Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chesapeake's Encyclopedia of Excuses

Another well contaminated, another slew of evasive comments by Chesapeake Energy and their Bradford County mouthpiece, Mr. Brian Grove. He's the guy with the blue flame over his head in the photo above.

From my perspective, if you take the time to read both articles posted at the Sentinel's blog, you should quickly realize that even if you have your water tested well before drilling begins, there is absolutely no guarantee that should your well or water supply eventually become contaminated, that the drilling companies in the area will admit any responsibility. How's this for a non-answer:
When asked for comment, Brian Grove, director of corporate development for Chesapeake, issued this statement, noting that "Chesapeake places the highest priority on health, safety, and environmental protection in our operations.
The thing that absolutely blows my mind is that the methane reading after the well's water turned brown was 1,920 times higher than the baseline reading in the tests done in December 2008, yet Chesapeake claims there is no connection between their drilling activity and the newly-contaminated well. Let's see; the well is ~1/2 mile from the drillpad, and the lateral wellbores extend up to 5,000 feet or more from that location. One of the articles states a lateral wellbore goes directly under the Bohlander's property, where there evidently was a whole lotta fracking going on. Voila!! It's as obvious as the nose on Pinocchio's face; no connection whatsoever.

If you live in the Marcellus Shale region, all of this is coming to a neighborhood near you.

Are you prepared and willing to accept this?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Size Matters

Caught this commentary this morning. The ripple effect of GASLAND continues.
The unholy alliance between Big Business and Big Government is destroying this country. The "small people" do matter. The time is approaching when the little guy is going to rise up and take back what is rightfully theirs. Some people are waking up. Some people are getting angry. Some people care about the future of this country.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Borton Who?

I have a real issue with the recent selection of a 24 year-old who evidently still uses dad's Brylcreem to be the point person for the $25M+ River Common project. I wonder what criteria the folks at Riggs Rigged Asset Management used to select this guy? Who were the other applicants?

Dad's engineering firm is on my radar screen because of their involvement and/or support of the impending Marcellus Shale drilling disaster in Luzerne County. Sonny boy just became another blanking blip.

The first line of the article linked above pretty much sums it up.
Karl Borton today will be named the first director of River Common Programming and Outreach, according to sources who requested anonymity.
Anonymity and nepotism are still alive and well in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Who killed the frog: Halliburton or Cabot?

I tripped across this ad in an online newspaper.

Now, I believe everyone who has a private water-supply well in the MSZ ( Marcellus Shale Zone ) should have their water tested ASAP, especially in Luzerne County. However, these folks are taking the fear factor to a whole new level as far as commercial advertisements go. The ad itself sends a better anti-drilling message than most of the newer blogs that have sprung up as of late. Check out the slide show at the top of the ad.

I will say "hats-off" to the person that put this together. However, I think you crossed a few lines.

As is, I believe this one has potential lawsuit written all over it. I'd recommend pulling the pics with Halliburton and Cabot in them ASAP. The other photos are pretty powerful on their own. And the folks in Dimock should get a percentage of any profits derived from new business driven by this ad. To seek to profit from their misfortune is pretty low, even in my book.

Otherwise, I hope you gave the frog a proper burial.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Marcellus Maguires

I tripped across this blog while doing a Marcellus *wildcard search.

This one bothers me.

Marcellus Maguires.

Saturday, June 12, 2010 go first.

I caught a recent article about a meeting in Luzerne County where longtime political activist Gene Stilp is joining the anti-drilling fray. I'll defer further comment at this time, but will offer that if he jumps in full-time, this is going to get very interesting.

Gene - you are good. But you ain't superman and in a contest between you and a big truck, you will lose.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

This is cutting edge?

I obtained this today from a co-worker. (S)he let me view it first before (s)he told me it was an internal communication from within a member of the BIG OIL community. (S)he mentioned the company, but I'll leave that information off the table. Trust me on this; this person knows people who know people.

I'm not quite sure what was more disturbing; the write-up or the pictures. The photos tell the story, and the intro (hopefully) preps you for the rest. Please read it carefully and think about all the promises and claims being made by the natural gas drillers invading our commonwealth. Think something like this can't happen in PA?  Have you read the headlines lately?

You may have heard the news in the last two days about the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig which caught fire, burned for two days, then sank in 5,000 ft of water in the Gulf of Mexico. There are still 11 men missing, and they are not expected to be found.

The rig belongs to Transocean, the world’s biggest offshore drilling contractor. The rig was originally contracted through the year 2013 to BP and was working on BP’s Macondo exploration well when the fire broke out. The rig costs about $500,000 per day to contract. The full drilling spread, with helicopters and support vessels and other services, will cost closer to $1,000,000 per day to operate in the course of drilling for oil and gas. The rig cost about $350,000,000 to build in 2001 and would cost at least double that to replace today.

The rig represents the cutting edge of drilling technology. It is a floating rig, capable of working in up to 10,000 ft water depth. The rig is not moored; It does not use anchors because it would be too costly and too heavy to suspend this mooring load from the floating structure. Rather, a triply-redundant computer system uses satellite positioning to control powerful thrusters that keep the rig on station within a few feet of its intended location, at all times. This is called Dynamic Positioning. The rig had apparently just finished cementing steel casing in place at depths exceeding 18,000 ft. The next operation was to suspend the well so that the rig could move to its next drilling location, the idea being that a rig would return to this well later in order to complete the work necessary to bring the well into production.

It is thought that somehow formation fluids – oil /gas – got into the wellbore and were undetected until it was too late to take action. With a floating drilling rig setup, because it moves with the waves, currents, and winds, all of the main pressure control equipment sits on the seabed – the uppermost unmoving point in the well. This pressure control equipment – the Blowout Preventers, or ‘BOP’s” as they’re called, are controlled with redundant systems from the rig. In the event of a serious emergency, there are multiple Panic Buttons to hit, and even fail-safe Deadman systems that should be automatically engaged when something of this proportion breaks out. None of them were apparently activated, suggesting that the blowout was especially swift to escalate at the surface. The flames were visible up to about 35 miles away. Not the glow – the flames. They were 200 – 300 ft high.

All of this will be investigated and it will be some months before all of the particulars are known. For now, it is enough to say that this marvel of modern technology, which had been operating with an excellent safety record, has burned up and sunk taking souls with it.

The well still is apparently flowing oil, which is appearing at the surface as a slick. They have been working with remotely operated vehicles, or ROV’s which are essentially tethered miniature submarines with manipulator arms and other equipment that can perform work underwater while the operator sits on a vessel. These are what were used to explore the Titanic, among other things. Every floating rig has one on board and they are in constant use. In this case, they are deploying ROV’s from dedicated service vessels. They have been trying to close the well in using a specialized port on the BOP’s and a pumping arrangement on their ROV’s. They have been unsuccessful so far. Specialized pollution control vessels have been scrambled to start working the spill, skimming the oil up. In the coming weeks they will move in at least one other rig to drill a fresh well that will intersect the blowing one at its pay zone. They will use technology that is capable of drilling from a floating rig, over 3 miles deep to an exact specific point in the earth – with a target radius of just a few feet plus or minus. Once they intersect their target, a heavy fluid will be pumped that exceeds the formation’s pressure, thus causing the flow to cease and rendering the well safe at last. It will take at least a couple of months to get this done, bringing all available technology to bear. It will be an ecological disaster if the well flows all of the while; Optimistically, it could bridge off downhole.

It’s a sad day when something like this happens to any rig, but even more so when it happens to something on the cutting edge of our capabilities. The photos that follow show the progression of events over the 36 hours from catching fire to sinking.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bad Times for the Oil & Gas Industry...and wildlife.

In addition to this widely circulating post about someone being threatened by some hardcore ruffian-types at a drilling site in PA, I tripped across these pics this morning.

Of course, according to BP, environmental impacts are minimal.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Another Drilling "Incident" in W. VA

This time in West Virginia. Unfortunately, this time some workers were hurt.

It's all over the wires by now. Start here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dr. NIMBY Speaks

Wow. I don't know where to begin with this one, but suffice it to say that Dr. Smith should have gone with his first instinct; he really doesn't truly understand enough about Marcellus Shale drilling to offer a meaningful commentary. Living in northeastern PA, I followed his "Defend Our Watershed" group from its inception. There is a significant gap between reading about environmental issues and understanding them. As he offered:
 Given my previous modest involvement in environmental advocacy, I have been asked by a number of people to weigh in on the issue. Up to now I have been reluctant, as I was not knowledgeable enough to have an answer. I’m still not sure that I am.
I couldn't have said it better. Please - stick to what you know, Doc.

Speaking of which, a very good and longtime friend has a PhD; specifically in some area of water chemistry. He works for a huge water-related utility in a very responsible position directly involved in the treatment of drinking water. He's one of the most meticulous, detail-savvy individuals I know when it comes to water quality, and he is now heavily involved with Marcellus-related water withdrawal and frackwater (flowback) treatment discussions. In so many words, he told me the other day - emphatically - that there is currently no technology available to adequately treat flowback water to a point where it could or should ever be released into our streams and rivers. PERIOD.

Although I can't recall the exact words he used, he more or less said that if anyone claimed otherwise, they were lying. Imagine that; someone in the natural gas industry who seeks to profit from the exploitation of our natural resources would utter a mistruth. 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

EOG Resources - f/k/a ENRON

Yep - that's correct. The company involved in and/or that caused one of the most visible natural gas incidents to date in Pennsylvania was once the almighty Enron.

You remember, right? Their CEO, "Kenny Boy" Lay, was a close & personal friend of our former president, Dubya. While on a family vacation in Colorado, he died before he was scheduled to be sentenced. Another Enron official, J. Clifford Baxter, committed suicide before he was set to testify in front of Congress. Conspiracy theories abound.

Anyway, seems they cooked their books for so long and in so many ways that, to quote from Wikipedia: 
As was later discovered, many of Enron's recorded assets and profits were inflated, or even wholly fraudulent and nonexistent
So, when we hear EOG Resources tell us that environmental damage was minimal or contained after 16+ hours of an unchecked blowout, we should believe them - right??

Friday, June 4, 2010

RFK, Jr. Quote: "...pathological liars."

I could write a fairly lengthy post this morning, but I think this article and the RFK, Jr. quote pretty much covers all bases for today.

Imagine that. A leading environmental attorney with a name recognized throughout the world would choose to use those two words in describing the natural gas industry. Although I completely agree with him, as many of you know, I believe in a kinder, gentler approach.

I mean, there's gotta be at least one part-time pathological liar in the bunch, right? Therein lies cause for hope.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

IOGA: A Wellspring of Lies

The web is already jam-packed with stories about yesterday's announcement by American Rivers that the upper Delaware had been named as the nation's most endangered river due to gas drilling. In reading several of the articles this morning, I found it interesting that the speakers at the press conference along the Delaware River were actually heckled and confronted by the pro-drilling peepulz.

One of the PDP's quotes, which I've heard multiple variations of, went like this:
"I don't know how they can conclude that, when hydraulic fracturing has never harmed a drop of drinking water," countered Jim Smith, spokesman for the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York. "In 60 years of hydraulic fracturing across the country, more than a million wells have been fracked, including 14,000 in New York."
Well, Jimbo, here's the part you left out. The vast, vast, vast majority of those wells were vertical wells only. One hole, straight down, one frack. What's going on today with horizontal hydrofracturing is a whole new ballgame, and you know it.

I really am getting tired of these peepulz and their lies. 

Thanks, again, to American Rivers and the multiple groups that partnered to make this happen. Maybe, just maybe, the disparate troops in the Susquehanna watershed will take a lesson from this. As it always does, time will tell.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

American Rivers KICKS GAS

In every struggle between right and wrong, between good and evil, there is always a turning point. For those that need a swift kick in the noogies this morning; THIS IS IT!

Not only was the upper Delaware River ( PA, NY ) named the #1 most endangered river in the nation because of natural gas drilling, but another PA river ( the Monongahela - which means falling banks ) was also named to the Top 10 list for the very same reason. Falling banks - ya' gotta love it.

Hey, BIG OIL! Choke on it.