prices sagged in 2019 and then went into free fall with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The financial fragility of the industry had long been hidden by the willingness of investors to hand over money to drillers in hopes of getting in on the next big energy play. Months before the coronavirus appeared, one former oil CEO calculated that the shale oil and gas industry has destroyed 80 percent of the capital entrusted to it since 2008. Not long after that the capital markets were almost entirely closed to the industry as investor sentiment finally shifted in the wake of financial realities.

The collapse of oil demand in 2020 due to a huge contraction in the world economy associated with the pandemic has increased the pace of bankruptcies. Oil output has also collapsed as the number of new wells needed to keep total production from these short-lived wells from shrinking has declined dramatically as well. Operating rotary rigs in North Dakota plummeted from an average of 48 in August 2019 to just 11 this month.

Oil production in the state has dropped from an all-time high of 1.46 million barrels per day in October 2019 to 850,000 as of June, the latest month for which figures are available. Even one of the most ardent oil industry promoters of shale oil and gas development said earlier this year that North Dakota’s most productive days are over. CEO John Hess of the eponymous Hess Corporation is taking cash flow from his wells in North Dakota and investing it elsewhere.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why Fracking Activity Hasn’t Increased As Oil Prices Recovered

Why Fracking Activity Hasn’t Increased As Oil Prices Recovered

It’s been a long dry spell in the Permian. Shale drilling and completions activity has collapsed to levels not seen since before 2000 (as far back as records are kept). That was the year shale activity first began to pick up from essentially nil and hit all-time peaks in 2008. With occasional ebbs and flows, it had gradually drifted down to the start of the current calamity, where active rigs stood at a somewhat healthy 805 rigs turning to the right. 

Fracking has also taken a commensurate dive over the last eight months, defying the conventional wisdom that as prices began to improve, activity would increase. It hasn’t happened in either case. Why?

Driven by low prices not seen much in modern history, formerly high-flying shale drillers like Chesapeake Energy have gone bankrupt. The service providers who do the actual work like Halliburton, (NYSE:HAL), Schlumberger, (NYSE:SLB) have written off tens of billions worth of fracking-related equipment, closed facilities and laid off thousands of workers.

Much of the expansion from 2016 onward was fueled by growth at any cost mindset in the drillers, and aided by bankers willing to accept ever-increasing estimates for the value of reserves. In 2018 much of that laissez-faire mentality in the boardrooms of the drillers and in the vaults of the bankers came to an abrupt halt as profits and cash flow were demanded. That was the moment shale activity began to falter numerically, while at the same time, a miracle was taking place. Production grew from advances in technology and a deeper understanding of key reservoirs to record levels.

EIA-STEO

Peaking at nearly 13 mm BOE in March of this year, a failure of OPEC+ nations to agree on production cuts that same month, led oil to begin a precipitous decline in price.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Thousands of Quakes, Tied to Fracking, Keep Shaking the Site C Dam Region

Thousands of Quakes, Tied to Fracking, Keep Shaking the Site C Dam Region

Several recent reports on the tremors add to concerns about the mega-project’s stability.

Building the Site C dam in northeastern British Columbia is proving more difficult than officials predicted due to unstable ground on the northern bank. Adding to concerns: myriad earthquakes.

For nearly a decade, The Tyee has reported on a rising number of earthquakes caused by the hydraulic fracturing of shale formations in the region. Now, new studies put the number of such tremors in recent years in the many thousands, raising more worries about the future of the mega-project.

Researchers warn the shaking could become strong enough to crumble critical infrastructure such as roads, high-rise buildings — and dams.

B.C.’s regulatory practices try to limit fracking after small earthquakes have been triggered. But that’s “not sufficient to protect critical or vulnerable infrastructure that have unacceptable failure consequences,” noted seismic hazard expert Gail Atkinson in the May 7 issue of Nature Reviews.

No one can yet predict frack-triggered quakes before they happen, and “hazard forecasting” remains a “critical area of research.”

Another study, released this week by researcher Ben Parfitt at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, took data from federal earthquake catalogues to show how many tremors the fracking industry is producing near the Site C dam.

The numbers are staggering. Between 2017 and 2018 alone, the industry triggered 6,551 earthquakes greater than 0.8 magnitude in the region near the troubled mega-project with a price estimate of $12 billion and rising.

Drilling by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., for example, triggered a magnitude 4.6 earthquake in November 2018 that forced the evacuation of the Site C Dam site. It was followed by magnitude 3.5 and 4 events after the fracking ceased.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

New Satellite Data Reveals Dangerous Methane Emissions in Permian Region

New Satellite Data Reveals Dangerous Methane Emissions in Permian Region

New research based on satellite data confirms that the oil and gas industry in the Permian region of Texas and New Mexico is leaking record amounts of methane. The new research published in the journal Science Advances found that methane emissions in the Permian Basin were equivalent to 3.7 percent of the total methane produced by the oil and gas industry there.

In December DeSmog reported on the work of Robert Howarth, a biogeochemist at Cornell University, who has been studying the methane emissions of the oil and gas industry. Howarth’s latest research estimated that 3.4 percent of all natural gas produced from shale in the U.S. is leaked throughout the production cycle, which appears to be confirmed by this new research.

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and makes up approximately 90 percent of what is known as natural gas. It’s a major contributor to global warming.

The oil and gas industry has long tried to sell the idea of natural gas, which is, again, primarily methane, as a clean energyclimate solution. However, with a leakage rate of 3.7 percent, natural gas is actually worse for the climate than coal.

Advertisements for natural gas from the industry trade group the American Petroleum Institute have claimed, “Thanks to natural gas, the U.S. is leading the way in reducing emissions.”

This new satellite data confirms that simply isn’t the case. When the methane leaks from oil and gas production are taken into account, natural gas is unquestionably a dirty fossil fuel.

This new research also helps explain why methane emissions rose at such a high rate in 2019.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

U.S. Shale Faces Largest Ever Drop in Fracking Activity

U.S. Shale Faces Largest Ever Drop in Fracking Activity

The Covid-19 crisis combined with the oil price war is about to trigger the largest ever monthly drop in U.S. fracking activity.

The Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged global oil demand and, coupled with the extremely low price levels brought on by the wide supply surplus, is likely to cause the largest monthly drop in fracking activity ever recorded in the US, a Rystad Energy analysis shows.

We estimate that the total number of started frac operations will end up below 300 wells in April 2020; close to 200 in the Permian and less than 50 wells each in Bakken and Eagle Ford. This translates into a 60% decline in started frac operations between the peak level seen in January to February 2020 and April 2020, as the majority of public and private operators implement widespread frac holidays.

In March we observed an extreme 30% monthly decline in the number of started frac jobs in these three major oil basins, a fall from 807 in February to just 550. Also, nationwide fracking activity, on a completed jobs basis, might have already declined by around 20% in March 2020, according to our estimates.

“With such a rapid decline in fracking already visible, very little activity will be happening in the oil basins during the remainder of the second quarter of 2020. The natural base production decline, which we have seen as an absolute floor for production, therefore becomes an increasingly relevant production scenario,“ says Rystad Energy Head of Shale Research Artem Abramov.

If we assume that no new horizontal wells are put on production from April 2020 onwards, total LTO production will decline by 1 million barrels per day (bpd) by May, 2 million bpd by July and by 3 million bpd by October to November, with the Permian Basin accounting for more than half of nationwide base decline.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peak Permian Oil Production May Arrive Much Sooner Than Expected

Peak Permian Oil Production May Arrive Much Sooner Than Expected

Ad in Houston Airport mentioning declining Permian oilfields

In mid-January, Adam Waterous, who operates the private equity firm Waterous Energy Fund, made a prediction about the crown jewel of the U.S. shale oil industry, the Permian shale play that straddles Texas and New Mexico.

“We think we are at or near peak Permian,” Waterous told Bloomberg. “The North American oil market has been grossly overcapitalized, which is not sustainable.”

Bloomberg reporter Simon Casey goes on to qualify that “[p]redicting peak Permian output for 2020 isn’t a mainstream view.” However, evidence is piling up that the U.S. shale industry may indeed be close to peaking as it runs out of the two things required to continue increasing oil production: money and what’s known as “tier one acreage.”

Tier one acreage is the term for the areas that produce the most oil per well. It’s also known as “sweet spots,” “core acreage,” or “good rock.”

The idea of the U.S. shale revolution peaking long before either the broader oil and gas industry or the Energy Information Administration expects isn’t a popular one. And the idea was even less popular when DeSmog started detailing why it was likely all the way back in October 2018, and even when the Wall Street Journal made the case a year later.

Today, as more and more Permian oil companies go bankrupt and wells in the nation’s most prolific oil patch turn out less and less, one early warning nows seems especially prescient. In 2018, Paal Kibsgaard, the CEO of Schlumberger — one of the largest oil services providers — cautioned about declining well productivity in the Permian Basin, pointing to increasing “child wells” and to the boom-gone-bust Texas oilfield, the Eagle Ford Shale. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Oil Industry’s Radioactive Secret

The Oil Industry’s Radioactive Secret

shale operation

“All oil-field workers are radiation workers.”

That quote comes from a blockbuster investigation by Justin Nobel writing in Rolling Stone, who has spent more than a year and a half researching and reporting on radioactivity in fracking waste.

When a well is drilled, it produces a ton of brine, a salty substance that comes out of the ground. Shale wells can produce as much as ten times more brine than they do oil and gas. While hydrocarbons prove to be useful, the brine needs to be hauled somewhere for disposal. Often it is reinjected into disposal wells, or, in some cases it is sent to water treatment plants.

The problem is that the brine can be radioactive. As Nobel writes in Rolling Stone, radioactive brine may be dramatically increasing the cancer risk for people who come in contact with it. The workers who handle the waste are most obviously at risk. But there are plenty of others. The brine is used for de-icing roads, so municipalities are essentially spreading radioactivity all over roads in various parts of the country.

Old oilfield equipment is also repurposed. Rolling Stone spoke with a Louisiana inspector who saw a child sitting on a fence that was so radioactive that someone might receive a full year’s radiation dose in a single hour. Related: Hydrogen Costs Could Be Set To Plunge By 50%

The oil and gas industry dismisses the risk of radioactivity in the brine, which is naturally occurring, as not something that anybody should be worrying about. However, some of the experts that Nobel interviewed argue otherwise. First of all, the notion that just because something exists naturally in the world somehow makes it benign, is odd. “Arsenic is completely natural, but you probably wouldn’t let me put arsenic in your school lunch,” one nuclear-forensics scientist told Rolling Stone.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Argentina Wants a Fracking Boom. The US Offers a Cautionary Tale

Argentina Wants a Fracking Boom. The US Offers a Cautionary Tale 

YPF shale

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez takes office in the midst of an economic crisis. Like his predecessor, he has made fracking a centerpiece of the country’s economic revival.

Argentina has some of the largest natural gas and oil reserves in the world and “possibly the most prospective outside of North America,” according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. If some other country is going to successfully replicate the U.S. shale revolution, most experts put Argentina pretty high on that list. While the U.S. shale industry is showing its age, Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale is in its early stages, with only 4 percent of the acreage developed thus far.

The country feels a sense of urgency. Declining conventional production from older oil and gas fields has meant that Argentina has become a net importer of fuels over the past decade. Meanwhile, Argentina’s economy has deteriorated badly due to a toxic cocktail of debt, austerity, inflation, and an unstable currency.

For these reasons — a growing energy deficit, a worsening economic situation, and large oil and gas reserves trapped underground — there is enormous political support for kick-starting an American-style fracking boom in Argentina.

It has taken on a level of political significance that outstrips its immediate economic potential. In Argentina, Vaca Muerta is treated as the country’s chance at salvation, with fracking seen as doing everything at once — creating jobs, reducing the debt burden, plugging the energy deficit and turning Argentina into a major player on the global oil and gas stage.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Immediate moratorium on fracking in England because of tremor risk

Immediate moratorium on fracking in England because of tremor risk

pnr 190805 Ros Wills 2

Gooseneck at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site, 5 August 2019. Photo: Ros Wills

After seven years of promoting fracking, Conservative ministers have withdrawn their support and blocked the prospects of a shale gas industry.

The UK government has issued an immediate moratorium in England because of the risk of earth tremors. Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have already issued measures that amount to moratoriums on fracking.

In a statement released just after midnight, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), said new scientific advice concluded that it was not possible with current technology to predict accurately whether fracking would cause tremors and how big they would be.

Opponents of fracking described the announcement as a victory for communities and the climate but called for a full, permanent ban. IGas, the only industry representative to respond to our invitation to comment, said it was confident it could operate safely and environmentally responsibly. The industry organisation, UKOOG, later said fracking was a long-standing technology and the UK had a world-class shale resource.  Full reaction

Ministers said they had based their decision on a report by the industry regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA). It had been investigating earth tremors caused by fracking at the UK’s only shale gas site, at Preston New Road, near Blackpool, operated by Cuadrilla.

The report looked at the impacts of fracking the PNR1z well in autumn 2018, which caused more than 50 tremors. The OGA is also examining 134 seismic events caused by fracking the second well, PNR2, in August 2019. They included the UK’s largest fracking-induced tremor, measuring 2.9ML. The British Geological Survey said this tremor was felt by several thousand people, while several hundred reported damage to homes. The OGA suspended fracking within hours.

pnr 190826 uwtoc-2
Campaigners outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road near Blackpool, 26 August 2019. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

UK Gov’t Halts Fracking In England Ahead Of General Election

UK Gov’t Halts Fracking In England Ahead Of General Election

The U.K. fracking industry has grounded to halt as the British government ended its support for the controversial practice of extracting oil out of the ground, reported Bloomberg.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government announced Saturday that all new hydraulic fracturing wells would be banned. The country’s only active site in northwestern England would be immediately shut down.

The move to ban fracking across the country, which involves injecting water and sand into oil wells at high pressure, was followed by the Oil and Gas Authority publishing a new study that concluded there are severe hazards for people living around fracking sites. Some of the pollution risks were toxic water and earthquake-related damage.

Johnson’s administration banned fracking just weeks ahead of a general election. His party is attempting to win over voters in rural areas in northern England, where much of the fracking sites reside.

The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, cheered on Twitter about the fracking prohibition, though he said it was only a “temporary pause” and “an election stunt to try and win a few votes.”


The Conservatives’ 𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗽𝗼𝗿𝗮𝗿𝘆 pause of fracking is an election stunt to try and win a few votes.

Boris Johnson described fracking as ‘glorious news for humanity’. We cannot trust him.

Labour would ban fracking. That’s real change.


Britain’s business and energy secretary, Andrea Leadsom, said after reviewing the Oil and Gas Authority’s report into fracking-related risks, “we can not rule out future unacceptable impacts” that fracking has on communities.

Seismic activity around a fracking site near Blackpool, a seaside town on the Irish Sea coast of England, operated by shale gas group Cuadrilla Resources, was suspended in August after earthquakes spooked residents.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Report: ‘No Evidence That Fracking Can Operate Without Threatening Public Health’

Report: ‘No Evidence That Fracking Can Operate Without Threatening Public Health’

More than 1,500 scientific studies on the health and climate impacts of fracking prove its dangerous effect on communities, wildlife and nature.

In 2010 when I first started writing about hydraulic fracturing — the process of blasting a cocktail of water and chemicals into shale to release trapped hydrocarbons — there were more questions than answers about environmental and public-health threats. That same year Josh Fox’s documentary Gasland, which featured tap water bursting into flames, grabbed the public’s attention. Suddenly the term fracking — little known outside the oil and gas industry — became common parlance.

In the following years I visited with people in frontline communities — those living in the gas patches and oilfields, along pipeline paths and beside compressor stations. Many were already woozy from the fumes or worried their drinking water was making them sick. When people asked me if they should leave their homes, it was hard to know what to say; there weren’t many peer-reviewed studies to understand how fracking was affecting public health.

Those days are over.

In June the nonprofits Physicians for Social Responsibility and Concerned Health Professionals of New York released the sixth edition of a compendiumthat summarizes more than 1,700 scientific reports, peer-reviewed studies and investigative journalism reports about the threats to the climate and public health from fracking.

The research has been piling up for years, and the verdict is clear, the authors conclude: Fracking isn’t safe, and heaps of regulations won’t help (not that they’re coming, anyway).

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Alberta Imposes New Fracking Restrictions Near Dam after Quakes

Alberta Imposes New Fracking Restrictions Near Dam after Quakes

Restrictions come as industry-related tremors have rattled nerves and raised concerns.

Fracking well head
Alberta’s Energy Regulator has issued an order restricting fracking activity near a dam located southwest of the densely drilled Drayton Valley following a magnitude 4.3 earthquake in the region last March. Fracking photo by Joshua Doubek, Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 3.0.

The regulator’s new regulations follow a wave of tremors set off by Canada’s oil and gas industry, as well as the release of major scientific papers documenting how fracking and other forms of fluid injection have caused devastating earthquakes.

Such industry-triggered events, some as great as magnitude 5.7, have destroyed homes, caused landslides, and left taxpayers with millions of dollars of damage in Oklahoma, Korea and in China, where citizens have been killed.

Last week, the industry-funded regulator issued an order restricting fracking activity near TransAlta’s Brazeau Dam located 55 kilometres southwest of the densely drilled Drayton Valley following a magnitude 4.3 earthquake in the region last March. 

The exact cause of that earthquake is not known, but the oil and gas industry has previously rocked the region with tremors caused by wastewater injection or by gas extraction, which causes rock to fracture and collapse.The Tyee is supported by readers like you Join us and grow independent media in Canada

The regulator officially banned fracking within five kilometres of the dam site in the deep Duvernay formation, and within three kilometres of the dam site in the shallower formations above the Duvernay.

It also imposed requirements that any fracking operator in the three-to-five-kilometre zone that causes a magnitude 1.0 earthquake must now report the event to the regulator and cease operations totally if it triggers quakes greater than magnitude 2.5.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Beginning Of The End For British Shale Gas

The Beginning Of The End For British Shale Gas

Surrey shale

Amid the ruckus of Great Britain’s reckless Brexit saga, one might not have noticed the ongoing environmental battle that could put a sudden end to shale gas development in the UK. While Britain’s energy security does not have any direct links to Brexit – its hydrocarbon production went into decline in 2000 and has been falling ever since, although the mid-2010s evidenced a stabilization of output – the UK High Court decision over the nation’s shale gas projects might deal a painful blow to the little hope British producers had to kick-start something new. All 9 basins of the Greater North Sea are mature and it is only until 2025-2027 that the current output rebound can last, after that Britain’s oil output will plunge Venezuela-style unless additional measures are taken.

There is no scientific consensus on how much shale gas can be recovered across the United Kingdom. We might use the British Geological Survey’s 2013 report as a point of reference, which states that across central Britain (Bowland-Hodder shales) the aggregate shale gas reserves are somewhere within the 164-264-447 TCf interval (P90-P50-P10). Even if it were true, due to the rather difficult lithography of central Britain the actual recoverable volume would be substantially smaller. The USGS has put the total recoverable gas resources in the Midlands area of England at 8.3 TCf. The Weald Basin in southern Britain and Northern Ireland also has shale gas resources, but they are in a less advanced stage of development than shale finds in Lancashire or Nottinghamshire.

Partially motivated by the emotional drain of Brexit and the necessity to present itself as an employment creating party, the Conservative Party (seemingly) made great headway last year in advancing the cause of developing UK shale gas resources and creating the regulative norms required for it.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

EPA Decides Not to Regulate Fracking Wastewater as Pennsylvania Study Reveals Recent Spike

EPA Decides Not to Regulate Fracking Wastewater as Pennsylvania Study Reveals Recent Spike

Liquid drilling wastewater pond

On April 23, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told two environmental groups that it had decided it was “not necessary” to update the federal standards handling toxic waste from oil and gas wells, including the waste produced by fracking.

State regulators have repeatedly proved unable to prevent the industry’s toxic waste from entering America’s drinking water supplies, including both private wells and the rivers from which public drinking water supplies are drawn, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded in a 2017 national study.

The corrosive salt-laden wastewater from fracked wells has been spread on roads as a de-icer. It’s been sprayed into the air in the hopes of evaporating the water — a practice that spreads its blend of volatile chemicals into the air instead. Oil industry wastewater has even been used to irrigate crops — in California, where state regulators haven’t set rules to keep dangerous chemicals like the carcinogen benzene out of irrigation water.

If equally contaminated waste came from other industries, it would usually be designated hazardous waste and subject to strict tracking and disposal rules designed to keep the public safe from industrial pollution. But in July 1988, after burying clear warnings from its own scientists about the hazards of oilfield waste, the EPA offered the oil and gas industry a broad exemption from hazardous waste handling laws.

The EPA’s decision this week echoes that.

Embedded video

Watch EPA’s new featured #EarthWeek2019 video focused on this year’s theme – clean water. Today, over 92% of community water systems in the U.S. meet all health based standards, all of the time.

“Rather than acting in the best interest of the public, EPA has continually shirked its duties and left our communities’ health, drinking water, and environment at risk,” said Adam Kron, senior attorney at the Environmental Integrity Project…

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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