Alternatives to water usage, such as fracturing with propane

In light of the proposal to ban hydraulic fracturing in France, I have been doing some digging of my own to investigate what the alternatives may be for the gas industry.

From the website un-naturalgas.org I came across this useful summary :-

what about alternatives to water usage, such as fracturing with propane?

“A few “eco-friendly” fracturing schemes are out and about, but they all come with some issues.

“Propane is a gas at ordinary pressures, but can be fairly easily liquefied with pressure. It is, of course, a fossil fuel itself. Using propane would get around using millions of gallons of water, but would not deal with some real technological challenges. First, in order to suspend sand or other proppants, liquid propane needs to be thickened, typically by foaming agents like peroxide. Using peroxide requires the addition of even more corrosion inhibitors than when water is used, and biocides are still required to control microbe growth. (I’ve heard misinformation that fracking with propane requires no chemical additives; that’s just not true.)

“The use of propane introduces new problems with controlling a pressurized liquid that quickly turns to a gas when the pressure is released. It’s not easy or cheap, and a lot of gas escapes into the atmosphere. This is a greenhouse gas, though not as potent as carbon dioxide (another [so-called] “green” fracking fluid candidate) or methane.

“And none of these exotic “fluids under pressure” help with the toxicity of the deep brines that still flow out of gas well bores. These brines continue to be among the greatest waste problems faced by the industry.”

– Ron Bishop,
lecturer in chemistry and biochemistry at
State University New York

Further observations from un-naturalgas.org:

  • The only benefit of fracturing with propane and other gases would be the apparent elimination of water usage for the hydraulic fracturing phase of well development.
  • Water would still be required for parts of the drilling phase.
  • Frequently, one of the key problems caused by gas extraction, groundwater contamination, takes place during the drilling phase, prior to fracking. There are multiple opportunities for groundwater contamination to occur during the drilling phase, starting with the very first stage, which necessarily takes place with no casing in place yet, as lengths of casing can only be inserted after sections of the borehole are drilled out.
  • Regardless of the method used to complete (or ‘frack’) a well, the overall footprint of industrial impacts on the landscape, and on future options for land use, remain the same: the same number of pipeyards/chemical storage sites, access roads, well pads, compressor stations, pipelines, and gas processing units.

So merely reducing the amount of water hauled to the site for fracturing would leave in place most of the major problems associated with petro-methane extraction.

Posted in Elsewhere, France, Shale Gas Info | 4 Comments

Fracking debate in France leading nowhere

As the assembly debates it ‘urgently’ It seems to me that the changes to the wording of the proposed law to now ban hydraulic fracturing as a technique rather than shale gas exploration/extraction as a whole is going to get us nowhere.

Could it possibly be that the gas industry lobbyists are having a laugh ?

The current proposal doesn’t look like it will get the support of the greens and the socialists. With the UMP majority it may get passed into law, but what’s the point?

If hydraulic fracturing is banned, what are the alternatives?

Here’s one possibility :Cavitation Hydrovibration
Shaken, but not stirred?

Or perhaps using a cocktail of compressed gas foam or jelly and additives doesn’t count as hydraulic fracturing?
Gasfracking
– All hot air?

I’m quite sure that GDF Suez, Total and so on are capable of proposing these or other techniques to get around having their permits repealed.

The thing is, it’s not just the technique of hydraulic fracturing that is the problem.

Even if it possible to extract gas or oil from shale without the use of harmful chemicals or huge quantities of water, drilling deep, drilling horizontally and fracturing the shale to release the gas will still have the following problems (in no particular order):

  • Proliferation of well heads requiring deforestation and new roads, creating a visual blight to the environment which would negatively affect tourism and property values.
  • Heavy traffic to support the drilling and extraction, noise, light pollution, dust, road wear….
  • The material displaced by drilling is brought to the surface as some kind of mud or fragments of rock and must be disposed of. This may contain naturally occurring toxins such as radioactivity.
  • Equipment failures and well casing failures may lead to methane or other contamination of water supplies.
  • Some means of storing, processing and transporting the gas must be created – this means either more industrialization at or near well sites or the laying of pipelines or massive road transport.
  • Gas is a fossil fuel that is touted as being greener than coal, but it does have a big carbon footprint. The investment in this will take investment and focus away from renewables.
  • Fracturing activities may generate further unwanted geological faults, allowing seepage of methane to aquifers. It may also instigate seismic activity.
  • Fossil fuels are finite resources. We need to find alternatives sooner rather than later. Future generations will thank us for not squandering every accessible drop of oil and gas.

There may be more….

Setting fire to your tap water is still a possibility…..

Why don’t they simply
Say NO to Shale Gas: it’s not just a fracking problem

Posted in France | Tagged | 2 Comments

Urgent please act – 9th May

Thanks to SchisteHappens for this information. Act Today!

The government are starting to backtrack on what said they would do – that is put a stop to gaz de schiste. While this is no great surprise, they must be told that we have noticed and are not happy.

Christian Jacob’s bill to repeal the permits allowing exploration and exploitation of shale gas in France will be debated by the National Assembly this Tuesday and Wednesday (10th and 11th May).

The original bill has been substantially reduced and now gives the permit holders two months to explain which technique they intend to use. This means that if the companies come up with any method other than hydraulic fracturing, they will retain their licenses without further inquiry.

This revised draft of the bill does not do what we were led to believe and opens the door for petroleum companies to retain the permits and begin drilling.

The text of the email tells the assembly members that this is unacceptable.

We do not have much time. Please send your email TODAY and pass it on to your email contacts

It only takes 3 steps – or fewer if you use Word and Outlook -see below.

Do you use MS Word and Outlook?
If you use MS Word and Outlook this link
Lettre Assemblée National re 10 May 2011  will / may / should open as an email. Then all you need to do is add your name and address and press SEND. If it does not work follow the three steps below:

1. Please copy this text to a new email:

Mesdames, Messieurs,
Je vous prie de bien vouloir voter la Proposition de Loi de M. Christian Jacob visant à abroger les permis exclusifs de recherches d’hydrocarbures non conventionnels et à interdire leur exploration et leur exploitation sur le territoire national, déposée le 31 mars 2011 telle qu’elle a été présentée, sans tenir compte des amendements proposés par la Commission du Développement Durable, amendements qui dénaturent et tronquent les textes de la-dite Proposition, ouvrant ainsi la route, sans consultation publique, aux titulaires de permis pour commencer, dans deux mois, l’exploration du gaz de schiste en France.

Your Name and address / nom et adresse

2. Add your name and address where indicated.

3. Then copy and paste these addresses into the To field:
cjacob@assemblee-nationale.fr
jmayrault@assemblee-nationale.fr

ycochet@assemblee-nationale.fr
fsauvadet@assemblee-nationale.fr
webmestre@assemblee-nationale.fr

and hit SEND

This will send the email to:

Groupe Union pour un Mouvement Populaire

Groupe socialiste, radical, citoyen et divers gauche
Groupe de la gauche démocrate et républicaine

Groupe du Nouveau Centre

Députés non inscrits

Many thanks from all at Schiste Happens

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Panel to set new standards for US gas extraction

In the New York Times of 6th May is a report about the Obama administration forming a panel of experts to form new standards for gas extraction, to find ways to make hydraulic fracturing safer and cleaner.

Already the industry stooges in the Republican party are saying that new standards are not necessary and they will be a waste of time and resources. Hello – are you not noticing all the problems, the stifling air, the spills, the water problems, the difficulties of cleaning the water, preserving the environment?

Read the NY Times report here

Posted in Elsewhere | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Wording of proposed law watered down

As I suspected, at the meeting on 4th May, the wording of the proposed law to ban fracking has been modified before the reading on 10th. The part about public consultation has been removed and other changes made. As I understand it, hydraulic fracturing is still to be banned, but the door is left open for other possible techniques of extraction in future. An annual report on new techniques is suggested. No changes to the ‘code minier’ will be made. Companies with existing permits will be given 2 months after the law is introduced to submit their proposed methods of extraction.
See the report here
This will be presented to parliament on 10th May.

I also noted on the ministry website that NKM has launched an initiative about Carbon Capture and Storage. See here – what’s this got to do with shale gas? Well if they start using gas instead of nuclear then CCS will be essential. Oh and they just might use depleted gas wells for storing the CO2 in……

Say NO to Shale Gas – say it LOUD in case they aren’t really listening.

Posted in France | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Can the fracking water be cleaned?

An article in Forbes is looking at ways to clean water that is recovered during fracking, so that it can be safely returned to the water supply.

All well and good, but basically it just shows us that at the moment, they DON’T have proven technologies for properly cleaning produced water and despite claims that there are no documented cases of water contamination (because you can’t test for additives that haven’t been disclosed), we all know that what is being returned is not what we want to find in our drinking water.

So maybe (at a price) some progress can be made on the post fracking cleanup of water – but as one commentator says, this doesn’t solve the problem of the water that is left underground, which may eventually meander it’s way into aquifers or ground water.

Say NO to Shale Gas. Because what you can’t see – or treat – is the poison underground.

Posted in Elsewhere | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Bringing issues to the surface

That well blowout in Bradford County on April 19 has brought more than just contaminated water to the surface. The time it takes to get an expert response team on site in the event of an accident could be a major factor in controlling environmental damage.
ProPublica reports here

Looking ahead to possible scenarios in France – where would the expert response teams have to come from? The US? Poland? That’s a big risk of turning a drama into a crisis. Who should be in charge of managing an ‘event’?

I find it very troubling that this ‘mature’ industry that is using such ‘proven’ technology is so slow to get such an incident under control. And still there are issues about disclosure. How can an independent body say there is no cause for concern if they can’t test for specific contaminants ?

Say NO to Shale Gas. Because the experts are still making mistakes.

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Total investing in solar power

Can they see the writing on the wall? Total is buying in to solar energy with purchase of 60% of US solar panel manufacturer SunPower – let’s hope that their investment will bring renewables back into focus as the way forward
read article in the Guardian

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Why say NO?

I’m working on a list of reasons…. Please let me know if there are more that I should add. Meanwhile, let’s have some fun here, tell me how many of these points you agree with.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Schiste Happens…

Have just realised why the terminlogy has been changed to “hydrocarbures de roche-mère”…..

Do watch this short clip of Fillon trying to say schiste….

Say NO to Shale Gas … it’s easier than saying non au gaz de shit

(Hey, it’s a holiday, we can’t be serious every day)

Posted in France | 3 Comments