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Shale gas, tight oil, and fracking - Feb 20

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Reports: Shale Gas Bubble Looms, Aided by Wall Street

Steve Horn, DeSmogBlog

Reports: Shale Gas Bubble Looms, Aided by Wall Street (via Desmogblog)

Two long-awaited reports were published today at ShaleBubble.org by the Post Carbon Institute (PCI) and the Energy Policy Forum (EPF). Together, the reports conclude that the hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") boom could lead to a "bubble burst" akin to the housing bubble burst of 2008. While…


(19 February 2013)
View the reports


Geologist’s provocative study challenges popular assumptions about ‘fracking’

Ivan Semeniuk, Globe & Mail
With debate over hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” running at a fever pitch, it seems the only thing everyone can agree on is that, for better or worse, there is plenty of natural gas down there for the taking.

Now a provocative analysis of unconventional fuel reserves in the United States aims to slap a big question mark over that assumption. In a comprehensive look at all the major shale gas plays currently being tapped across the U.S., the study focuses on the rapid decline of individual gas wells, along with entire fields, and concludes that optimistic projections for a long-running boom that will unleash cheap gas for decades to come are unwarranted.

“The hype around shale gas is just that,” said David Hughes, a geologist and former research manager with the Geological Survey of Canada who authored the study, which was release on Tuesday...
(19 February 2013)


China slow to tap shale-gas bonanza

Jeff Tollefson, Nature
After more than a decade of spectacular growth fuelled by coal, China finds itself sitting on a bonanza of shale gas. Its reserves are the world’s largest, beating even those of the United States. But developing this vast resource won’t be easy, as a bidding last month for shale-gas leases made clear.

“The resource is huge,” says Jane Nakano, a fellow of the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC. “But the shale deposits are more complex than ours, and the above-ground challenges are probably even larger” than the geological ones.

To offset some of the coal use that contributes to its status as the world’s largest greenhouse-gas emitter, China wants to boost natural gas from around 4% of the country’s energy mix to 10% by 2020. Much of that gas will be imported. But in March 2012, the Chinese government estimated the country’s reserves at 25 trillion cubic metres, and an earlier estimate from the US Energy Information Administration was even larger. China’s leaders resolved to boost annual shale-gas production from near zero today to at least 60 billion cubic metres by 2020. The United States, by comparison, produced more than 150 billion cubic metres in 2010...
(20 February 2013)


Fracking is the only way to achieve Obama climate change goals, says senior scientist

Robin McKie, The Guardian
America will only achieve the ambitious climate change goals outlined by President Barack Obama last week by encouraging wide-scale fracking for natural gas over the next few years. That is the advice of one of the nation's senior scientists, Professor William Press, a member of the president's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology...

Thousands of wells have already been drilled in Texas, leading to a substantial rise in the use of natural gas in the US and a major decline in the burning of coal, a far more serious cause of carbon pollution. However, fracking is also controversial. Environmentalists say it can lead to the contamination of underground water reservoirs and the pollution of the surface with chemicals used to help to release subterranean gas stores. They also point out that burning natural gas releases carbon dioxide.

However Press, who is president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science , said last week that natural gas obtained through fracking had potential to help mitigate climate change. "Coal is burnt to provide the US with almost half its electricity. This is done in huge central power plants and the process is very dirty. By contrast, the burning of natural gas is clean and can be done in smaller, local, more efficient power station," said Press...
(16 February 2013)


Marcellus Shale Fracking Study To Research Natural Gas Drilling Health Effects

AP via Huffington Post
A Pennsylvania health company says it has gotten a $1 million grant to study possible health impacts of natural gas drilling on the Marcellus shale.

Geisinger Health System said Monday that the Degenstein Foundation had awarded the money to help underwrite what it called a "large-scale, scientifically rigorous assessment" of the drilling.

Most of the money will be used for data-gathering, and some will go toward developing studies of the data. Officials said they expect other funders to come forward...
(18 February 2013)

Gas drilling - Skytruth/flickr

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