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« A feature, not a bug | Main | Oodles of noodles »
Wednesday
Aug212013

A Fracking Time - Josh 235

There is so much to cartoon about Fracking at the moment that it is hard to keep up. I chose how long it takes to Frack a well, and I think water has to be next. And many thanks to James Verdon for all the information and checking. I am learning a lot!

Cartoons by Josh

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Reader Comments (85)

Yes, thanks to thinkingscientist (or the like) I also discovered Vernon recently, with a presentation he gave at Glastonbury no less. There could surely not be a more suitable venue. The word is getting out.

Aug 21, 2013 at 5:10 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Josh, I also liked your cartoon on Richard Betts twit account. Very apt.

Aug 21, 2013 at 5:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Maybe you should include geothermal.

(reposted from a previous thread)

Will the protesters be making their way down to the Eden Project?

They have planning permission for drilling two 4.5km deep wells and then fracking.

From the Planning Support Document

2.2 Phase 1 will principally involve drilling two wells to a depth of approximately 4.5km. Both wells will be cased to a depth of approximately 4km, leaving approximately 500 to 800m of openhole at the base. Each well will commence vertical and at a suitable depth will start to be deviated until achieving a maximum inclination of 30° at a depth of 4km. Drilling these deep wells will be carried out by a large land-based drilling rig (circa 1500 – 2000 HP model) using conventional oilfield-based technology. The practicalities of drilling these deep wells means that the drilling and associated operations have to be undertaken 24 hours per day, 7 days per week (see figure 1).

2.3 The first activity will be to prepare the site at Eden for the drilling operations (see section 3 for further details). The first well will be drilled and completed to total depth. The creation of the underground reservoir will involve injecting a large volume of water (up to 30,000 m3) at relatively high flow rates (up to 100 l/s) into the openhole section of the well to open natural fractures within the granite...

Since the fracking is for a geothermal project I doubt we will see anybody there.

Aug 21, 2013 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

I hate to bring this up but most shale wells are down to stripper status in five to seven years and produce more than half of the total oil or gas in less than 3 years. It is not the fracking or drilling process that creates the problem but the economics. Other than a few wells in the core areas shale wells are not economic.

Aug 21, 2013 at 6:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterVangel

Probably a bit too far off-topic, but just had a screaming session at the TV, with the local BBC telling us that flood risks are now all the fault of climate change. Nothing to do with building on flood-plains; nothing to do with poor planning upstream and downstream (think York in the 60s & 70s); nothing to do with radical changes in land-use; nope – it’s all the fault of climate change. They even managed to lever in the usual tropes about “denialists”. Why do we bother?

Aug 21, 2013 at 6:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

I'd rather like image that as a tee shirt. Actually, I wouldn't mind it as a tattoo.

Aug 21, 2013 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

Re: Vangel

A Marcellus gas shale well drops to 20% of its initial production in the first five years and then will run at this rate for another 20 to 30 years.

A Critical Evaluation of Unconventional Gas Recovery From the Marcellus Shale, Northeastern United States

Of course, if it turns out to be uneconomical then it will be private investment that is lost and not public money.

Aug 21, 2013 at 7:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Vangel: "I hate to bring this up but most shale wells are down to stripper status in five to seven years and produce more than half of the total oil or gas in less than 3 years."

That means lots of jobs. The drilling rigs will be kept busy. I think they plant to keep the Barnett producing at 4.5 to 5 bcf a day using 30 rigs.

15 - 17 million dollars a day worth of gas. 6 billion a year.

Aug 21, 2013 at 7:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

Brilliant cartoon.

Aug 21, 2013 at 7:41 PM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

How will the effects of fracking be worse that the coal mining subsidence resulting from removing millions of tons of shale and coal from under Lancashire, Yorkshire, Nottingham, the north east, south Wales and elsewhere.
The tremors from mining collapses rattled a few cups at times but never killed anyone. Not above ground anyway.

Aug 21, 2013 at 8:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Foxake

Arthur

Careful. Aberfan 1966.

Aug 21, 2013 at 8:24 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Arthur Foxake (Aug 21, 2013 at 8:17 PM):

That was the purpose of my "manual fracking" comments over the past few posts, and the letter to Caroline Lucas.

*sigh*

Is my genius to be wasted? (This might be more humorous if I could add one of those smiley things... Picture it yourself, then giggle.)

Aug 21, 2013 at 8:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

I really like James Vernon's observation in the link that Greenpeace has a larger turnover than Cuadrilla. Puts an interesting perspective on the "big oil" meme.

Aug 21, 2013 at 8:53 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

Hey Josh and Bish: Please don't try to convince potential friends and allies that fracking isn't a large-scale industrial operation. If you've really got shale worth exploiting, it's a big operation. The roughly million gallon of water needed to frack a well doesn't arrive in a single tank truck; a large tanker carries only about 5-10,000 gallons. About half the water used flows out of the well and needs to be treated and disposed. You need access roads to get everything to the site and a pipeline to transport the gas to customers. There won't be a few wells scattered here and there. Pennsylvania had 1000 well in 2010 and there may be exploitable site in the Marcellus Shale for 60,000 wells (drilled from 10,000 sites) Consult the pictures on page 5-95A of this New York State report on fracking. (http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/materials_minerals_pdf/ogdsgeischap5.pdf) Even if the report were a gross exaggeration - I claim no personal experience or special knowledge - it would still be a big industrial operation. This means there will be some environmental and societal impacts - and plenty of jobs and cheaper energy. Fracking is very likely to be one of the best ways to meet your energy needs, but it's not totally benign. Combat the environmentalists with the reality of wind and solar, not myths about the purity of fracking. .

http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/materials_minerals_pdf/ogdsgeischap5.pdf

FWIW, the enviros have held off fracking in New York State for 4.5 years and one of the big fracking companies recently pulled out

Aug 21, 2013 at 9:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Interesting take on Shale Gas Drilling

"All shale gas wells drilled and completed in the United States in 2011 consumed on the order of 135 billion gallons of water, equivalent to about 0.3 percent of total U.S. freshwater consumption."

"Shale gas consumes about 0.6-1.8 gallons of water per million BTUs of energy produced. If shale gas is used to generate electricity at a combined cycle gas plant and displace coal-fired power, the quantity of water consumed per unit of electricity generated could fall by on the order of 80 percent."

"All shale gas wells drilled and completed in Texas in 2011 amounted to less than 1 percent of all water withdrawals in the state of Texas. That figure could grow roughly three-fold by 2020 as shale production rises, although other developments could reduce the amount of freshwater consumed per well."

"Like politics, water consumption is a local issue. Fracking presents a major source of water consumption in arid locales like Dimmit County, Texas in the Eagle Ford shale region, where fracking represents on the order of one-quarter of the entire county's water consumption. In contrast, in the more rainy Marcellus shale region of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, the water needs for an entire fracking operation represent about 17 days of average local rainfall in even the driest months of the year."

http://theenergycollective.com/jessejenkins/205481/friday-energy-facts-how-much-water-does-fracking-shale-gas-consume

Aug 21, 2013 at 10:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

A Marcellus gas shale well drops to 20% of its initial production in the first five years and then will run at this rate for another 20 to 30 years.

Shale wells have hyperbolic decline rates. A typical well loses more than 70% of its production rate by the end of the first year. A typical Marcellus well may lose more than that. Some of the numbers and projections that I have seen were implying a 65% decline in the first 120 days of operation.

Note that the paper you cite does not seem to reflect the production reality. We read, "It has been estimated that horizontal wells in the Marcellus will yield an ultimate recovery (EUR) of four billion cubic feet (BCF) of gas. The production curve follows an exponential decay and normally drops to one fifth of initial production within five years, then produces at this rate for the next twenty to thirty years."

This is very different than what the DOE report shows. If you look to Table 2 you see a 65% decline in the first 105 days of production. The funny thing is that this report also relies on estimates that are not supported by the real world production decline data.

Aug 21, 2013 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterVangel

That means lots of jobs. The drilling rigs will be kept busy. I think they plant to keep the Barnett producing at 4.5 to 5 bcf a day using 30 rigs.

15 - 17 million dollars a day worth of gas. 6 billion a year.

I think that the bigger point is being missed. Jobs that require capital destruction do not increase wealth in society. While some will clearly be big winners the net effect is negative.

Aug 21, 2013 at 10:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterVangel

Frank Aug 21, 2013 at 9:24 PM
You have missed a couple of differenced between the US and the UK.. First and foremost the UK already has the gas pipeline infrastructure in place. This was done when they first started getting gas from the North Sea oil and gas fields so there will not be the great upheaval that you see in the US.

The other thing is that water is not very far away from anywhere in the UK so that isn't as big a problem as it is in the US either.

Our big problem is the left leaning green luddites that want to take us back to the dark ages.

Aug 21, 2013 at 10:50 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

Fracking hilarious.
UK friends, the well decline curve depends on the geology. The averages for all of the US and Canadian shale fields (sometimes segregated by 'sweet spot' or 'operator' ( and successful operators tend to concentrate their leases in sweet spots) can be found on line, published either by the states/provinces or the operators themselves. The rule of thumb to use is decline to stripper (10% of initial production) in 3 years, followed by 30 years of stripper status. That is not as good as conventional fields, but more than good enough.

Aug 21, 2013 at 10:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

In what way do the jobs created cause capitol destruction?

Aug 21, 2013 at 11:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Vangel "Jobs that require capital destruction ... "

Resources are not capital if you plan to leave them in the ground until the end of time. Their value is zero until you get them out of the ground and use them for something.

Iron + energy = steel ... which can be used to manufacture a wide range of goods.

Iron in the ground is useless. As is shale gas.

Aug 21, 2013 at 11:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

Bruce

It may be necessary to leave most of the remaining fossil fuels in the ground, if the contribution of their use contribution to global warming is to be kept within bounds.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-17/fossil-fuel-reserves-must-stay-in-ground-report/4757448

This would be particularly bad news for oil and gas companies whose assets would suddenly become worthless.

Aug 21, 2013 at 11:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic Man

Arthur Foxake

Something else to include in your list of minor side effects from coal.

The landslip in February this year, in which a tip collapsed onto the main railway line South of Doncaster and destroyed hundreds of metres of four line track. It took five months to shift several million tons of spoil and rebuild the line.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-23235167

Aug 22, 2013 at 12:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic Man

Folks, Vangel is a bit of a troll. He shows up at the Carpe Diem blog every time Mark Perry posts anything related to oil/gas. Mark now uses the term "Saudi America" to reflect the changes of the past five years. Yet Vangel is convinced that fracking and horizontal drilling is all a ruse. Somehow he knows better than all the people risking their own money on new well exploration.

Aug 22, 2013 at 1:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterTrey

Compared to Bowland Shale, Marcellus Shales appears much thinner and at a shallower depth. Does this mean that the Bowland Shale could maintain higher production rates for longer?

Aug 22, 2013 at 1:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Entropic Man wrote: "This would be particularly bad news for oil and gas companies whose assets would suddenly become worthless."

However, there are uses for crude oil that renewables aren't likely to supply in the needed quantities and at sensible prices. Fuel for airplanes for example and backup fuel supply for hybrid vehicles. Current reserves won't ever become worthless. At best (worst?), exploration for new fossil fuel will slow dramatically as current reserves last much longer than expected. However, I doubt that solar and wind are going to make that big an impact on fossil fuel use in the next decade

Aug 22, 2013 at 1:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

I work in North Dakota Bakken for an oil company. These are oil wells, not gas wells. Depletion is about 40% in 6 months. Note that this is not a problem as you get very high production at first, which pays off the well. Wells are typically paid for in less than a year. Then it is all gravy.

Fracking is OLD tech. The "scare" came from some dumb reporter in the US who screwed up the story. She reported on this new technology called fracking. Actually the new technology was being able to do it on an horizontal bore. THAT was the new technology, and basically the method I'm used utilizes sliding sleeves. But we've fracked a lot of wells without a problem.

Aug 22, 2013 at 2:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesD

Shame that this isn't the sort of cartoon in Private Eye.
The new issue is a constant drip, drip of digs at fracking. A further landmark in the sad decline of a once vital magazine.

Thousands of extra people dying because they can't afford heating - hilarious isn't it, Hislop?

Aug 22, 2013 at 2:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterartwest

If we were as organised as your average druid priestess or inventor of a perpetual motion machine we’d all be down in Balcombe stuffing photocopies of Josh’s excellent cartoon through letterboxes.

Aug 22, 2013 at 5:44 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Arthur

Careful. Aberfan 1966.
Aug 21, 2013 at 8:24 PM | Registered Commenter Pharos

Aberfan was not due to subsidence from mining, but the collapse/landslide of a poorly managed collliery spoil heap, after several days of heavy rain.

Aug 22, 2013 at 7:16 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

OT: At about 7:15 on BBC Breakfast today, a cider apple farmer commenting on the poor harvest last year said something like:

Because of global warming, we had a very cold and wet May

And he's just an ordinary bloke. So sad.

Aug 22, 2013 at 7:33 AM | Registered Commentersteve ta

Frank is probably right in that Josh's middle pane is a bit on the optimistic side.

However, I live in south west Hertfordshire, which due its location at the southern extent of the last glaciation has enourmous quantities of gravel everywhere. This has been extracted, washed, and shipped round the country for 100's of years.

The works are large, and messy, and use enormous amounts of water, and are almost always not noticed by the locals. Lorries leaving sites have to be pressure washed, so tend to leave trails of drips on the road but not a lot else. The water is reused endlessly and large pools are created for the purpose. Many of the lakes in the area are in fact disused wash pools.

Much of the landscape shape in the area is due to the older gravel works, but you wouldn't know it as restoration to farm and/or wood land really doesn't take long.

And I suspect fracking, being more vertical in nature, must have a smaller footprint. What's the fuss about?

Aug 22, 2013 at 7:45 AM | Registered Commentersteve ta

Vangel is forever saying that the fracking shale oil and shale gas wells are not economic.

On the one hand, he says that the EUR (Estimated Ultimate Recovery) are optimistic and will have to be written down. On the otherhand, he says that most of the ultimate production is extracted in the first three years. This last part is true. So in the first two years, you have a very good handle on the EUR. Everyone knows this, including the auditors. So somehow the EUR are hopelessly optimistic, but it is impossible to hide the overestimation after 2 years. According to Vangel, he's right and thousands of Qualified Reserve Engineers are wrong.

When it comes to shale well economics, have a look at the Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) Edgar 10-K for 2012.
http://google.brand.edgar-online.com/displayfilinginfo.aspx?FilingID=9081675-169320-235222&type=sect&TabIndex=2&companyid=6248&ppu=%252fdefault.aspx%253fcompanyid%253d6248
Under the Item 2, Properties, do a search for "Depletion Expense"
2012 for the Spreyberry field, (PXD's largest field and greatest activity)
PXD produced 16 MMBO, 4.5 MMBC, 21 BCF, for 24.1 MMBOE.
Avg price for Oil $90.57/bbl, NGL $32.23/bc, Gas $2.58/mcf, for an average of $68.72/boe

Costs per bbl were:
Production costs (mostly lease costs) of $12.73 / boe
Taxes (ad valorem and production) of $5.25 / boe
Depletion Expense of $15.58. (units of production well cost)
Total costs = $33.56/BOE

Operating Profit from Sprayberry: = $68.72 / BOE - $33.56 / BOE = $35.16 / BOE.
That looks pretty economic to me.... Very pretty!

(Depletion Expense is Cost Depletion in the US, a units of production depreciation of the capital used to find and develop the resource. The key is that it is by units of production against the reserves to be produced. if half the reserves are produced in the first year, then half of the capital must be "depleted" at the same time.)

Aug 22, 2013 at 8:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Rasey

Steveta: I saw that. But in the same breath he said how fantastic the apples are this year. So last year = bad = global warming; this year = good = ?

Clearly global warming switches on and off on a whim

Aug 22, 2013 at 8:44 AM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

thinkingscientist: On the mystery of the apple harvest, it clearly goes like this:

last year = bad = global warming; this year = good = natural variability

We can't do anything about natural variability but we can remove all the badness we experience in the UK in any area by reducing our carbon emissions, even when China and India increase theirs more in a week than we cut in a year.

This is settled science, as brought to you by the Royal Society and its greatest ever scientist Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, an expert on bad apples if ever there was one. Please don't knock it.

Aug 22, 2013 at 10:22 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Entropic Man (Aug 21, 2013 at 11:49 PM)

It may be necessary to leave most of the remaining fossil fuels in the ground, if the contribution of their use contribution to global warming is to be kept within bounds.

You do seem to be missing a lot of the argument, here. IF fossil fuels are contributing to global warming, the effect is insignificant; all the evidence to date seems to suggest that what is happening is part of a natural cycle, of which we presently understand very little, and certainly have no chance of having any effect upon. In a nut-shell – there is no man-made global warming! (Though it might be Mann-made, of course…)

I am not sure that you are truly aware of the effects on this planet that a total revocation of all things oil will have. Look around you: there is NOTHING that you can see that is not there directly or indirectly because of oil.

Richard Drake (Aug 22, 2013 at 10:22 AM)

So, let me get this right: all the bad things are the result of (man-made) global warming; all the good things are just because of natural variability?

This is what science has come to, is it?

Aug 22, 2013 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent: I'm afraid you're guilty of conspiracy ideation for even questioning this. Please see my forthcoming learned paper Recursive Ideation: The Moon's a Green Cheese so You're a Moron. The Royal Society has kindly agreed to do the backing track for the accompanying YouTube video, with Paul Nurse on the bongo drums. 97% of climate scientists have already tweeted it's the greatest thing they've ever seen, even before it's been made. For goodness sake stop doubting the consensus.

Aug 22, 2013 at 10:54 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

RD:

Hehehehe.

Modern science now looks for the evidence that supports the theory – facts be damned! And here was innocent little me, thinking that it existed to develop the theories to explain the facts. I suppose the former does make it all a lot easier.

Aug 22, 2013 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

I suppose the former does make it all a lot easier.
Well, it keeps the grant money rolling in.

Aug 22, 2013 at 11:20 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

"I am not sure that you are truly aware of the effects on this planet that a total revocation of all things oil will have. Look around you: there is NOTHING that you can see that is not there directly or indirectly because of oil."


Aug 22, 2013 at 10:48 AM | Radical Rodent

I am very aware of it. What do you suggest we do in a century or so when it is all used up? There is no God-given right for you to burn oil indefinately. The reserves are finite.

Leave it in the ground and we have a post-oil economy and a normal climate. Burn it all and we have a post-oil economy plus the knock on effects of climate change.

There are two differences in our world views.
1) I know that the oil will be unavailable some day. You would seem to be in denial.
2) I accept CO2 induced climate change as a problem You do not. Where oil is concerned, our disagreement only affects the the date when we stop using oil, not the reality that it will happen.

Aug 22, 2013 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic Man

E-Man (1:41): Have you read Paul Collier's The Plundered Planet? Collier takes the consensus view of climate science and policy much more seriously than I do but he's persuasive on why we need to use up natural resources as we discover them, for the good of future generations, based on past and present economic experience. (Nigel Lawson's friend David Henderson told me that he thought it was an awful book, if I heard him right. And he's more of an economist than me. But that can surely only help you to think Collier may be on the right lines! Try The Ultimate Resource by Julian Simon if you want to get even more radical.)

Now add in the fact that we believe from all real-world evidence that climate sensitivity is low and that whatever has been happening to temperatures since 1920 extreme climate events have been killing fewer and fewer people - a key point for the poorest, who tend to be those people.

One thing Collier is very concerned about is that poor countries in Africa receive decent royalties and tax revenues from the natural resources that are being plundered by China in particular. Because as you are very aware it's a one-shot situation. A good example perhaps of how we may miss the real humanitarian issue by determinedly gripping the wrong end of the elephant.

I'm remain as always eager to be corrected by my fellow sceptics but I throw these thoughts out in the spirit of a search for truth where all, hopefully, can contribute.

Aug 22, 2013 at 2:11 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Entropic Man (Aug 22, 2013 at 1:41 PM)

There are two differences in our world views.
1) I know that the oil will be unavailable some day. You would seem to be in denial.
2) I accept CO2 induced climate change as a problem You do not. Where oil is concerned, our disagreement only affects the the date when we stop using oil, not the reality that it will happen.

Point (1): I am well aware of the finite nature of all resources on this planet. However, I am of the opinion that, if it is available and of use to us, then why can we not use it now? Not having the crystal ball that so many of the alarmists obviously have, I have no idea what future developments may occur in science or society, but do not believe that we should corrupt ourselves, and our future, “for the cheeeldren!” (And, let’s face, what have they done for us?) Try to imagine what the world would have been like if stone-age man had followed the Precautionary Principle: “Ooh, Ug. Leave dat i-ron in de grund. We dunt wanna rune de wold!”

Point (2): the evidence that climate change is CO2-induced is getting very shaky indeed (rising CO2, no rise in temperatures being an obvious anomaly). As I said before: "…the evidence to date seems to suggest that what is happening is part of a natural cycle, of which we presently understand very little…” and, while we remain fixated on it being solely because of CO2 (or just “man-made” CO2), we run the risk of blinding ourselves to other possible causes, ultimately failing to understand the cycle, and destroying ourselves in our ignorance. However, even after finding them, I doubt there will be much we can do to affect them.

Aug 22, 2013 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Some very informative and polite contributions on this thread - as well as the usual dismissive rudeness from the usual culprits. Let BH not be spoiled like so many sites have been by insulting trolling.

Aug 22, 2013 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterVernon E

Doom-mongers have been prophesying the end of fossil fuels almost since they were discovered.
The argument that we should leave fossil fuels in the ground is almost so fatuous as not to be worth responding to. The ignorant greenie will tell you "it's so that they are there for our grandchildren". When it is pointed out that his grandchildren are almost certainly going to use exactly the same argument about leaving it in the ground for their grandchildren he starts behaving like a robot with crossed wires.
The more intelligent greenie will dismiss the 'grandchild' argument but prattle on about "scarce resources" and use EM's argument that the oil is going to run out in about 100 years. To him you point out that it's not a resource if you plan never to use it, that the best estimate for hydrocarbon reserves — which will probably be different by the time I've finished this since for the last decade we have been discovering new sources at a faster rate than we are depleting the old ones — is in excess of 500 years and some figures are considerably higher, and that - in Sheihk Yamani's famous words - the Stone Age didn't come to an end because we ran out of stones and what we might call the Oil Age will end long before we run out of oil.
But that depends on those same grandchildren having the necessary wealth to devote the time and effort and resources to the education and the research which will be needed to invent, discover, and develop whatever "substances" that future Age will be known by.
Impoverishing us and them today is not a clever idea. Being the first generation in the history of mankind wantonly to try to take a step backwards in its development is somewhat bizarre behaviour for any species especially one that is supposedly blessed with a degree of intelligence, even assuming that it is possible.
To use a marginal and increasingly dubious and possibly even temporary increase in temperature as justification is bordering on insanity.

Aug 22, 2013 at 3:03 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Ivan wrote: You have missed a couple of differenced between the US and the UK. First and foremost the UK already has the gas pipeline infrastructure in place. This was done when they first started getting gas from the North Sea oil and gas fields so there will not be the great upheaval that you see in the US.

The other thing is that water is not very far away from anywhere in the UK so that isn't as big a problem as it is in the US either.

Our big problem is the left leaning green luddites that want to take us back to the dark ages.

Frank responds: The situation in the US and UK are similar. The water supply is limited in the Western US, but the East is like the UK. We both need to connect fracked wells to the existing grid of pipelines that supply natural gas to customers. We both need to get equipment to build wells at formerly inaccessible sites in mostly rural territory. (The cost of obtaining the mining rights in developed areas with many owners is prohibitive.) Neither of us want to dump the large volume of wastewater from fracking rock - which contains hydrocarbon deposits and therefore a plethora of organic and inorganic compounds - into our streams and rivers without treatment. Fractured rock is analogous to mine tailings that fortunately remain underground. The wastewater coming out of fracked wells has leached this rock. The water supply is limited in the Western US, but the East is like the UK.

We are both plagued by left-leaning green Luddites, but yours seem more influential than ours. What is the best strategy to combat them? Deceptive cartoons? Or an honest assessment of the costs and benefits of development?

Aug 22, 2013 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Richard Drake, Radical Rodent

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17051-humanitys-carbon-budget-set-at-one-trillion-tonnes.html

This summarises the argument for limiting our total oil consumption.I accept that if you deny climate change, you deny the need for such a policy.

I find your arguments justifying massive oil consumption very shortsighted, even immature. It is said that children live in the present, adults live in the furure and old men live in the past.

Aug 22, 2013 at 3:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic Man

"an honest assessment of the costs and benefits of development?"

Aug 22, 2013 at 3:46 PM | Frank

Yes, please.

I have not yet seen a proper cost/benefit analysis for UK shale gas. Bishop Hill, the government, and many other optimists are hyping shale gas on the basis of negligible evidence.
The protesters are condemming it on equally negligible evidence.

If you know of a full analysis, please give us links. On the evidence available it looks a marginal proposition

Aug 22, 2013 at 4:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic Man

EM (3:58):

I find your arguments justifying massive oil consumption very shortsighted, even immature. It is said that children live in the present, adults live in the furure and old men live in the past.

It's also said that false analogies based on fear gave us the Holocaust. They were also keen to prove themselves strapping adults, weren't they, not the enfeebled or otherwise inferior. Sadly it's not how history judges them in the ashes of Treblinka.

I know it sounds extreme but it's what I feel about these attempts to pretend we know. We have a very bad track record when fear becomes our guide as a self-appointed few attempt to make controlling plans for one large country, let alone all humanity.

'Doing nothing' as it is called - it actually means seven billion human beings doing everything they can, in freedom, to better themselves, without central control, under the rule of law - has many very great virtues.

But even if this were not true we don't see evidence for a crisis right now. Give it ten years and re-evaluate? Or fifty, as Richard Lindzen recently suggested at Oxford? Dang. We don't even know which is the right number there.

Knowing not to panic when we barely know anything else is for me sanity. For you it is probably the height of stupidity and irresponsibility. I can put myself into your shoes at least to that extent.

Aug 22, 2013 at 4:26 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

EM (Aug 22, 2013 at 3:58 PM):

So even the New Scientist is peering into crystal balls; thanks for that.

*sigh*

To deny climate change is to proclaim the climate as the only immutable thing in the universe. Of course climates changes; the only point I am making is that the probability of the present climate change being solely because of human-produced CO2 is… well, disingenuous is the term that springs to mind.

Whipping up a good scare story where humans are to blame for all that is bad, and can it can only be corrected by a drastic change in our lifestyle and aspirations, strikes me as being just plain wrong (unless there is some other agenda in operation).

Climates have changed in the past, when the impact from humans was negligible – so what caused it? And why cannot the reason for the change then be the reason now? Certainly, our ancestors did not go on some guilt-trip (“Stop making bronze! It is going to kill the planet!”), and eradicate themselves (which seems to be the preferred option nowadays); no, they simply adapted to it.

Apart from the odd argument that global warming climate change climate disruption is only because of the rise in CO2 levels, have a look at this site to see the “evil” of CO2: http://townhall.com/columnists/pauldriessen/2013/08/15/carbon-dioxide-the-gas-of-life-n1664457/page/full

Aug 22, 2013 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

> On the evidence available it looks a marginal proposition

If you believe it is marginal then there is no point in opposing it. If it turns out to be unprofitable then we are no worse of than now and it will be private investment that is lost. If it turns out to be profitable then we all gain.

Aug 22, 2013 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

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