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U.S. Plunge in Gas Drilling Means $1 Billion Lost Profit
David Wethe, Bloomberg
The overall U.S. onshore rig count has dropped 9 percent this year, seeing the most sustained declines since the recession-led plunge in 2009. Those declines, caused in part by the gas industry’s shift to oil production, are eating away demand for drilling services and worsening a shale-equipment glut that’s pushing down prices.
Four of the biggest service companies, including Halliburton Co. (HAL) and Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB), will see their collective third quarter operating profit drop by more than $1 billion in North America compared to a year earlier, according to estimates from Houston-based Tudor Pickering Holt & Co...
Once-surging profits from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, are fading as oil and gas producers became more cautious about spending amid lower energy prices and global economic troubles that are damping demand.
(15 October 2012)
Germany Balks on Natural Gas Bonanza
Christian Wüst, Der Spiegel
The fuel of civilization is usually found in unattractive places. Geologists discovered the biggest oil and natural gas reserves in the deserts of the Middle East and beneath the permafrost of Siberia. Countries in temperate Central Europe, on the other hand, have only modest reserves. One of them lies some 5,000 meters (16,000 feet) beneath the surface in Rotenburg/Wümme, an administrative district in the northwestern German state of Lower Saxony.
The most recent well that was drilled into the natural gas field there is called "Bötersen Z11." The site, located next to a federal highway near the port city of Bremen, occupies about a hectare (2.5 acres) of asphalt-covered land surrounded by a green wire fence. A pipe about as thick as a tree trunk is protruding from the middle of the site, but nothing is coming out of it.
There isn't enough pressure in the field the pipe is sticking out of, and ExxonMobil, which operates the well, isn't surprised. Even during the planning stages, "Bötersen Z11" was a candidate for a process that engineering geologists refer to as "induced hydraulic fracturing," or "fracking" for short.
ExxonMobil plans to inject about 350,000 liters (92,500 gallons) of water, mixed with a cocktail of chemicals, into the well under high pressure. The liquid is supposed to penetrate into the rock at the bottom of the pipe and trigger a long-term loosening effect. Hair-line fractures will create a network of tiny channels from which natural gas can escape for at least 15 years, according to ExxonMobil estimates.
But what ExxonMobil still lacks is official permission to do this. The state mining agency has been sitting on the company's application for the last year, hesitant to move forward with its approval...
(5 October 2012)
Shale Gas Industry Brings PSYOPs and Spy Ops to Poland
Steve Horn, DeSmog Blog
Roughly a year ago today in Houston, the shale gas industry was caught red-handed discussing its use of military tactics and personnel on U.S. soil to intimidate and divide communities in order to continue its fracking bonanza...
A year later, we're learning that the oil industry is taking its aggressive military-style approach global. According to a press release published by Food and Water Europe, the industry is spying on fracking critics in Poland...
(10 October 2012)
Shale gas report rules out moratorium
The provincial government must address the "very serious concerns" that people have over the development of the shale gas industry, according to a new report...
LaPierre's report contains 14 recommendations for the provincial government.
In his report, he rules out a provincial moratorium on the shale gas industry. He said that would stop all research and "would not benefit New Brunswick or its people."
"While there is a belief that New Brunswick does possess large scale shale gas deposits, the potential still needs to be calibrated through more exploration and testing," LaPierre said in his report.
(15 October 2012)
Collectively Photographing Fracking
Jess Newman, New York Times
The most basic thing that photography does is visually describe what can be seen. The problem facing photographers of the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project is that what they wish to describe cannot be seen — an invisible gas buried deep underground. They have struggled to document the effect of the natural gas drilling commonly known as fracking...
View images here
(11 October 2012)