Alexander's Commentary
Change of face - change of phase
A Future?
Climate-Change – Change of Climate
Oil-Around 2013
Finally there: The Campbell’s Atlas of Oil & Gas Depletion
New time arising
Ein heisser Herbst? (A hot Autumn?)
Where is this going? – 3
Where is this going? -2
Where is this going?
Is it important?
A Moment of Truth at Passing
The Iran Hoax
The 2012 Adventure
Solstice Greetings
Taking on the future
A new beginning
Twist and Turn
Fly-by-wire
Shale-gas: just a gas?
Little miracles, big wonders
Unconventional gas
Media-power
To Peak or not to Peak, is that the question?
Going on ...
Time for change
Economy; What Economy?
Media Noise Windfall Profit
The Winds of Change
Signs of the future?
Reality and Hope
Best Wishes
What goes around, comes around
A throughout, integrated view
Signs of change?
P.P.P. versus Need
Working for climate-change?
Good signs
Contradicting signals
All over again? The difference between perception and reality.
The paradigm, the mind-set and reality
Two minds
Positive inclination
Different values?
The long view
Leaping to the future
Contango
New signs of hope?
A message of hope?
Some good news anywhere?
A project gone awry?
Traces of light
Driving the markets II
Driving the markets
Meeting reality
Silence for the storm?
The times are changing
Refinery-runs
The Theatre
Some Questions, no answers
Ocean carbon sinks and returns
The good news, the bad and the ugly
A President speaks the truth!
Green masks
Saving us with or from bio-fuels?
The good news
Driving the oil-price?
A new dilemma?
Kenya: a new oil-frontier?
Forecasting a trend?
Some early signs for 2008
2007; A year to remember
The good news
A bit of a shock II
Fraud alert - bogus job ads
A bit of a shock
A simple but far-reaching idea
Hype, Realism, Convergence
Energy-security?
A touch of globality
Climate change and changing the climate
Refineries, Biofuels and internal demand
Figures, figures & figures
Pipelines, Biofuels & Reserves
Expectation, projections, contradictions.
Ponder
A box of Pandora?
Changing systems
A dynamical environment
Projections and reality
Changing reality
A different reality II
A different reality
PPP: Prices, poverty and politics
A whirling 2007
The year of shifting balances
One world, two systems?
Oil and development?
The year 2065?
Mixed signals II
Mixed signals
Trust
Awakening
A War on hold?
No Comment
Changing balances
Truth or Deception?
A fresh overview
Bigger picture first
National Interests vs. Shareholders Value
Fear??
'The Dialogue'
Consumption
Do we actually need to worry?
 

Shale-gas: just a gas?

Since quite a few months the energy-world is being battered with news and articles about the new kid on the bloc: shale-gas. It would change the geopolitics, it will change the supply-patterns and it will make certain countries not dependent anymore on others, changing the have-nots into have'rs.

But is this actually a reality picture of the situation?

True; the unconventional gas-business is booming in the USA and has made it, for now, the biggest gas-producer in the world. Recently it has been discovered that quite a few other countries have also potentially huge shale-gas presences, be it in Europe, especially in Eastern Europe, or India or China, as well as several other countries that seem to be lucky. All are now frantically looking at the potentially huge reserves that may be changing the future of their country.

But that is only one side of the picture: the rosy side. The other side of the coin is something we do not hear much about, which is why it is highlighted here, for those that want to be able to form up a closer-to-reality-picture.

The other side of the coin is, that for shale-gas to be exploited in a 'meaningful' way, it needs a multitude of holes to be drilled, often to great length and depth. These wells then produce first substantial amounts of gas but are very soon waning into low productivity. This means that the drilling needs to go on and that after some time the shale-gas areas are starting to look like a Swiss cheese, with multiple holes and pipelines, whilst the drilling needs to move on to drill more holes to maintain production.

This also means that a shale-gas area not only will be littered with (idle) wells and pipelines but that the whole infrastructure to gather the gas from the multitude of low-productivity wells, means that whole areas are or will be covered with pipelines and gathering-stations, pumping-stations, as well as a continuously going on of drilling activity.

In a country that already has a very extensive pipeline infrastructure, this may not seem such a problem. But in countries that do not have such an infrastructure, it may be one factor that may make the sustainability-picture questionable.

As many of the potential shale-gas source-fields are in the middle of natural environment, a country can be sure that promoting shale-gas will irreversibly destroy until-then untouched areas. If shale-gas is expected in the vicinity of population-centres, it may be a quick way to value-destruction of neighbourhoods and houses and possibly lead to social unrest.

But the hardest thing of all is that, to be able to force the gas out of the rocks, it needs to be split open with great force, lots of water and some chemicals: the fracking.

This is where the real problems begin, as with the fracking lots of water with an unknown mix of chemicals, amongst which apparently lighter oilproducts, are forced at great pressure into the underground. The chemicals are company-secrets and hardly regulated and to anyone asking further it is said that it all happens deep underground and that there are no problems.

But there are.

From the motherland of the fracking, slowly ever more stories are surfacing that people that lived in hitherto very beautiful and especially quiet areas far from 'civilisation', are now finding themselves surrounded by noisy machinery, pipes everywhere, destroyed nature and above all, their water-wells being contaminated. After many years of using their own water from their own wells on their own grounds, these people now find their water-wells irreversibly contaminated and in need to lorry in bottled water. The value of their property, measured in feeling and in money, is of course also irreversibly damaged.

And apart from the damage to the land and the people, there is the question whether a nation, any nation, can allow itself to contaminate its underground and possibly its ground-water, in such a way that there is no way back. In times of ever greater water-scarcity, this may be a factor to play in the decision-making whether to allow shale-gas extraction or not.

As has been seen quite often over the last decades; it is easy to dream up gigantic potentials for certain energy-sources, but have the consequences been taken into consideration? Not only how much money can be made, or how possibly more independence can be achieved, but also the real costs for the country in the form of, in this case, destroyed nature and contaminated soil and water?
And everything that follows from that?

We can only hope that the people deciding on the possible allowances are well informed and are able to take balanced decision, as the consequences of their decisions may reach far into the future.

Looking forward,
Alexander

Alexander's Commentary

Change of face - change of phase

In the period of July 20 till August 3, 2015, Alexander will be out of the office and the site will not or only irreg

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