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Magic wands and the greens

I think it was Bryony Worthington who once asked a bunch of environmentalists what they would happen if a fairy could wave a magic wand and do away with the warming effects of carbon dioxide. Would they be happy for mankind to continue to burn fossil fuels?

The answer of course was "no".

Interesting then to read the news that Roman Abramovich has made a major investment in a company that claims to be able to fracture rocks without any fluids at all.

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has invested $15 million in Houston-based Propell Technologies Group, Inc. (OTC:PROP) and its new fracking technology from wholly owned subsidiary Novas Energy. Significantly, this new enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technology enables ‘clean’ hydraulic micro/nano fracturing of oil reservoirs—that is, without water, without polluting chemicals and without earthquakes.

According to Propell, the Plasma Pulse patented downhole tool creates a controlled plasma arc within a vertical well, generating a tremendous amount of heat for a fraction of a second. The subsequent high-speed hydraulic impulse wave emitted is strong enough to remove any clogged sedimentation from the perforation zone without damaging steel. The series of impulse waves/vibrations also penetrate deep into the reservoir causing nano fractures in the matrix which increase reservoir permeability for up to a year per treatment.

It sounds like the shale gas industry's very own magic wand. You can almost sense the dismay among the green fraternity.

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Reader Comments (45)

If a former Foreign Secretary can be hoodwinked by pranksters why cannot a foreign billionaire?

Feb 25, 2015 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

rms wrote, "I truly believe there is a larger-than-we-think segment of society who would rather have occasional power outages than have power generated by anything other than renewable ... "

Larger-than-we-think but still a minority. In my experience (weather related outages) once the cable and internet go quiet most people start getting cranky. A fire in the fireplace can never replace Downton Abbey on the High Def and an iPhone is not the right tool for doing your English Literature homework. Especially after the battery goes flat.

Feb 25, 2015 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterSpeed

Perfectly feasible and totally logical; the technology has developed over 20+ years experimentation with drilling techniques.

I saw its precursor in Denver in 1993.

Feb 25, 2015 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

It is, like, TASERING GAIA, dude.... ! !

Feb 25, 2015 at 11:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

How do they keep the plasma hot over the distances involved. ?

How much energy will they need and what will supply it ?

Feb 25, 2015 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered Commenterottokring

Never mind! They'll find a fault with it somewhere. Perhaps it will have an adverse effect upon the Lesser Spotted Ground Burrowing ant, that dwells thousands of metres below ground. If it exists that is, but then they'll invent one if necessary!

Feb 25, 2015 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

No - It was Solitaire Townsend - co founder of Futerra. ref Carbon Fairy

TOWNSEND: I was making a speech to nearly 200 really hard core, deep environmentalists and I played a little thought game on them. I said imagine I am the carbon fairy and I wave a magic wand. We can get rid of all the carbon in the atmosphere, take it down to two hundred fifty parts per million and I will ensure with my little magic wand that we do not go above two degrees of global warming. However, by waving my magic wand I will be interfering with the laws of physics not with people – they will be as selfish, they will be as desiring of status. The cars will get bigger, the houses will get bigger, the planes will fly all over the place but there will be no climate change. And I asked them, would you ask the fairy to wave its magic wand? And about 2 people of the 200 raised their hands.

Feb 25, 2015 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

The plasma causes the adjacent oil to vaporise, in turn hydraulically shocking the existing vertical well. It is not a shale gas system.

Feb 25, 2015 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

We simply cannot trust any technology which is developed by those nasty poeple from the O&G industry.

What we must have is a long moratorium on its use whilst the only poeple we can trust, Greenpeace/WWF/FotE etc. carry out an exhaustive investigation.

This will be conducted by their resident experts* in the field** and will be funded by the IPCC/DofE.

In order to avoid confusion the results of the study will be issued to the team members upon their selection for the study.

Along with results a complete set of spurious imaginary evidence will be provided for the study allowing all team members to get the papers published in plenty of time for the Nobel prizes.

Once all the papers have been published and awards handed out then we can safely ban it.

*Expert in this case being defined as any IPCC memeber who needs a holiday.

** Field in this case being a luxury resort in the Maldives

Feb 25, 2015 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterBorder Reiver

I didn't notice anyone mention horizontal drilling which is consistent with someone's comment about it only being compatible with oil ; no gas. Thinking about what people complain about leads me to think that this is by no means a magic wand There will need to be more wells drilled and the chance of pollution although probably zero will seem to be greater with the extra wells, I vote this to be a bum steer :)

Feb 25, 2015 at 11:53 AM | Registered CommenterDung

If the initial Plasma Pulse was generated by wind/solar, the green luvvies would hail it as a breakthrough renewable technology, and take the credit.

Feb 25, 2015 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Without bursting into flames. ?

Feb 25, 2015 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

I never tire of repeating that Futerra quote.

It goes to the heart of what modern Greenism is about: The destruction of markets. In short: Communism.

They can protest all they like, but the quote shows the real agenda.

Feb 25, 2015 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

The greens will stigmatise this technology. "Do you want machines that create death rays operating in the area where you live?"

Feb 25, 2015 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

What the technology does very well is to disrupt deposits from oil as it loses pressure in the entry to the well bore. This is very important for heavy oils, e.g. California, which precipitates carbonaceous residues.

To insert the delivery system into the posteriors of dumb from the neck up politicians like our esteemed Energy and Climate Change Secretary of State might well induce a temporary return to its senses, biut don't expect too much except the smell of burning and other fumes.

Feb 25, 2015 at 1:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Sounds too good to be true.

Feb 25, 2015 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

But the greenies are ahead of that game.

Their new target is 'fugitive' methane emissions.

Feb 25, 2015 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Well, the Greens could certainly have done with a magic wand to rescue Natalie Bennett from her toe-curling car-crash of an interview on LBC...

Unfortunately, they don't have one...

Feb 25, 2015 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

People should not accuse green luvvies of putting all their faith in fairies, with magic wands.

All Green luvvies know there would be job sharing agreement with pixies, with magic wands

Feb 25, 2015 at 2:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

@Joe Public

Perhaps the greenies should contract US Marshall Samuel Gerard to find those emissions.....

Feb 25, 2015 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E


That's like, you know, strapping our planet to an electric chair. Dude. Peace. Love. etc.

This post brought to you by 'Greens Go By Air Inc.'

Feb 25, 2015 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterJulian Flood

"nano fractures in the matrix"

So possibly not in the real world at all.. :-)

Feb 25, 2015 at 2:50 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Oh, you'll have the same hairy armpits crowd claiming it gave their kid epileptic fits or electrocuted the neighbor's dog when he took a whizz.

Feb 25, 2015 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJEM

@ Mr Savage

...It is, like, TASERING GAIA, dude.... ! !...

"All together now - Mines are rape!! No means NO!!"

Feb 25, 2015 at 3:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterdodgy geezer

Read the text carefully. This is a new recompletion technique for conventional reservoirs. It is not a way to frack shale, which requires proppants (sand) to keep the fracked cracks open.

Feb 25, 2015 at 4:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

If the effect is primarily local to the well, this technology won't accomplish anywhere near what fracking does. It seems designed to temporarily reduce particulate blocking of the oil passages adjacent to the well. Useful, yes, but the geometry is entirely unlike fracking.

Feb 25, 2015 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Although the greens no longer say it in public they still firmly believe that energy , in all forms , is to easy to too cheap for the users. They seen an energy shortage has an opportunity to creating the conditions in which their madder ideas , such has no public ownership of motorised transport and a ban on flying , can be brought about on a public who otherwise would never have anything to do with them.

Its all part of their desperate need to return the world mythic past where man was in tune with nature , the pursuit of this mythic rural dream-scape full of happy red faced children and workers doing honest toil. Is frankly hilarious given in reality this 'golden past ' for most life was hard , grim and short and those living then would kill to live now and know that their children had a very good chance of getting to be adults rather then die early.

Feb 25, 2015 at 5:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

I didn't notice anyone mention horizontal drilling

They never do. It's only "fracking" they're campaigning against, because fracking is like ... a scary new word. Then they campaign against any drilling they hear of because ... well, there might be "fracking , the controversial process known as".

Just ask any anti-fracker to name some oil or gas wells that they aren't against. You'll soon find it's SFA to do with concerns about "fracking" and everything to do with being against everything hydrocarbons, except they can't pronounce that one so they go with "fossil fuels".

Feb 25, 2015 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

The Greens don't understand mathematics or physics.

It's because their followers are green liberals. Green liberals don't understand maths, and consequently hate it. They really do think that maths is a Western European male plot to enslave the workers!

It's associated in their minds (I use the term loosely) with Engineers and Bankers - the two groups they see as predominantly male and raping the countryside. Mathematics is completely alien to these people - they imagine a vast series of 'self-sufficient' villages stretching across the country with wells and local soil composting. Ideally, they would probably like to see most people illiterate and never moving 10 miles from where they were born.

They think they need maths about as much as the average medieval peasant did...

Feb 25, 2015 at 6:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterdodgy geezer


"They think they need maths about as much as the average medieval peasant did..."

Except when calculating budgets, as in Natalie Bennett's suggestion that £2.7bn would pay for 500,000 homes. The LBC interviewer was much too quick for her, and wondered if they were to be built of plywood, although I suppose £5400 might buy a suitable home for a peasant. It won't be using electricity, after all.

Feb 25, 2015 at 6:42 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

"In order to avoid confusion the results of the study will be issued to the team members upon their selection for the study."

Feb 25, 2015 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterBorder Reiver

Thanks Border Reiver. Very funny (and sadly true).

Feb 25, 2015 at 7:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterEric Barnes

Unfortunately the "greens" will never be satisfied until the majority of the population is dead and the remainder living in yurts, fed by subsistence farming.
They are genocidal psychos in the mould of Pol Pot.

Feb 25, 2015 at 7:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

they imagine a vast series of 'self-sufficient' villages stretching across the country with wells and local soil composting. Ideally, they would probably like to see most people illiterate and never moving 10 miles from where they were born.

Feb 25, 2015 at 6:35 PM | Unregistered Commenter dodgy geezer

They don't need to imagine they could get first hand experience and additional training in North Korea.

Feb 25, 2015 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterPatagon

Would they be happy for mankind to continue to burn fossil fuels?
The answer of course was "no.
‘Philosopher George Santayana defines fanaticism as "redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim" ‘ (Wiki).

Feb 25, 2015 at 10:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley

kellydown and all

When I said there was no mention of horizontal drilling I meant that this new technology has a huge weakness in NOT being able to DRILL HORIZONTALLY. It therefore has none of the advantages of fracking. :)

Feb 25, 2015 at 10:09 PM | Registered CommenterDung

What goes round comes round. Can't find the link, but recall reading about a fairly extensive US govt sanctioned test program on reservoir fracture stimulation using dynamite ( that environmentally friendly source of concentrated energy invented in 1866 by Alfred Bernhard Nobel (1833 to 1896), the Swedish inventor who endowed the Nobel prizes) in the US around the 1970s.

Don't see how this stops the fractures closing again. The hydraulic squeeze injection technique at least carries the sand proppant right into all the fractures.

Feb 25, 2015 at 10:56 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Oh, OK.

I read the links.

It's a nifty way of enhancing recovery on dinky little wells such as litter the prairie states and Siberia (and maybe the odd one in Notts & Lincolnshire). I can see why Abramovich is interested.

Feb 25, 2015 at 11:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

No problem here. Can't be used until it's been exhaustively tested. Can't be tested until it's known to be safe.

No innovation, please, we're greenies

Feb 25, 2015 at 11:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Page

The Bryony Worthington challenge is a little like what has actually happened with the anti smoking crowd.
Along comes a magic wand, in the form of e-cigs, which pretty much covers all the real and made up concerns, and they don't like it one bit.

Feb 26, 2015 at 5:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Anzac

It'll still cause earthquakes.

Trump card! No chance of planning permission!

Feb 26, 2015 at 8:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Duffin

I understand it is now possible to frack using nitrogen/sand mix instead of water.

Feb 26, 2015 at 11:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

The OU fracking course is over. It was the most negative course I have ever taken. Run by Geographers it covered all the possible problems with very little mention of the advantages. Lots of input from FoE though. The survey at the end had an increase of those anti fracking.

I would not recommend it to anyone.

Feb 27, 2015 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

# Andrew Duffin.

No Andrew they do not. BGS reported that the Blackpool quake COULD have been caused by the fracking but there is no definitive proof that it did. It is possible that injection of fracking fluids would cause faults to slip at a stress level far lower that it would without causing a quake of far lower intensity than without fracking.

Feb 27, 2015 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

@JM maybe you should prepare a page of "additional notes of things they forget to tell you on the OU Fracking Course" and leave it up on the net for people to find

Feb 27, 2015 at 1:01 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

# stewgreen

Easier to look at the site concerned, it is open access through the OU.

Feb 28, 2015 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

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