After I had already commented on this article: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2014/03/140319-5-technologies-for-greener-fracking/#, a call went out from a fracktivist blogger that we should also blog our comments, so here is mine:
No fossil fuel can be green. Period. All of the things that are in this article have been around for several years and get trotted out by the industry to try to give themselves cover, but they are not widely implemented and some of them are not widely implementable. Fracking with gelled propane is not only more expensive, it is also much more dangerous and cannot be used close to people because of the explosion hazard. Most of the methane that leaks is not from the wells, although some is, but from processing and underground pipelines. The horrible explosion in NYC recently highlights the deplorable state of methane infrastructure in the US. The only green choice is to stop going after unconventional fossil fuels and use remaining conventional sources as we move to renewable energy sources as quickly as possible.
Below is my comment to this (Binghamton NY) Press & Sun-Bulletin guest viewpoint by Phil Kraft on the Jan. 31, 2014 presentation on the Potential of Shale Gas in New York State: http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20140212/VIEWPOINTS02/302120101/Guest-Viewpoint-Deception-surrounding-gas-drilling-offers-important-lesson?gcheck=1
I was able to attend the presentation. What most impressed me is that this presentation was based on actual production data from the Northern Tier PA counties using HVHF in the Marcellus, which was then correlated with the geologic features of the shale. Using calculations of depth, thickness, thermal maturity, and organic content, the PA well data could be projected to NYS. There were also industry maps that show the expectation of drilling companies for NY’s potential, and none of them extended much beyond the NY/PA border for either the Marcellus or the Utica. Many gas production companies have core samples of both the Marcellus and Utica because they have had to drill through them to reach the Trenton Black River formation; the companies already know which areas are too thin, too shallow, or too thermally immature or overmature to yield enough methane to justify the enormous expense of HVHF. Industry has already concentrated their drilling in PA to areas around a couple of sweet spots, one to our south in the Northern Tier, although not extending up to the NY border, and one in SW PA. Older shale plays followed a similar pattern, with drilling dispersed throughout the play initially, but then concentrating in a small area when the sweet spots were discovered.
Unfortunately, a lot of expectations are still based on the original draft SGEIS, when it was expected that shale plays would be more uniform in their production. That is why it is so important for NYers to examine the actual production results and experiences of extraction in PA, so that we have the best available data to decide what to do in NY. Everyone is invited to view a video of the presentation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKRWbyhskh8