Tuesday, April 29, 2014

'Straight From The Horse's Mouth': Former Oil Exec Says Fracking Not Safe

'Straight From The Horse's Mouth': Former Oil Exec Says Fracking Not Safe

In a message “straight from the horse’s mouth,” a former oil executive on Tuesday urged New York state to pass a ban on the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, saying, ‘it is not safe.’

In this March 25, 2014 photo, a machine mixes sand and water, left, before it is pumped underground during a hydraulic fracturing operation at an Encana Corp. well pad near Mead, Colo. (AP/Brennan Linsley)
“Making fracking safe is simply not possible, not with the current technology, or with the inadequate regulations being proposed,” Louis Allstadt, former executive vice president of Mobil Oil, said during a news conference in Albany called by the anti-fracking group Elected Officials to Protect New York.
Up until his retirement in 2000, Allstadt spent 31 years at Mobil, running its marketing and refining division in Japan and managing Mobil’s worldwide supply, trading and transportation operations. After retiring to Cooperstown, NY, Allstadt said he began studying fracking after friends asked him if he thought it would be safe to have gas wells drilled by nearby Lake Otsego, where Allstadt has a home. Since that time, he’s become a vocal opponent of the shale oil and gas drilling technique.
“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, adding that a fracked well can require 50 to 100 times the water and chemicals compared to non-fracked wells.
He also noted that methane, up to 30 times more potent of a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, is found to be leaking from fracked wells “at far greater rates than were previously estimated.”


  1. Organized content is the best way to display or post an article, thank you for making it easy to digest your

    Hydraulic oil

  2. Talk about "you're dreaming"

    Bloomberg and Krupp try to make a case for safe fracking and in the process prove it is just not do-able.

    One of the most naïve pieces of journalism ever.


    The Right Way to Develop Shale Gas


    LISTENING to the polarized energy debate in the United States, you might think natural gas was an economic and geopolitical cure-all — or an environmental curse. Too many oil and gas executives behave as if this newly abundant resource, released from underground shale deposits by the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, has no environmental challenges. Opponents often act as if it has no economic and environmental benefits.

    So here’s a reality check. The shale gas boom is indeed lowering energy costs, creating new jobs, boosting domestic manufacturing and delivering some measurable environmental benefits as well. Unlike coal, natural gas produces minuscule amounts of such toxic air pollutants as sulfur dioxide and mercury when burned — so the transition from coal- to natural-gas-fired electricity generation is improving overall air quality, which improves public health. There’s also a potential climate benefit, since natural-gas-fired plants emit roughly half the carbon dioxide of coal-fired ones.

    At the same time, opposition to shale gas development is driven by very real instances of localized air and groundwater pollution. Because of intensive shale-gas development, the small town of Pinedale, Wyo., has experienced smog concentrations comparable to those of Los Angeles. The industry asserts that hydraulic fracturing does not contaminate water supplies when fluids are shot at high pressure into shale deposits to release gas. But inspection records in several states show that mistakes or accidents in other phases of the process — poor well construction or surface spills, for example — have done so.

    These environmental concerns are having a major impact on public opinion. A poll by the Pew Research Center last fall found that 49 percent of those surveyed opposed the increased use of hydraulic fracturing, while 44 percent supported it. These views are leading communities and even states to keep out the industry. In 2010, New York, one of four states sitting atop an estimated 141 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation, became the first state to impose a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. Last year in Colorado, four cities voted to prohibit it. If opponents have their way, a statewide measure restricting the process will be on the Colorado ballot this fall.

    There’s also a growing awareness today of another serious problem with natural gas development: methane emissions, which can undo the potential climate benefit of natural gas. Though it burns cleaner than coal, uncombusted natural gas is mostly methane, a greenhouse gas 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after it is released. Estimates vary widely about how much methane is being leaked or vented during the production and transportation of natural gas, but there is no doubt that methane emissions need to be measured and reduced.

    This is essentially a data acquisition and management problem — the kind that we know we can solve. For instance, after New York City’s health department installed 150 air-quality monitors throughout the city in 2008, a startling fact emerged: Dirty heating oil caused more soot pollution than all the cars and trucks in the city combined. The resulting Clean Heat program helped drive down sulfur dioxide pollution by nearly 70 percent and soot levels by almost 25 percent by helping the worst polluting buildings switch to cleaner fuels.

    Continue reading the main story

    Continue reading the main story

    The same data-driven approach can reduce air and water pollution from shale gas drilling, by requiring operators and regulators to identify and correct hot spots. We have the technology to do this. But we can’t manage what we don’t measure.

  3. The Right Way to Develop Shale Gas

    Strong rules and enforcement are critical. And, as one of us, Fred Krupp, describes in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, states are beginning to take action. Texas has imposed tough standards for well integrity, a key to groundwater protection. Wyoming has set strong requirements for water testing before drilling begins. Ohio is emerging as a leader in reducing air pollution from leaky oil and gas equipment. And in February, Colorado became the first state to directly regulate methane emissions from oil and gas operations — a huge step forward.
    Continue reading the main story Write A Comment
    After Gov. John Hickenlooper declared “zero tolerance” for methane, three of Colorado’s largest oil and gas producers worked with the Environmental Defense Fund to develop a proposal that shaped the state’s final rules. The new rules will also remove 90,000 tons of smog-forming volatile organic compounds — about what the state’s cars and trucks discharge each year — and 100,000 tons of methane from the industry’s emissions.

    Reducing air pollution makes good business sense. Why waste natural gas, when capturing emissions and reducing leaks is so cost effective? E.D.F. recently commissioned a study that evaluated currently available measures to reduce methane emissions. The measures could cut emissions by 40 percent over five years — at a cost of less than a penny per thousand cubic feet of gas produced, which today costs between $4 and $5.

    Now the Obama administration is developing a methane-reduction strategy. We’re confident the Environmental Protection Agency will recognize, as Colorado did, that sensible rules are necessary and affordable, and will work with states to write them. And we hope that as in Colorado, industry leaders, elected officials and environmentalists will work together to make shale gas development safer. Doing so will not only help the industry meet reasonable pollution limits, it will help the industry regain public trust.

    Michael R. Bloomberg, mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013, is the founder of Bloomberg L.P. and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Fred Krupp is president of the Environmental Defense Fund.


    Being as doing all that is completely impossible for a number of reasons I guess NY is safe from fracking.

  4. When those fools wanted to build the doomed gas plant at JPP much was said of the effect the pollution would have on surrounding areas that were against it.

    An interesting development on this issue in the US.


    Keeping Track: Air Pollution and Drones


    Justices Back Rule Limiting Coal Pollution

    WASHINGTON — In a major victory for the Obama administration, the Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the smog from coal plants that drifts across state lines from 27 Midwestern and Appalachian states to the East Coast.

    The 6-to-2 ruling bolsters the centerpiece of President Obama’s environmental agenda: a series of new regulations aimed at cutting pollution from coal-fired power plants. Republicans and the coal industry have criticized the regulations, which use the Clean Air Act as their legal authority, as a “war on coal.” The industry has waged an aggressive legal battle to undo the rules.

    Legal experts said the decision, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, signals that the Obama administration’s efforts to use the Clean Air Act to fight global warming could withstand legal challenges.

    In June, the E.P.A. is expected to propose a sweeping new Clean Air Act regulation to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping greenhouse gas that scientists say is the chief cause of climate change. Coal plants are the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

    “It’s a big win for the E.P.A., and not just because it has to do with this rule,” said Jody Freeman, director of the environmental law program at Harvard. “It’s the fact that it’s setting the stage and creating momentum for what’s to come.”

    If the Supreme Court had decided against the Obama administration in Tuesday’s decision, Ms. Freeman said, “it would have been a shot across the bow to the E.P.A. as it takes the next steps” toward putting out the climate change regulations.

    The Supreme Court decision is only the latest blow to coal. Also on Tuesday, a Federal District Court ordered the E.P.A. to propose by Dec. 1 a new nationwide regulation to rein in smog pollution from coal-fired power plants and other major polluters. This rule would come on top of the regulation covering cross-state air pollution.

    The E.P.A. had been preparing to issue that regulation in 2011, but President Obama told the agency to delay it after his advisers warned that it could hurt his re-election chances in coal-reliant swing states like Ohio.

    Two weeks ago, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld another major E.P.A. Clean Air Act rule that would cut coal-plant pollution from mercury.

    “Today’s Supreme Court decision is a resounding victory for public health and a key component of E.P.A.’s efforts to make sure all Americans have clean air to breathe,” Gina McCarthy, the E.P.A. administrator, said in a statement. She added that “the court’s finding also underscores the importance of basing the agency’s efforts on strong legal foundations and sound science.”

    The interstate air pollution regulation, also known as the “good neighbor” rule, has pitted Rust Belt and Appalachian states like Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky against East Coast states like New York and Connecticut.

  5. Justices Back Rule Limiting Coal Pollution

    In its arguments before the court, the E.P.A. said the rules were necessary to protect the health and the environment of downwind states. East Coast states in particular are vulnerable to pollution blown by the prevailing west-to-east winds of the United States. The soot and smog produced by coal plants are linked to asthma, lung disease and premature death.

    In her decision, Justice Ginsburg noted that in reining in interstate pollution, regulators must account for the vagaries of the wind. “Some pollutants stay within upwind states’ borders, the wind carries others to downwind states, and some subset of that group drifts to states without air quality problems,” she wrote, adding a biblical quotation from the Book of John: “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth.”

    In a dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, said the regulation was unwieldy and suggested it was Marxist. As written, the regulation will require upwind polluting states to cut pollution in relation to the amounts of pollution each state produces, but also as a proportion of how affordably a state can make the cuts. In other words, states that are able to more cost-effectively reduce pollution will be required to cut more of it.

    “I fully acknowledge that the proportional-reduction approach will demand some complicated computations where one upwind state is linked to multiple downwind states and vice versa,” Justice Scalia wrote.

    “I am confident, however, that E.P.A.’s skilled number-crunchers can adhere to the statute’s quantitative (rather than efficiency) mandate by crafting quantitative solutions. Indeed, those calculations can be performed at the desk, whereas the ‘from each according to its ability’ approach requires the unwieldy field examination of many pollution-producing sources with many sorts of equipment,” he said, paraphrasing Karl Marx.

    Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. recused himself from the case.

    The utilities and 15 states opposed to the regulations argued that the rules, as written by the Obama administration, gave the E.P.A. too much authority and placed an unfair economic burden on the polluting states.

    The decision will force coal plant owners to install costly “scrubber” technology to curb smokestack pollution of smog-forming chemicals. Many owners have said the regulation would be so expensive to carry out that they expected to shut down their oldest and dirtiest coal plants.

    Republicans in Congress denounced the decision.

    “This is just the latest blow to jobs and affordable energy,” Representative Fred Upton, Republican of Michigan and the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Representative Edward Whitfield, Republican of Kentucky, said in a statement. Both are from states that rely heavily on cheap coal-fired electricity.

    They added: “The administration’s overreaching regulation will drive up energy costs and threaten jobs and electric reliability. We cannot allow E.P.A.’s aggressive regulatory expansion to go unchecked. We will continue our oversight of the agency and our efforts to protect American families and workers from E.P.A.’s onslaught of costly rules.”

    In 2011, the Obama administration issued the “good neighbor” rule, which was to apply to 27 states east of Nebraska — half of the country — but the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck it down, ruling that the E.P.A. had not followed the Clean Air Act when it calculated how to assign responsibility for cross-state air pollution. The Supreme Court’s ruling overturned that decision.

  6. New native title claims to exploit loophole

    Mark Schliebs |
    The Australian |
    April 30, 2014 12:00AM

    A LOOPHOLE has been exploited to effectively reverse the extinguishment of native title for land bought by the Indigenous Land Corporation.

    This is despite the federally funded corporation being established to buy land for indigenous groups that cannot receive it under the Native Title Act.

    The Australian understands that several groups are considering what other native title claims can be made over land bought by the corporation.

    A test case launched by the Adnyamathanha people of South Australia has resulted in the Federal Court ruling their extinguished native title rights to 25 parcels of land in the Flinders Ranges can be “disregarded”.

    Judge John Mansfield found that because the land was bought by the corporation in 2000 and held for the sole purpose of ­benefiting indigenous people, the group could proceed with its ­native title claim.

    The ILC had transferred the land to an Aboriginal corporation as freehold title and perpetual leases between 2001-09, but such ownership does not contain the same rights to negotiate ­royalties from resources companies as ­native title.

    There was no dispute by the South Australian government about whether native title had been extinguished, but the Federal Court had to consider whether that could be ignored as the Adnyamathanha proceeded with the claim, lodged in 2010.

    The ruling was based on section 47A of the Native Title Act, which allows for extinguishment to be “disregarded”.

    South Australian Attorney-General John Rau said the ruling suggested a new role for the ILC.

    “The state is keen to work with it where appropriate in native title claim settlements,’’ Mr Rau said.

    A spokesman for the ILC said the body has never bought land for the purpose of having ­extinguished native title rights ­restored.

    “The ILC is not involved in the prosecution of native title claims,” the spokesman said.

    He said the corporation was not troubled by the court ruling: “The land was granted by the ILC to the Adnyamathanha people for social and cultural benefits, and they will continue to hold the land for these benefits.”

    Mr Rau said the ruling would have no impact on the Moomba to Adelaide gas pipeline that runs through the land, as section 47A protects public works.

    “The state is not appealing the judgment,” Mr Rau said.

    “It was seeking clarity on the interpretation of section 47A of the Native Title Act in light of conflicting Federal Court decisions. It now has that clarity.”

    Native title expert Greg McIntyre QC, an adjunct professor at the University of Notre Dame who was part of Eddie Mabo’s legal team, said sections 47, 47A and 47B were negotiated by Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson and former prime minister Paul Keating to help address problems with extinguishment.

    Professor McIntyre said the sections allowed for land that could have been held for several generations of white pastoralists to have native title recognised.

    “Essentially, the deal was that where the land was now effectively for the benefit of Aboriginal people, that any prior extinguishment that might have occurred by other grants ... could be disregarded,” Professor McIntyre said ­yesterday. ­

    That (effectively means) that “there’s never been any extinguishment of native title”.

  7. Some choice quotes :


    "Senior Liberals have described plans for a possible deficit tax in the budget as "electoral suicide". Some talked of a party-room revolt and one warned the Prime Minister Tony Abbott would wear the broken promise as "a crown of thorns" if the government decided to go through with it."


    ""I worry that this is Tony's Gillard moment, when she announced the carbon tax," said the senior Liberal."


    ""It's just shock," the MP said. "There was no communication from the leader's office. We're all just scratching our heads. It's the biggest f----up we've had in a long time."

    "I can't say anything on the record because it's just too stupid," he said. "If it's wrong, then it's bulls--t, because why would you scare the electorate? And if it's right, then it's even worse because we said before the election there'd be no new taxes.""


    ""A tax increase is a tax increase is a tax increase."


    "Apparently a temporary tax increase is ok, so what was wrong with the temporary fixed price on carbon?"


    "Greens leader Christine Milne said her party would not support the tax proposal.

    "There is absolutely no way the Prime Minister should be trying to persuade Australians that the big miners shouldn't have to pay a profits tax but the community should make up the difference," she said.

    "We will not support [Mr Abbott's] deficit levy.""

  8. Radiation incident at CSG site

    Wednesday, 30 April 2014

    BG GROUP subsidiary QGC has revealed that four workers, half from Schlumberger and the other two from Weatherford International, were exposed to radiation at a rig south of Chinchilla in Queensland’s Surat Basin.

    A QGC spokesman told EnergyNews the workers were “briefly exposed” to a low level of radioactivity on February 28 from a common measuring device that was owned by Schlumberger.

    The rig was operated by Weatherford.

    “Our contractor has undertaken an internal investigation to prevent a recurrence and has provided this to the regulator,” QGC said.

    “Handling of these devices, which are used to determine properties of rock, is strictly controlled by regulations and our contractor’s policies and procedures.”

    QGC said medical examinations were done as a precaution and the worker’s health continues to be monitored.

    While the incident took place in late February, it was only recently revealed to local media.

    The spokesman did not reveal how many rads of radiation the workers absorbed.

  9. Ezion Sets Up Supply Base in Australia's NT to Support O&G Industry

    by Ezion Holdings Ltd.

    Press Release
    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

    Ezion Holdings Limited (Ezion or the Company and together with its subsidiaries the Group), a leading Singapore headquartered, Liftboat developer, owner and operator as well as offshore logistics support service provider, announced Tuesday that its Port Melville Port Corp in the Northern Territory of Australia has received formal notification recognizing Port Melville as a security regulated port by the Australian Government under the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 (the Act).

    Port Melville Port Corp is under the control of the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Ezion Offshore Logistics Hub (Tiwi) Pty Ltd which has been appointed as the exclusive port operator for Port Melville under the same Act.

    Captain Larry Johnson, CEO of Ezion’s Australian Operations said: “This is truly a milestone event that paves the way for commencement of phase two development that includes export of local products and a wide range of port services in support of the Oil & Gas Industry. We are grateful for the trust and support given to us by both the Australian Government and the local community. We believe this project will go a long way in enhancing the economic activity and viability of the Territory”.

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