Quashing frack-fights with fools

From the American Chemical Society

How to avoid water wars between ‘fracking’ industry and residents

The shale gas boom has transformed the energy landscape in the U.S., but in some drier locations, it could cause conflict among the energy industry, residents and agricultural interests over already-scarce water resources, say researchers. They add that degraded water quality is a potential risk unless there are adequate safeguards. The feature article appears in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Meagan S. Mauter and colleagues point out that a major criticism of extracting shale gas through hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is that it requires tremendous amounts of water — 2.5 to 5 million gallons — to develop a single well. Water, along with chemicals and sand, is injected under high pressure into wells to create cracks, or fractures, in shale and release stored gas. In some water-rich places, such as Pennsylvania, this is not a significant problem. But in other locations, including some rural counties in arid south Texas, this level of water use competes with residential and agricultural needs and depletes groundwater resources. These and other types of region-specific scenarios are similar to what other states and countries could encounter when or if they also develop shale gas reserves. Mauter’s team looked at what practices could help maintain a balance between fracking and environmental and residential needs.

The researchers say that there are ways to minimize the industry’s water footprint. One method is to use brackish water that is not fit for drinking or agricultural use but can be suitable for fracking. The other method is to recycle the waste water. “Leadership from both industry and the U.S. government may be needed to assure that economic benefits of shale gas development are realized without significant regional impairment of water resource quantity and quality,” the authors conclude.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.

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53 Responses to Quashing frack-fights with fools

  1. hunter says:

    The headline does not seem to match the article. Water use management is extremely important for the future of fracking. This article does not seem to be foolish.

  2. Alan the Brit says:

    Funny, I thought most of the water & chemicals were recovered anyway, according to some pro-fracking websites! Have I got this wrong?

  3. Chris4692 says:

    I work with water and waste water, so perhaps my perspective is skewed, but 5,000,000 gallons per well does not seem to be a “tremendous” amount of water, or an amount that is unmanageable.

  4. erfiebob says:

    When I went on a tour of Halliburton facility, they were very proud of the fact that they recycle as much of their frack water as possible. I think the petroleum industry may be ahead of the American Chemical Society on this one.

  5. wws says:

    In water-poor counties, such as where much of the Eagle Ford Shale is being drilled, it is a lot of water, relatively speaking. And it would be a great shame to deplete fresh water reservoirs which take a significant number of years to recharge.

    However, there are typically deeper water zones available in these areas which have salinity levels that make them non-potable. The frack companies prefer not to use them because it’s easier to calibrate the mixture when you start with pure fresh water, but it can be done.

    In essence, this is an engineering and cost problem, but not a supply problem. It can be dealt with while still protecting relatively scarce fresh water resources.

  6. SadButMadLad says:

    5m gallons of water in a dry county might seem a lot, but when taken in context of agricultural and residantal use it isn’t a lot. Even in the dry counties its agriculture that strains the use of water, not fracking. There are more farms and they use way more water than the wells.

  7. An interesting article on solar energy vs fracking gas electrical generation cross over points.
    April 6, 2013, based upon a Chase
    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/04/04/Fracking-Could-Be-the-Key-to-a-Renewable-Energy-Future

    This has a couple of graphs that are worth keeping on hand.
    Solar energy cost (by region of the country) vs time (out to 2020) and competition with natural gas prices.

    Also some illustration of the issues of electrical demand and sources over the course of a day under three scenarios.

    So if all of these estimates are correct, solar production in the southwest could become competitive with $7/MMBtu gas around 2018, five years from now. If we use the Citi estimate that long term natural gas prices will be closer to $5/MMBtu, then it would be closer to 2021 (just off the chart) before solar can compete. And again, all of this is only for the dark red areas in the insolation map above. Other areas of the country will have to wait much longer—perhaps 15-17 years—for regional solar power production to be competitive with natural gas.
    ….
    Since, at large penetration levels, the requirement for ‘peaking power’ rises as renewable penetration increases, gas-fired power is not only compatible with renewables, it is in many ways essential for its large-scale adoption. This makes the relationship between renewables and gas-fired power symbiotic; they each assist the other to gain a larger slice of the electricity market.

    Cheap solar power is a wonderful idea, but we’re not quite there yet. And even once we are in 5-15 years, we still won’t have a global power grid or a method of storing unused power for non-peak hours. The logical step at this point in time is to embrace natural gas produced by fracking as the medium to long-term companion to renewable energy, helping to bring us closer to U.S. energy independence.

  8. Geologist Down The Pub Sez says:

    Solar power using polycrystalline silicon PV sounds wonderful for CO2 emissions, until you take into account the CO2 emitted in the production of the original silicon, and the service life of the PV cells. Then the balance becomes very unfavorable. If you want to reduce CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, silicon cells are not the way to go.

  9. Speed says:

    Texas is a little ahead of the American Chemical Society …

    RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS
    NEWS RELEASE – MARCH 26, 2013

    Railroad Commission Today Adopts New Recycling Rules to Help Enhance Water Conservation By Oil & Gas Operators

    AUSTIN– The Railroad Commission today adopted new rules to encourage Texas operators to continue their efforts at conserving water used in the hydraulic fracturing process for oil and gas wells, even though hydraulic fracturing and total mining use accounts for less than 1 percent of statewide water use, with irrigation, municipalities and manufacturing making up state’s top three water consumers.

    Major changes adopted to the Commission’s water recycling rules include eliminating the need for a Commission recycling permit if operators are recycling fluid on their own leases or transferring their fluids to another operator’s lease for recycling. The changes adopted by the Commission today also clearly identify recycling permit application requirements and reflect existing standard field conditions for recycling permits.

    Chairman Barry Smitherman said, “By removing regulatory hurdles, these new amendments will help foster the recycling efforts by oil and gas operators who continue to examine ways to reduce freshwater use when hydraulically fracturing well.”

    Commissioner David Porter said, “Water use has been a major concern examined by my Eagle Ford Shale Task Force, and I commend our staff for working to streamline our rules to encourage more recycling.”

    Commissioner Christi Craddick said, “Just as our operators have used technology to bring us into this modern day boom of oil production, they are also using technology to reduce their fresh water use. The changes adopted today will assist in those efforts.”

    The rule amendment also establishes five categories of commercial recycling permits to reflect industry practices in the field:
    •On-lease Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling
    •Off-lease or Centralized Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling
    •Stationary Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling
    •Off-lease Commercial Recycling of Fluid; and
    •Stationary Commercial Recycling of Fluid

    The changes to the rule also establish a tiered approach for the reuse of treated fluid, including both authorized reuse of treated fluids in oil and gas operations and provisions for reusing the fluid for other non-oilfield related uses.

    http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/pressreleases/2013/032613.php

  10. Neil Jordan says:

    How much is five million gallons? It is in the eye of the beholder. That is about 15 acre-feet, a rounding error for some flood control projects. At $10 per acre-foot for raw water, that is pocket change (http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1419&context=jcwre)
    At $582 per acre foot, that is less than $9,000 (http://www.mwdh2o.com/mwdh2o/pages/news/press_releases/2014-04/Budget_Rates_Adopted.pdf)
    Five million gallons is also about 6,700 ccf (hundred cubic feet) and according to my water billing rate, that is about $6,100 for more than ten years worth of water. From an activist point of view, 5 million gallons is 19 million liters or more than 133 million Canadian gills. Conversion to miner’s inches or Zanja-hours is left to the student.

  11. PRD says:

    Another contextual comparison can be the domed potable water storage tanks used by municipalities. They are known as “ground storage tanks”. Many of them are between 3 and 5 million gallons. Elevated tanks are about a half million.

    The City of Dallas, Texas has the capacity to treat, for potable use, around 600,000,000 gallons per day across about a dozen facilities. I, once upon a time, worked at a treatment facility that was rated at 50,000,000 gpd. Relatively speaking, it was a “large” facility compared to the myriad little municipal facilities that treat less than 100,000 gpd.

    50,000,000/1440 = 34,722 gallons per minute
    5,000,000/1440 = 3,472 gallons per minute used to frac a well if it takes 24 hours to do it. That’s a hell of a lot of reverse osmosis membranes, and thousands of horsepower to develop the pressure to treat the wastewater. Even the BW (brackish water) and SW membranes designed for that sort of treatment have a very short lifespan in that environment.

    A one inch rain falling on an acre will yield 43,560 gallons.

  12. tadchem says:

    For perspective, 5,000,000 gallons is about 25,000 cubic yards.
    Imagine a pool the size of one football field and 15 feet deep.
    Imagine the runoff from a square mile of urban jungle (rooftops, sidewalks, streets) of 7.3 mm (0.28 inch) of rain.

  13. Taphonomic says:

    “2.5 to 5 million gallons — to develop a single well”

    Okay, compare that to water usage at the recently opened Ivanpah Solar Plant. Estimates are 100 acre-feet/year to keep the heliostats clean. An acre-foot of water is ~326,000 gallons. So every year 32,600,000 gallons are needed to be pumped from wells in this desert environment. It will be interesting to see how accurate these estimates are. Who knows, it may take more water to clean off the birds that crash into the mirrors after being scorched by flight through the concentrated solar flux.

  14. Billyjack says:

    Actually PRD there are around 27,000 gallons in 1 acre-inch.

  15. Lyle says:

    So, in a few years when ocean levels start to recede and the question is asked:
    Where did the water go?
    The answer:
    We Fracked it!

  16. brantc says:

    And why do we need fracking??? Its not just one well its the hundreds of wells drawing from the aquifer… The idea that the oil companies leave everything nice and shiny is not supported by their actions…

    https://www.youtube.com/user/ColdFusionNow/videos

  17. brantc: “And why do we need fracking???”

    To get at the oil and natural gas.

  18. inMAGICn says:

    Neil Jordan,

    Can we get furlongs per fortnight in there somewhere?

  19. wsbriggs says:

    brantc says:
    April 24, 2014 at 10:29 am

    If you really want to impress people with the progress made in Low Energy Nuclear Reactions, you should point them to the paper on the reactor from Japan which has run in excess of 880 hours, generating ~108 MJ of energy. Pointers to pages of YouTube videos aren’t helpful.

    http://lenr-canr.org/index/DownloadOnly/DownloadOnly.php

    2014-3-27 Yoshino, H., E. Igari, and T. Mizuno, Replicable Model for Controlled Nuclear Reaction using Metal Nanoparticles (PowerPoint slides), in The 2014 Cold Fusion [LANR] Colloquium at MIT. 2014: MIT.

  20. CRS, DrPH says:

    Don’t worry, it is in the economic interest of oil & gas developers to minimize costs and conserve resources. I’ve worked in this field for 25+ years.

    At the Pinedale Anticline in WY, we treated produced waters to a very high degree in merchant wastewater treatment plants. There are recoverable hydrocarbons in them thar waters, and we want it.

    Also, new fracking technologies using substances besides water are gaining ground. Propane is being used, and compressed carbon dioxide will be ideal. There is a disconnect between major utility carbon dioxide generators and the shale plays, which tend to be remote. However, rest assured, all technical barriers will be surmounted. I’ve always said that the value of fossil fuel carbon dioxide is vast, and eventually this will be a resource that folks will fight to have access to.

    See this article about waterless fracking: http://www.technologyreview.com/news/512656/skipping-the-water-in-fracking/

  21. kenw says:

    Speed says:
    April 24, 2014 at 9:26 am
    Texas is a little ahead of the American Chemical Society …

    yes, ’cause sometimes we need less regulation….what a concept!

  22. Lyle says:
    April 24, 2014 at 10:28 am
    So, in a few years when ocean levels start to recede and the question is asked:
    Where did the water go?
    The answer:
    We Fracked it!
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Nope. Magma swallowed it. (see previous thread) 😊

  23. philjourdan says:

    Brackish and recycled water will eventually be the solution. And on top of that, they both have the trait of being green.

  24. Latimer Alder says:

    If you drill your well where water is plentiful, this ain’t a problem. But you need to be more careful if it’s in short supply.

    Yep. That’s probably true for any resource anywhere for doing anything at all.

    Why is this news?

  25. Gunga Din says:

    5,000,000 gallons of water would be about 5 typical 1 acre farms ponds. Not a lot really.
    Of course the availability of water is the area has to be a consideration but about 15 tanker trucks of water would fill the bill.

  26. TonG(ologist) says:

    First:it is FRAC, in the same way you watch a movie on a digital video DISC. If you want to talk the talk as if you know something, follow the 65years of literature and use the correct term.

    Second. It is not a foolish topic, but it is beyond yesterday’s news. We DO recycle water, we DO use alternative sources and we did not need any government to tell us to do those things. It just makes perfect sense from an operations standpoint. This person is presenting it as if it is a novel idea which should be considered but it has already been in practice for some time.

    Ho hum….

  27. Gunga Din says:

    Gunga Din says:
    April 24, 2014 at 1:40 pm
    ============================================================
    YIKES!!!!
    Make that a little over 1,000 truck loads.
    (I need a new envelope. The back of this one doesn’t work!)

  28. Udar says:

    I used to have a moderately-sized in-ground pool. It’s capacity was 25000 gallons. 200 of those would be 5 million gallons. Is that a lot? I don’t think so.

  29. Hot under the collar says:

    Why not use CO2 to extract shale gas and at the same time sequester CO2?
    http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0001212238
    May even save a few billion in bungs – sorry I mean in green subsidies.

  30. wbrozek says:

    Where did the water go?
    The answer:
    We Fracked it!

    Does this cause the oceans to stop rising? ☺

  31. Warrick says:

    5 million gallons of water is US average domestic water use per day for just under 20 000 households, a town of about 52 000. That is quite a small town really – and DAILY use without recycling. Perhaps we should focus on personal water use?
    http://www.drinktap.org/home/water-information/conservation/water-use-statistics.aspx

  32. Warrick says:

    Hot under the collar says:
    April 24, 2014 at 2:42 pm
    I understand the supercritical fluid to frac better, but the CO2 will revert to a gas and come out again with the natural gas. How is this going to sequester CO2?

  33. 5 M gallons of water are not extremely much; it is approximately the annual consumption of one hundred citizens. That is at least the numbers my local community provide. A town of 10 000 use as much water annually as developing 100 to 200 wells.

    That put the amount in perspective

    /Jan

  34. ROM says:

    If you live in an area where water is a treasured commodity but there is lots and lots of gas deep down in those shale seams then coming to you in the years ahead in all probability will be fracking with “Super Critical Carbon Dioxide”.
    CO2 at normal atmospheric pressures and temperatures is a gas which through “deposition” turns to a solid without going through a liquid phase at temperatures of below minus 78.5 C
    [ minus 109.3 F ]. Returning to a gas above these temperatures is called “sublimation

    The Super Critical Carbon Dioxide form of CO2 is between a gas and a liquid and is formed when the CO2 gas temperature exceeds 304.25 Kelvin or 31.1 C [ 88F ] and 72.9 Atm’s. ie; 1071.33 PSI.pressure
    [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercritical_carbon_dioxide%5D

    As fracking pressures can reach 9,000 psi and very obviously that 31C temperature figure is easily surpassed in underground situations, Super Critical CO2 is being researched as a fracking fluid in place of water.
    It appears that CO2 is already being used in some fracking wells in some areas.
    [ MIT Technology Review; "Skipping the Water in Fracking" http://www.technologyreview.com/news/512656/skipping-the-water-in-fracking/ ]

    With Super Critical CO2 being used as a fracking liquid there would be a larger percentage recovery of shale gas, [ MIT article ] a very significant reduction or total reduction in water use for fracking. The bulk of the CO2 would be trapped in the shale rock formations and consequently there would not be a significant amounts of the more potent natural chemicals coming to the surface in the low levels if any of any returning fracking water.
    Any leakage of the CO2 from the fracked shale formations into the near surface aquifers would be harmless providing a bit of temporarily fizzy soda water in a well at best.
    And for a bonus might, emphasis on “might” temporarily shut the alarmists up [ a truly remarkable outcome if it EVER occurs ] as their miniscule mentalities do the usual hyperventilating about the amounts of CO2 around even if it was extracted from the atmosphere in the first place.
    And their aim of sequestering [ the minutest amounts of ] CO2 would be finally achieved and at an economical cost.

    . A win / win situation all around, at least until your despotic American EPA over there whose sole aim seems to be to regulate and proscribe the complete minutiae of every aspect of life in America decides to put the usual miniscule limits on the amounts of CO2 allowed in ground water and the amounts of CO2 cows, who have access to the fizzy water, are allowed to belch per hour.
    I do wonder what fizzy cow’s milk really does taste like?
    Better try it before the EPA and the FDA get there!

  35. Paul Nottingham says:

    “Chris4692 says:
    April 24, 2014 at 8:01 am
    I work with water and waste water, so perhaps my perspective is skewed, but 5,000,000 gallons per well does not seem to be a “tremendous” amount of water, or an amount that is unmanageable.”

    Indeed. Take a cube 27 metres on each side, that will have a volume of 19,683 cubic metres. There are slightly more than 264 US gallons to a cubic metre. Multiply 19,683 by 264 and you get 5,196,312 US gallons in that cube. So all the water needed for a well could be contained in a cube with sides of less than 27 metres. It doesn’t sound too bad like that does it?

  36. pat says:

    26 Feb: Reuters: Marice Richter: Exxon Mobil CEO welcomes fracking, but not water tower in his backyard
    It’s not every day that the chief executive of the largest U.S. energy company joins a lawsuit opposing a new water tower planned in his neighborhood that could support fracking.
    Officials at Exxon Mobil Corp said on Wednesday that CEO Rex Tillerson was opposed to the plan not because of fracking but because the tower would be much taller than what the town had originally proposed.
    Tillerson, former Republican heavyweight Dick Armey and other residents of a ranch-filled suburb of Bartonville north of Dallas filed suit in 2012 seeking to block construction of the 160-foot-tall (49-meter-tall) water tower, arguing it would be an eyesore.
    The suit, filed in Denton County District Court, also noted that the tower could encourage the town of Bartonville to sell “water to oil and gas explorers for fracking shale formations leading to traffic with heavy trucks… creating a noise nuisance and traffic hazards.”…
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/26/us-usa-fracking-tillerson-idUSBREA1P24O20140226

    guess it wasn’t such a great look from Tillerson, but Armey stays in:

    21 April: Dallas Business Journal: Nicholas Sakelaris: Rex Tillerson drops out of water tower lawsuit in Bartonville
    The other plaintiffs, led by Dick Armey, a former U.S. Speaker of the House, still are suing the Bartonville Water Supply Corp. because they say the water tower ruins the aesthetics and hurts property their multimillion-dollar homes…
    The 750,000-gallon water tower was about 30 days away from completion when construction was halted by the lawsuit.
    Armey owns a $2 million, $78-acre ranch adjacent to the water tower site. In the suit, Armey explains that he expected low-rise water towers that would be hidden by the trees.
    “The construction of the water tower will create a constant and unbearable nuisance to those that live next to it,” the lawsuit says…
    Also, the site is perfect because it taps an underground aquifer and has access to a 52-inch water supply line from the Upper Trinity Regional Water District.
    http://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/news/2014/04/21/rex-tillerson-dropsout-of-water-tower-lawsuit-in.html

  37. pat says:

    3 April: WSJ: Daniel Gilbert: Exxon Agrees to Disclose Fracking Risks
    Oil-and-Gas Producer to Detail How It Manages Impact on Air, Water, Chemicals Involved
    But Exxon’s forthcoming report won’t include some measures sought by the shareholders, such as data on methane that leaks from its operations into the atmosphere, though it agreed to explore disclosing some metrics in the future.
    Scott Stringer, New York City’s comptroller, called Exxon’s agreement a meaningful step, adding that he will continue to seek the disclosure of hard data…
    But there are signs that opposition is growing against fracking—a technique that uses a stream of water, sand and chemicals to release oil and gas trapped in dense layers of rock. The Pew Research Center found that 49% of Americans surveyed opposed fracking in September 2013, up from 38% last March…
    Exxon has faced a shareholder vote on the fracking resolution every year since 2010, when it acquired shale-gas producer XTO Energy Inc. for $25 billion and became America’s largest gas producer. The proposal was supported by about 30% of votes cast in each of the last four years…
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303847804579479640318263438

    22 April: Albany Times-Union: Brian Nearing: Former Mobil Oil exec urges brakes on gas fracking
    As a retired high-ranking oil company executive, one might expect Louis Allstadt to sing the praises of opening up New York to natural gas hydraulic fracturing.
    But Allstadt, who worked 31 years for Mobil Oil, stood among elected officials from several upstate communities Tuesday to urge the state not to allow hydrofracking, and instead encourage development of more renewable energy.
    “Making fracking safe is simply not possible, not with the current technology, or with the inadequate regulations being proposed,” said Allstadt, retired executive vice president of Mobil…
    Allstadt became Mobil’s head of exploration and production in North America in 1996 and was promoted to lead oil and natural gas drilling in the Western Hemisphere in 1998, about two years before the company merged with Exxon…
    Allstadt said he began studying fracking a few years ago after friends asked him if he thought it would be safe to have gas wells drilled near the lake.
    “Now the industry will tell you that fracking has been around a long time. While that is true, the magnitude of the modern technique is very new,” Allstadt said.
    A fracked well can require between 50 and 100 times the water and chemicals compared to older wells, he said.
    “And this requires thousands of trucks coming and going. It is much more a heavy industrial activity,” Allstadt said. And frack wells’ leakage of methane, a potent greenhouse gas linked to ongoing man-made climate change, is another issue that troubles him.
    “Methane is leaking from wells at far greater rates than were previously estimated,” said Allstadt, who also is a Cooperstown village trustee…
    http://www.timesunion.com/business/article/Former-Mobil-Oil-exec-urges-brakes-on-gas-fracking-5422292.php

  38. Paul Nottingham says:

    Or putting it another way 5,000,000 US gallons is less than 8 olympic swimming pools filled to the depth of 2 metres.

  39. pat says:

    an ode to coal, minus the propaganda:

    25 April: Bloomberg: Ladka Bauerova: Poland Pushes Coal on Europe as Putin (HEADLINE PROPAGANDA OMITTED)
    Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk says the country’s giant coal fields should become a cornerstone in Europe…(PROPAGANDA OMITTED)
    Because the fossil fuel supplies 90 percent of Poland’s power it has less need of Russian natural gas than other Eastern European nations, burning half as much per capita as the neighboring Czech Republic, for example. As politicians wrestle with how to respond to the crisis in Ukraine, Tusk argues Europe needs to “rehabilitate” coal’s dirty image and use it to break Russia’s grip on energy supply…
    Coal, a cheaper source of power than gas, nuclear, wind or solar at today’s prices, is already a key part of Poland’s economy, keeping factories competitive and guaranteeing hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs. It’s even a tourist attraction.
    At Belchatow in central Poland, where Europe’s largest mine produces more than twice as much coal as the whole of the U.K., visitors stand on an observation platform looking into a 310 meter-deep pit that supplies the giant power station visible on the horizon. On a recent April afternoon, the entire junior Polish national soccer team arrived for a look…
    Poland burns over 50 million tons of coal a year, more than any European nation other than Germany, while having the lowest reliance on natural gas among the EU’s 10 largest economies, according to International Energy Agency data…
    (SHOCK, HORROR!) President Vladimir Putin said last week that unless Ukraine pays for gas it’s already bought, Russia may have to stop shipments, threatening supplies across Europe. OAO Gazprom, Russia’s gas export monopoly, said today Ukraine owes an additional $11.4 billion for shipments already received…
    “We want the whole of Europe to acknowledge coal as a legitimate energy source,” Prime Minister Tusk said on TV on March 29…
    In boosting coal, Poland has the backing of other post-Communist EU members such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which also have large deposits and a high concentration of heavy industry that depends on the fuel…
    “Poland’s industry relies on lower energy costs to remain competitive,” said Pawel Swieboda, president of the Warsaw-based Center for European Strategy. “It’s our main strength.”
    Polish industry paid 23 percent less for power than competitors in Germany in 2012 and 21 percent less than in theCzech Republic, according to data compiled by the U.K. government…
    Government support for coal in eastern Europe has prevented the EU from coming up with a unified strategy to meet its climate goals. The 28-nation bloc failed to reach a consensus on climate and energy strategy for 2030 in March and postponed the decision on emissions targets until the end of the year.
    Even Germany, which is driving the continent’s switch to clean energy, has found it hard to give up on coal. Utilities like RWE are turning back to the fuel as the most economical commodity for power production. The combination of record-low electricity prices, generation overcapacity and low prices of carbon credits have made coal more profitable than gas.
    In Poland, the coal industry is a sensitive topic for the government because it provides jobs for over 100,000 people…
    Poland has made an effort to diversify its energy industry: the country’s wind-power capacity almost doubled in the last two years. But the government is preparing a new law on renewables that will cut subsidies for new projects in order to protect the economy and taxpayers, Prime Minister Tusk said.
    To limit carbon-dioxide emissions, Polish government plans instead to build at least 1,000 megawatts of nuclear capacity in the next 10 years and have as much as 6,000 megawatts by 2035, it said in January. That, again, is pitting it against Germany, which decided to shutter all 17 of its nuclear power stations by 2022.
    The trouble is nuclear construction presents a huge expense the government can hardly afford, especially as the power prices hover near record low. Coal therefore remains the country’s most affordable source of energy that also provides relative independence from Russia.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-23/poland-pushes-coal-on-europe-as-putin-wields-gas-weapon.html

  40. bushbunny says:

    In Australia there are problems. Our water tables are not renewable, they come from ancient water sources. Any contamination caused by chemicals used in fracking is believed to bring methane gas up to the surface. My opinion is ‘if in doubt don’t frack’

  41. Chad Wozniak says:

    @PRD –
    I think your calculation of water from an inch of rain on an acre is incorrect: there are indeed 43,560 square feet in an acre, but a square foot is 144 square inches, or 144 cubic inches from an inch of rain, and a gallon is 231 cubic inches.

  42. Ed Mertin says:

    Yes, they reuse the water in the Fayetteville Shale. But be careful, it can explode.

    http://www.arkansasmatters.com/story/man-dies-in-johnson-county-explosion/d/story/v5ekPDV_FkSYSHOzUuwL8w

  43. bushbunny says:

    O/T a bit, but I suspect you all knew, one of the best organic fertilizers is the water used to wash coal. It is pure carbon. And is used in organic fertilizers. Expensive too.

  44. bushbunny says:

    Look it has been years since I sat my Diploma in Organic Agriculture, but I think it is called fulmic or humic acid. Sorry but it is very good, so if you have any coal around, stick it in a container and soak it, then water it down and use on the garden.

  45. Tom Billings says:

    If, in the end, hydraulic fracking is not wanted, then go here:

    http://www.gasfrac.com/

    Pressurized gelled propane can carry the chemicals and the “propants” quite as well or better than water. It has the advantage that it can give a 50% higher natural gas flow rate than hydraulic fracking, though capital costs are about 30% higher. The propane is recovered by reducing the pressure after fracturing is done. The gas boils out of the gell, and flows back up the pipe to be recovered just like regular propane recovery is done, leaving the propants and chemicals 3 miles down.

  46. Ed Mertin says:

    Tom Billings has made a very interesting comment about pressurized gelled propane.

    Fracking with propane gel

    http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2011/November/15111102.asp

    … So far, tests of the LPG, made up of 90 per cent propane and a diester phosphoric acid gelling agent to give it sufficient viscosity to carry chemicals and sands, show that it is both safer and far more efficient than water. Instead of bringing the fracking chemicals to the surface it leaves them behind.

    ‘This is a game changer for the industry,’ says Don LeBlanc, principal consultant at Eastex Petroleum Consultants in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who has been involved in shale gas trials with gelled propane in New Brunswick, Canada.

    ‘The main advantage of the gelled propane is that once the gel is broken the propane flashes and mixes with the gas,’ he explains. ‘Since the propane becomes part of the reservoir flow, the generated fracture is completely cleaned up, whereas in a water-based fracture stimulation, some of the water remains trapped in the fracture. In addition a water-based fracture has an efficiency of around 20 per cent, while propane has 100 per cent efficiency. ‘

    Nonetheless, despite being used around 1000 times in Canada and the US since first being tested three years ago, little data on the application of the technology has been made publicly available. In such a highly competitive industry, producers do not want to disclose its potential benefits. 

    One perceived drawback of fracking by propane-based LPG is that initially it can cost 20-40 per cent more than water fracking. ‘In reality the costs are comparable when the life cost of the well is considered,’ says Mr LeBlanc. ‘Fracturing with water also yields an ongoing cost for water handling and water disposal. ‘

  47. Charlie says:

    Treating water to make it suitable for fracking is cheap and easy. What is expensive is making water potable. Why not abstract brines from the ground and use for fracking? Major problem for fracking water is iron, bacteria, clay and silt.

  48. Edohiguma says:

    Cheap solar power hangs itself with the simple fact that it is solely depending on the weather, which we can’t control. Putting the production of electricity into a non-linear, chaotic system like the weather can only be described as insanity.

    Even with cheap solar power (haha, yeah right, a lot of raw materials come from China anyway, where they’re mined in really brutal ways) fracking would have to continue because one needs backup systems for the day the weather says “Go F yourself”.

  49. Hot under the collar says:

    Warrick says:
    April 24, 2014 at 3:12 pm
    “I understand the supercritical fluid to frac better, but the CO2 will revert to a gas and come out again with the natural gas. How is this going to sequester CO2?”

    Yes, good point, I suppose it depends what percentage of the CO2 is retained in the ground or if some of the CO2 is displacing the natural gas and retained.

    I understand they are undertaking trials in October. Either way if you are not producing any more CO2 in the process and you are using less water, it may be a more efficient process.

  50. Clive says:

    Since agriculture uses so much water, let’s just ban farming altogether in North America … no wait. ☺

    (Just kidding, but I swear this is on the minds of some eco weenies. After all, they can get their food from Whole Foods, so who needs farmin’?)

  51. Gunga Din says:

    For those of you having some fun putting 5,000,000 gallons of water into perspective, some constants that might save you some time.
    1 gallon of water = 8.34 pounds
    1 cubic foot of water = 7.48 gallons
    1 gallon of water = 4.785 liters
    1 tank truck holds about 40,000 to 46,000 pounds.
    I used 40,000 in my original flub but then multiplied instead of divided by 8.34.
    (I know I’m not perfect but I do get tired of proving it so often.8-)

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