Sunday, November 17, 2013

Popular Science Gets It Wrong On Fracking

Popular Science did a myth busting article about Fracking.  They got most of it right but the two cases where they busted myths were actually wrong.  Publishing being what it is you simply can't produce an article called "Is Fracking Safe?  The Top 10 Claims about Natural Gas Drilling" and then say each and every claim is true.  One look at the comments shows why a know nothing editor would think this way.

They quote the esteemed Senator Inhofe in Claim #4. 

"[There's] never been one case -documented case- of groundwater contamination in the history of the thousands and thousands of hydraulic fracturing [wells]"
The Senator may have been talking specifically about his own state because its actually in the millions of wells.  It has been done safely for decades in North America.  The environmentalist issue with Fracking is a akin to being anti glass because glass can be sharp, except that in this analogy glass never was broken even once.

Popular Science decided the Senator is incorrect because of cases of surface spills.  I'm sorry a spill is not fracking.  You can't say a spill at the surface has anything to do with the actual fracking.  If that were true then you would have to blame the Exxon Valdez spill on fracking as well.  Yes that oil too was produced from wells that were fracked. 

Spills happen.  Its same as spilling milk in your kitchen.  You could blame yourself or you could try and trace it back to fracking somehow.  Every industrial process faces the risk of a spill.  Even a maple syrup spill can contaminate ground water in the right circumstance. 

The false claim that fracking contaminates drinking water is easily disproved.  Environmentalists think that fracking is the problem.  They think, or at least want you to think, that there is some new thing about fracking other than the ability to do it along the length of horizontal section of a wellbore. 

To their credit Popular Science goes on to state that:
"The idea stressed by fracking critics that deep-injected fluids will migrate into groundwater is mostly false. Basic geology prevents such contamination from starting below ground. A fracture caused by the drilling process would have to extend through the several thousand feet of rock that separate deep shale gas deposits from freshwater aquifers. According to geologist Gary Lash of the State University of New York at Fredonia, the intervening layers of rock have distinct mechanical properties that would prevent the fissures from expanding a mile or more toward the surface. It would be like stacking a dozen bricks on top of each other, he says, and expecting a crack in the bottom brick to extend all the way to the top one. What's more, the fracking fluid itself, thickened with additives, is too dense to ascend upward through such a channel.
Its a great explanation.  Its like stepping on thin ice.  The pressure on your foot causes fine cracks to shoot off throughout the ice.  Environmentalists imagine that somehow the cracks in the ice would propagate into the surrounding shore or even chunks of ice lying on top of the ice that you've cracked. 

How about taking a sledge hammer to the sidewalk outside?  The sidewalk would crack on the first strike, but those cracks don't continue into the ground and right up the side of your house.  Its the same with fracking except we are talking about cracks deeper than Mount Assiniboine is tall.  You are now smarter than David Suzuki. 

The other claim is # 7 and it concerns a botched cement job.  Here is the picture they show in Popular Science.  (not to scale!)

The red line shows the path of methane into ground water as a result of a poor cement job.  The operating company is liable for sloppy work in the same way a construction company is liable for an unsafe bridge.  Something similar happened in the BP disaster a couple of years ago.  Again it has nothing at all to do with fracking. 

This problem is the result of sloppy drilling.  A poorly cemented well is at risk if the well is fracked or not.  These drilling techniques have been in use for a century.  There is no excuse and no tolerance for this kind of screw up which is completely independent of fracking. 

The same problem can occur when drilling for Hydrocarbons, Uranium, Potash, water, or even Geo-Thermal energy.  David Suzuki supports Geo-thermal and therefore Suzuki is fine with the minuscule risk of a botched well construction. 

If you like winning arguments with brainless leftard eco-nuts, fracking is the subject for you.  Every one of their objections to fracking can only be argued from the point of ignorance. 

I am not paid to tell you any of this.  I do it because I want my country to grow and prosper.  My child should have the same optimistic and bountiful future that we all were blessed with. 

Right now, I can look out my kitchen window and see a drilling rig gloriously steaming away in the brisk winter sunshine.  I get nothing from my local drilling rig other than a deep sense of satisfaction.  Let's replace NIMBY with PIMBY: Please In My Back Yard.  Eastern provinces have access to shale gas as well.  While there is no shortage of gas I still want to spread this bounty far and wide. 

Oil is found in the minds of men.  Find the treasure in your mind. 

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