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Oil and Gas Roundup — May 28

May 28, 2013
TOPICS: In the news
A roundup of oil and natural gas news from around the state, nation and world:

Environmentalist leader admits, celebrates lack of qualifications

Dave Quast, California Field Director of Energy In Depth, wrote the following opinion piece this week for the Sacramento Bee:
An Arizona-based activist group called the Center for Biological Diversity is currently lobbying California lawmakers to halt the use of hydraulic fracturing to produce oil and gas in California while its "threats to our air, water, climate and health are studied." The CBD has made the same demand in lawsuits against the state of California and the federal government.
The group claims that hydraulic fracturing needs additional scientific study and legal review ("Bid to halt fracking in state builds momentum," Viewpoints, May 12) but don't be fooled. Science and the law mean nothing to the CBD compared with raw politics. Just ask Kierán Suckling, the group's executive director.
"The core talent of a successful environmental activist is not science and law," Suckling said in a 2009 interview with the High Country News. "It's campaigning instinct." In the same interview, Suckling even bragged about his staff's lack of scientific qualifications.
"It was a key to our success," Suckling said. "I'm more interested in hiring philosophers, linguists and poets."
And lawyers. The CBD's attorneys have filed hundreds of lawsuits against state and federal agencies. But the barrage of litigation isn't about enforcing the law. According to Suckling, it's about taking "a terrible toll on agency morale" until environmental regulators "feel like their careers are being mocked and destroyed" and "become much more willing to play by our rules."
"Psychological warfare is a very underappreciated aspect of environmental campaigning," he said.
Psychological warfare? It's shocking that a group this extreme is the driving force behind the campaign to halt hydraulic fracturing in California. Whether they realize it or not – and I believe they don't – state lawmakers and other public officials who entertain the demands of the CBD are dealing with a group that openly mocks environmental science, environmental law and environmental regulators in pursuit of its fringe beliefs.
This is precisely the kind of ideological fervor Gov. Jerry Brown has warned against. "We're not jumping on any ideological bandwagons," Brown said at a March press conference when asked about proposed state regulations that would allow hydraulic fracturing to continue with tougher oversight and disclosure requirements.
Brown said his approach to the issue is "based on science, based on common sense, and based on a deliberative process that listens to people but also wants to take advantage of the great opportunities we have in this state."
Brown's policy is supported by scientists, engineers, state regulators and senior officials in the Obama administration, who have concluded many times that hydraulic fracturing is a fundamentally safe technology for developing oil and gas.
For example, a 2009 report from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Ground Water Protection Council declared hydraulic fracturing is "safe and effective," and new Interior Secretary Sally Jewell recently noted, "Fracking has been done safely for decades." Jewell's predecessor, Ken Salazar, has even said that claims to the contrary are "hysteria."
We've had enough hysteria in California thanks to the poets, linguists and lawyers at the CBD. Let's deal with the facts instead.
Dave Quast is California director of Energy in Depth, a project affiliated with the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the California Independent Petroleum Association.

Analysts say big oilfield service companies have the edge in frack water recycling
The expected push toward using recycled water in hydraulic fracturing operations will give large oilfield services companies — such as Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Schlumberger Ltd. — an advantage over their smaller competitors, according to a new report from analysts at Jefferies & Co. Inc., the Houston Business Journal reports.
The New York-based financial advisory firm said the complexity of fracking with recycled water will give those companies an edge over their peers.
“We believe the combination of regulatory push, particularly in Texas in the face of persistent drought risk, and greater industry comfort with cleaning water only as much as necessary should propel growth in the recycling of water in the U.S. over the next few years,” the analysts said.
Water recycling lowers costs and eases concerns about water demand in drought-prone areas, such as the Eagle Ford shale formation in South Texas, according to the report.

Difference Engine: Fuel for the future?
America’s unexpected, and most welcome, bonanza of natural gas from its vast shale deposits seems to be doing as much to reduce pollution as many of the efforts introduced over the years to restrict emissions from vehicles, power stations and other sources. The biggest breakthrough the energy industry has seen in decades, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) combined with horizontal drilling, has released unprecedented quantities of gas from this shale. As a consequence, the spot price of domestically produced natural gas has tumbled from a high of over $12 per million British Thermal Units in 2008 to less than $2 in 2012, before settling at around $4 today (a million BTUs is roughly equivalent to a gigajoule of energy).
Increasing use of this cheap, clean gas means power stations across the country have reduced their carbon dioxide emissions to levels not seen since 1992—despite serving a population that has grown by almost a quarter since then. On a per capita basis, carbon dioxide emissions from power stations are now at their lowest since President Eisenhower left office in 1961.
This is because, when purged of impurities, natural gas (which is more or less pure methane) is the cleanest fossil fuel around. It produces 30% less carbon dioxide per unit of heat than petrol does, and 45% less than coal. Conventional coal-fired power stations churn out 900kg (1,980 pounds) of the gas for every megawatt-hour of electricity they generate. Natural-gas plants emit little more than half that amount.
Read the full story: http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2013/05/natural-gas.

Natural gas group donates $50,000 to train veterans for natural gas jobs
America’s Natural Gas Alliance recently donated $50,000 to the Support Our Troops Education Fund in Ohio. The money will go towards scholarships for Ohio veterans pursuing a career in the natural gas industry. Through a partnership with Stark State College in North Canton and Eastern Gateway Community College in Steubenville, the funds will put veterans in the ShaleNet program.
ShaleNet is a course designed to train potential workers in skills needed for the oil and gas industry. The program is a result of a grant funded by the Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. Its mission is to design a comprehensive recruitment, training, placement, and retention program for high priority jobs in the industry.
Companies involved in the oil and gas industry know they need qualified and hard-working people to fill positions that value safety as the top priority. Veterans are safety conscious, resourceful, professional, and many are trained in technical jobs.
The donation by ANGA will fund training for about 40 veterans, after which they will be top candidates for jobs in the industry. With already more than 38,000 jobs created last year, there will be plenty of jobs to pursue.
These jobs will be good paying jobs, too. The average wage for the shale gas industry is approximately $23 per hour. This is much higher than the average wage for other industries, including non-shale related production, and professional and business-service workers, ranging from $13 to $22 per hour.
Read more: http://www.eidohio.org/anga-donates-50000-to-train-veterans-for-natural-gas-jobs/.
 
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