And how it all began beautifully! In a message last year to Congress, US President Barack Obama said that thanks to the shale revolution, America was provided with its own natural gas for 100 years. However, just two years later, the huge bubble of shale swindle threatens to burst like a soap bubble.
Volunteers from the North American office of the Stringers Bureau of International Investigations drove through several US states and saw with their own eyes how the areas of shale gas production turned into centers of environmental disaster.
Big Fraction Theory
Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and Texas — today these three names personify an environmental disaster in the United States, a consequence of corporate greed and unscrupulous government. In these states, the largest developed shale gas deposits are concentrated, turning endless farm lands into a stinking, poisoned desert. The chemicals pumped into the wells, along with the gas produced, enter the aquifers and make the water unusable.
Fracture technology is used to extract shale gas: up to 20 million liters of fracturing fluid is injected into the well under pressure, which forms cracks in the shale rock. The composition of the liquid is a commercial secret.
In order for you to understand what the poison injected into the earth consists of, we publish an official document that the group of American environmentalists handed us. The fracturing fluid contains more than 90 various chemicals. At the same time, environmentalists have calculated that such drilling fluids may contain up to 596 chemical names: corrosion inhibitors, thickeners, acids, biocides, inhibitors for shale control, gelling agents. Appointment of some chemicals causes a real shock: hydrochloric acid helps dissolve minerals; ethylene glycol fights against the appearance of deposits on the walls of pipes; light oil fractions are used to minimize friction; isopropyl alcohol is used to increase the viscosity of a liquid; glutaraldehyde fights against corrosion; guar gum increases the viscosity of the solution; ammonium peroxodisulfate prevents the decomposition of the guar gum; boric acid maintains fluid viscosity at high temperatures; formamide prevents corrosion; citric acid is used to prevent metal deposition; potassium chloride prevents the passage of chemical reactions between the soil and the liquid; sodium or potassium carbonate is used to maintain the balance of acids ...
And now the main thing: the amount of poisonous fluid seeping into the rock can exceed 70% of the injected volume ...
“Our life has become a nightmare,” says Sheila Rasell from Bradford County in Pennsylvania. - My family settled in these places in 1797 year - the last year of the presidency of George Washington. But after shale gas was produced there, all the water in the area turned into poison. ” Examination showed that due to the leakage of gas from faulty wells in groundwater significantly exceeded the level of methane and heavy metals. Use this water for personal and farm needs is impossible.
Soon after the start of the booty, the entire family of Carol French living nearby was covered with a terrifying rash. Worst of all was the 24-year-old daughter, in whom doctors discovered pathology in the liver and spleen. The condition of the girl began to improve only after she was sent away from the infected state. “Living here is now impossible,” says Carol. “We'll have to sell the farm, which has already lost 90% of its value.”
“We know hundreds of cases of water poisoning,” confirms Iris Marie Bloom, director of the Protect Our Water Foundation located in Philadelphia. - We also know that the victims are threatened - they demand that they be silent. Gas companies advertise shale gas as a clean fuel, but at every stage of its production the environment is polluted. ”
The farm belonging to the Hallovich family also found itself in the shale gas production zone. For a long time, farmers tried to deal with the company engaged in the development of the company Range Resources, because of the pollution of water and air, their children became constantly ill. As a result, the company offered them compensation in the amount of 750 thousand dollars to cover the costs of resettlement from the polluted site, but in return Hallovichi had to be obliged not to disclose any information regarding the consequences of gas production.
In the same Pennsylvania in 2012, a law was passed, according to which companies are obliged to inform physicians what chemicals are part of the liquids used in shale gas production. However, doctors do not have the right to disclose this information even to patients whose diseases may be caused by chemicals.
The terrible ecological condition of the territories around the deposits is also confirmed by Professor Robert Jackson of Duke University. This summer, scientists analyzed an 141 sample of drinking water from private wells in northeastern Pennsylvania near shale gas zones. “The results are shocking - methane concentration is exceeded on average 6 times, and ethane - 23 times! This is caused by technical errors in the design and construction of wells, ”concludes Jackson.
It is not surprising that in the surrounding farms a new fun appeared - to set fire to the water flowing from the tap. And the one who is trying to drill a well for drinking water, runs the risk of running into methane, which is seeking access to the surface after the hydraulic fracturing. This is what happened to a farmer in Pennsylvania, who decided to take up hydroworks on his own plot. The methane fountain hit for three days, according to specialists' estimates, 84 took thousands of cubic meters of gas into the atmosphere.
Moreover, according to a report from the Center for Earth Studies at Columbia University, hydraulic fracturing technology can provoke ... earthquakes. The study was conducted in Ohio at one of the mining sites. During the observations from January 2011 to February 2012, 109 jolts were recorded, the largest of which was 3,9 points. So on top of all the troubles, those lucky enough to live in the shale gas area risk literally falling through the ground.
There is a lie, and there are statistics
So why is Barack Obama so indifferent to the protests of environmentalists and scientists? Why, in spite of the tragedies of thousands of citizens whose homes were in areas of shale gas, still promises an offensive shale paradise? The traditional answer is politics.
Ever since the 70 oil crisis, Americans still have a panic fear of dependence on hydrocarbon imports and the constant expectation of a sharp rise in energy prices. Not surprisingly, the country's energy security concept has become the favorite skate of all presidents, starting with Richard Nixon. Now remember, at what point did Obama make a fateful statement about a hundred years of gas paradise? That's right, during his second presidential race. It was a sin not to use the trump ace, which comes into your hands, and then - even though the grass does not grow (and in this case, not figuratively).
As a result, an ambitious PR campaign has been launched in the USA and around the world, which, thanks to shale gas production, America claims to be the leader in the energy sector. American companies producing shale gas are placed on the same level as traditional gas leaders such as Russian Gazprom and Norwegian Statoil. As an accomplished fact, it is said that the US economy has ceased to be dependent on oil supplies from the politically unstable countries of the Middle East and Africa. Famous American expert Daniel Yergin from the Energy Research Association at the University of Cambridge at the congressional hearings announced the geopolitical influence of shale: “The expansion of energy exports will further increase US global influence ... Shale gas production, which accounted for just 2% of total production in the country rose to 37%, and prices dropped significantly. " The report, “Energy Forecast for 2030,” was echoed by BP CEO Bob Dudley: “The growth in shale oil and gas production, along with the development of alternative energy sources, will make the countries of the western world almost self-sufficient in the energy sector.”
However, it is worth digging a little deeper than these bravura statements, and a monstrous lie is revealed, based on cynical manipulations of statistics. Arthur Berman, a leading American expert in assessing shale deposits, believes that a deliberate distortion of data has occurred - politicians have simply hidden the fundamental difference between what is commonly called resources and reserves in the oil and gas industry.
In short, in the estimates of the American Committee for Gas Reserves there are three categories of technically recoverable resources: probable, possible and speculative. Obama and his advisers took, naturally, the largest (speculative) figure, divided it into average annual consumption, and got a “good” result - 90-100 years of gas paradise. But the US president forgot to say about the very smallness: most of the “speculative” resources are technically inaccessible for mining. In other words, their extraction from the subsoil will be so fabulously expensive that it is easier to sink power plants directly in dollars. If we take the volume of reserves that can be extracted at an affordable price, then with the current consumption volumes, the US will have ... eleven "heavenly" years. And if gas consumption increases, this supply will be exhausted much earlier.
Another question that the researcher inevitably poses is: why did the shale revolution take place in the 2000s, although the first commercial well in shale formations was drilled back in the 19 century, and the fracturing technology was developed by Halliburton in 1940's? Probably, in the 21 century there was a technological breakthrough? Not at all. The technology, which due to the catastrophic side effects of half a century lay on the shelf and which the green dubbed environmental terrorism, has not changed much. But under the influence of the then Vice-President of the United States (and before that, the Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Halliburton) Dick Cheney, American lawmakers changed their attitude towards it.
In 2005, the US Congress simply removed the fracturing technology from the supervision of the Environmental Protection Agency and, accordingly, from the Act on the Safety of Drinking Water. In other words, being in a sober mind and solid memory, the congressmen officially allowed the gas industrialists to inject toxic chemicals into the ground without regard to environmental authorities. This environmental indulgence and provoked the shale boom.
However, in the last couple of years, success in extracting unconventional oil and gas has been reported less and less. First, both numerous green organizations and ordinary Americans, who found themselves at the center of an ecological disaster, grabbed their heads. And secondly, the technology advertised at the state level not only turns the surrounding lands into toxic wastelands, but is also not justified from an economic point of view.
You are not surprised why the American financial and industrial lobby, which at the beginning of the 20 century created tools to reduce production volumes and prevent prices from falling (which gas producers themselves suffer from), made gas prices fall below 5 USD per thousand cubic feet, Is there a cost below? Technology has let you down. The fact is that after pumping a water-chemical mixture into the well, the gas escaping from the rock cracks must be pumped out very quickly, until it dissolves into the remaining voids. During the year, the level of production from the well drops to 70 – 75%, so that in order to maintain volumes, oil and gas companies constantly have to drill new wells and pump new tons of chemicals into them that poison the land and water.
According to an American expert in the field of oil and gas production, David Hughes, to maintain the existing production volume, companies will have to drill 7 thousands of wells annually, which will cost them 42 billion USD. The cost of all shale gas produced in the United States over the past year amounted to 32,5 billion USD. “So the rhetoric about US energy independence with its current technological state is just bullshit,” Hughes comments.
After that, it is not surprising that, since last summer, manufacturers began to get rid of their shale assets in droves. BP announced write-offs on 4,8 billion USD, the British BG Group wrote off 1,3 billion shale investments, the Canadian EnCana lost 1,7 billion USD and notified shareholders that this amount would increase if gas prices did not return to an "acceptable" level.
Royal Dutch Shell announced the sale of sites in Texas, Kansas and Colorado, including the largest Eagle Ford deposit. The company acknowledged that 192 wells "are not able to reach the planned production volume", announced the write-off of 2,1 billion USD and began a strategic reassessment of investments in shale deposits in the United States. The Australian BHP Billiton joined the shale race only in 2011 year with the acquisition of 15,1 for a billion USD of the Texan company Petrohawk Energy, and a year later it was forced to declare the depreciation of American shale assets.
But the former locomotive of the shale revolution Chesapeake Energy from Oklahoma found itself in the most deplorable situation. To avoid bankruptcy, the company had to arrange a sale of almost 7 billion USD and at the same time invest in drilling new wells for the inflow of funds for servicing loans for 13 billion USD. That is, the company, not hiding, works according to the classical scheme of the financial pyramid.
Moreover, every day it is becoming more and more obvious that the entire shale revolution, advertised by Wall Street banks and supported by the White House, is built on the same fraudulent scheme. For the sake of extracting momentary profits (financial, political, or both at the same time), the American establishment is turning the biggest scam of the century that could trigger a new global economic collapse right before our eyes. After all, if the gas producing giants have actually recognized the “overvalued” shale gas and are gradually leaving American projects, then Wall Street financiers have nowhere to retreat. With the help of numerous analysts, they continue to inflate the shale bubble, drawing new companies and countries into it. So, when the pyramid collapses, the first will remain with profit, and the last - without the invested money and with environmental disaster.
“Shale gas production is spreading around the world,” said environmentalist Kevin Heatley. - Here, people come to Pennsylvania to exchange experience from Europe, Asia and even South Africa. They are told about huge profits, but they never show thousands and thousands of acres of contaminated areas with poisoned water and air. It will take 100-150 years to fully restore these lands, that is, this area is lost for several generations of Americans. And who needs this gas, if after its production it becomes impossible to live here? ”