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Fairy tales of US energy independence from natgas.

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Fairy tales of US energy independence from natgas.

Postby TaffyJ » Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:01 am

We've been hearing stories about how all this wonderful shale fuel and fraking are going to save America and bring us to energy independence to the pooint that we'll actually be EXPORTING natural gas. It's funny how huge LNG facilities are being approved and built, controversial pipelines are pushed through, and the news is all unicorns and rainbows about us now having 'enough natural gas to last hundreds of years.'

But there's a problem with that pipe dream.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-10-0 ... as-miracle

The wells are petering out in the second year. It seems that they spend a whole bunch of money exploring and paying leases, drilling and building wells, and then they only get a year or two of use out of them. That's a lot of capital wasted with not enough return, and companies are not finding it profitable. If companies aren't making a profit, then it won't happen. Unless it gets subsidized, and then the loss is shifted to the tax payer.

Certainly not cotton candy, roses, and energy independence. The wells they've tried in China are performing the same way, too. We are speeding toward that brick wall and ideas of a technological save are failing.
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Re: Fairy tales of US energy independence from natgas.

Postby Gunns » Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:33 am

I think there is a lot more energy to be had in North America. For instance we, by we I mean my family own some acreage out west and own the mineral rights. All the land around us is held by the feds ours was the only 99 year lease available back in the 1800's that was in private hands. When that lease expired we filed a quick claim and after years in court now own 100% of the mineral rights. But we can't get anyone interested in drilling. Ours would be a monopoly on one of the biggest untapped oil reserves out west and the oil companies hate that, so they fight us all the time trying to get something going.

So in short, there is a lot of oil to be had, but its located in areas that the feds will not allow drilling for a bunch of reasons.

Also note, new technology has to be developed to replace fossil fuels and we are about 30 years behind the needed research due to American politics of the 70's, 80's and 90's. Most research into viable Fusion or other techs were shut down by our own Gov. Many say it was for budget reasons, but the reality of it is that the oil companies felt threatened by new tech power systems.
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Re: Fairy tales of US energy independence from natgas.

Postby TaffyJ » Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:59 am

Gunns, I can't say that I agree with you on this one. I think the money goes where the profit is to be had. If a mineral prospector finds something that could be profitable, they'll find a way to exploit it. The very fact that major companies are wasting billions of dollars on low-return ventures tells us that we are already sucking fumes. If there was more profitable stuff to be had, they'd be having it. As things get more desperate, if there is anything of value to be had in currently off limits lands, they will open up out of necessity.

Do you mean a quit-claim? I'm sorry if I misunderstand. I've not heard of a quick claim. That sounds frustratingly un-quick if it took years. If you can't get anyone interested in drilling, then they know what's down there and they know its not worth the money and effort required at current market prices, for your given situation. If prices go up, you may be in luck.

I find myself on both sides of the fence on a lot of energy issues. I own mineral rights myself, yet I hate the idea that our landscape and other natural resources like clean water and air are being damaged by the way we extract and handle hydrocarbons. There are many sinkholes in Louisiana and Oklahoma and other places where we've literally destabilized the ground under our feet to the degree that it's swallowing homes and parts of towns. Yet, I recognize that we live in a hydrocarbon economy and that's not going to change until its not profitable anymore.

As you said, we should have made a move on alternatives long ago, but we haven't. I'm hoping that the very petro-chem corporations which bought all the alternative energy and efficiency patents will use their considerable brand recognition and resources to bring those processes and products online as they are needed. When the hydrocarbon shell game is no longer profitable, these companies will want to stay relevant and in business, so it benefits them to be working on alternatives behind the scenes and to have them ready for a phase-in when some pre-determined level of profitability is reached.

I no longer believe that 'there's gold in them there hills, but the darn varmints won't let us at it!' All political parties are up for sale at the right price in cash or favors. If they wanted to drill offshore in Florida or on federal lands, they would. And they will. I think more along the lines that they've done exploration by satellite and know that there's nothing down there worth going after yet.
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Re: Fairy tales of US energy independence from natgas.

Postby anita » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:27 pm

Not an expert on shale gas/oil, but the thing that struck me is that the article doesn't talk about how gas prices are at historic lows. If/when the price goes up, the economics changes. A lot of wells are being drilled/capped, just waiting for the price to increase.
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Re: Fairy tales of US energy independence from natgas.

Postby daaswampman » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:50 pm

There is plenty of energy for those that can afford it. Abundant cheap energy is another matter. The problem is our entire standard of living depends on abundant cheap energy. Same thing for water and food. I know many will disagree, but energy, food, and water are all cheap by historical standards (the amount of human energy required to obtain it). Enjoy it while you can as it will not last. I can buy fifty pounds of rice for eighteen bucks. Try growing it for the energy it took to earn that eighteen bucks. A gallon of gas will take you thirty miles and cost thirty minutes of effort even at minimum wage. Try walking that thirty miles. We are a bunch of spoiled brats, but that is about to end. Swamp
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Re: Fairy tales of US energy independence from natgas.

Postby TaffyJ » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:52 pm

Exactly, anita. For example, an energy company paid us well last year to lease our land for horizontal drilling. They paid everybody around here a lot of money, and haven't drilled the first well. I guess they are waiting, and have a strategy. The productive life of these wells is so short, they're likely going to stagger extraction once prices are higher to maintain some predictable level of flow. I haven't a clue when prices will rise.

Natural gas is good for generating electric power, but that doesn't help the transportation sector. We'd need a massive infrastructure change which doesn't appear to be happening. We may be able to keep the lights on, but if we can't get food to the stores or people to work in the morning, what good do lights do, cause we can't pay the utility bills! We will still need gasoline and diesel, which arent' products of natural gas. So I don't understand the hype of natural gas as being all that helpful. I can't fuel my car with natural gas, and don't know anyone who does.

Tar sands crude is hardly crude at all. It's more like asphalt. Where are we, that we're refining something like asphalt to put gas in the tank? Desperate, that's where.
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Re: Fairy tales of US energy independence from natgas.

Postby Tinga » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:09 pm

Instead of the "Making/getting MORE" mindset, we should all be looking to the " Use/do with LESS".
We are approaching the energy problem from a NATIONAL standpoint. HOW are we going to provide the NATION with this new energy. Bring the scale down a bit. More localized, smaller bites so to speak. States/communities/towns.
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Re: Fairy tales of US energy independence from natgas.

Postby TaffyJ » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:27 pm

Yes, local sourcing solves a lot of transportation problems, but then you can't have bananas. We will have to adjust.

I love prepper fiction, especially Jerry Young's stuff, but it's always rang a bit false when I've read the bits where the prepper boss man stores up hundreds of gallons of fuel and stabilizes it and is supposed to live happily ever after on that. I see us with a VERY slim chance of some alternative energy saving us, but most likely reverting to man and animal power, aided by simple mechanics.

I think most Americans would rather live in a horror film than contemplate reverting back to a simpler lifestyle without modern conveniences. But there is a feeling of deep satisfaction in having done something the old way.
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Re: Fairy tales of US energy independence from natgas.

Postby Pedro wyoming » Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:05 pm

But, but stop the subsidies to big oil! Royal Shell is pulling out because we are not subsidising the necessary exploration. Exxon made a gazillion dollar in profits...but nobody seems interested that the majors are pulling out of expensive production fields because there is no profit in them,

Now we reap what we have sown. There is no public service exploration company and you are dependent on the majors which are stockholder owned. No stockholder is gonna act in your interest. They are in this to make money and if the margins are not high enough to justify the risk, they aint drilling.
Here are some links from the EIA. About as impartial of an opinion as is possible on the actual reserves that are available. Keep in mind that just because the oil and gas is proven does not mean that they will be tapped at today's market price. Some of these reservoirs are not profitable until the price of oil is $120/bbl or higher. At that price we will be in another recession just like '08.

http://www.eia.gov/naturalgas/crudeoilreserves/

http://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/hist/rngr11nus_1a.htm

As you can see the proven fields are up substantially over the last 10 years. Prices have remained flat and there are vast fields that are drilled and setting idle or at diminished output because the prices remain low. Another little hiccup in the gas market was the delay in getting the gas to market because of permitting problems building pipelines.
You cannot have it both ways. Either you pay for the fuel or there will be none available.

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Re: Fairy tales of US energy independence from natgas.

Postby anita » Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:46 pm

TaffyJ wrote:Exactly, anita. For example, an energy company paid us well last year to lease our land for horizontal drilling. They paid everybody around here a lot of money, and haven't drilled the first well. I guess they are waiting, and have a strategy. The productive life of these wells is so short, they're likely going to stagger extraction once prices are higher to maintain some predictable level of flow. I haven't a clue when prices will rise.

Natural gas is good for generating electric power, but that doesn't help the transportation sector. We'd need a massive infrastructure change which doesn't appear to be happening. We may be able to keep the lights on, but if we can't get food to the stores or people to work in the morning, what good do lights do, cause we can't pay the utility bills! We will still need gasoline and diesel, which arent' products of natural gas. So I don't understand the hype of natural gas as being all that helpful. I can't fuel my car with natural gas, and don't know anyone who does.

Tar sands crude is hardly crude at all. It's more like asphalt. Where are we, that we're refining something like asphalt to put gas in the tank? Desperate, that's where.


Actually some transportation is starting to switch to gas. Trains are, some trucks are. Look at Westport, which makes engines that run on NG

http://www.westport.com/is/natural-gas/
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Re: Fairy tales of US energy independence from natgas.

Postby TaffyJ » Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:27 pm

Some transprotation. Only a little. UPS has trucks in its fleet that are electric, too. About 4 of them, last I heard. I probably know a few hundred people. None of them drive natural gas vehicles. Does a natural gas truck look different than a diesel truck on the highway? Could you tell by looking, as in does it have a proud sign in the side or back announcing that its a natural gas vehicle? I haven't noticed any natural gas vehicles on the roads or highways, and I look at little things like that, like out of state plates, hybrid cars, strange looking cars or parts on them.
Are these natural gas vehicles an east coast/west coast thing? I'll go do a little reading on it myself.
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Re: Fairy tales of US energy independence from natgas.

Postby TaffyJ » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:00 pm

There aren't natural gas trains yet. One company, BNSF, says it will begin testing a train engine soon. There are gas garbage trucks, of course, because landfills create methane, which can be converted and used as vehicle fuel. It makes sense to capture it and use it. It's smart. I found mention of urban transit systems using natural gas, and some commercial vehicle fleets. That's great, because the mass transit of people and goods is where it can make the most impact. But it's still a very small percentage of our transportation needs. It will be interesting to see if natural gas really takes off as a signifigant transportation fuel, or if the industry insiders know that its a flash in the pan and it's not worth the expense of a switch over.

In the meantime, those of us who don't live in cities with mass transit will need to be mindful of our budgets. I'm not thinking a magic pill is going to show up and save us. If it was, it should have already.
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Re: Fairy tales of US energy independence from natgas.

Postby Pedro wyoming » Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:25 pm

TaffyJ wrote:Some transprotation. Only a little. UPS has trucks in its fleet that are electric, too. About 4 of them, last I heard. I probably know a few hundred people. None of them drive natural gas vehicles. Does a natural gas truck look different than a diesel truck on the highway? Could you tell by looking, as in does it have a proud sign in the side or back announcing that its a natural gas vehicle? I haven't noticed any natural gas vehicles on the roads or highways, and I look at little things like that, like out of state plates, hybrid cars, strange looking cars or parts on them.
Are these natural gas vehicles an east coast/west coast thing? I'll go do a little reading on it myself.

Some after market conversions have tank in the bed of the truck. All factory refits have the tank under the bed just like a gasoline tank. Most new retrofits are inconspicuous from their gasoline or diesel powered counterparts. Some have a little green leaf to indicate environmentally friendly.

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Re: Fairy tales of US energy independence from natgas.

Postby TaffyJ » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:41 pm

That's what I mean. I've seen those little green leaves. Though I don't know how anyone can consider hydro fraking environmentally friendly. But then, neither is mountaintop removal.
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Re: Fairy tales of US energy independence from natgas.

Postby Tinga » Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:24 am

Only "alternative" fueled vehicle I've seen hands on is a propane powered buggy/rock crawler.
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