Archive for Big Oil

Told ya so, frackers: Ohio geologists see link between fracking, sudden burst of earthquakes

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frackers cartoon Clay Bennett

In a previous post, Frackers set sights on largest oil shale reservoir in US... near CA's San Andreas fault, I couldn't help but wonder how greedy Big Oil could ignore the terrorizing prospect of triggering the San Andreas Fault to erupt into The Big One. Apparently, the health of so many people and of our fragile environment means nothing to California frackers.

Did I just say "California frackers"? My bad. I meant Ohio frackers, too. Along with any other frackers, for that matter.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that in Ohio, geologists have found a connection between fracking and earthquakes. Clearly, they've been in contact with Captain Obvious. L.A. Times, previously:

"The process of reinjecting drilling fluids into the ground is thought by some to stimulate minor seismic activity around drilling pads, dubbed 'frackquakes.'"

Take it away, Captain Obvious:

obvious

Ohio geologists have found a probable connection between fracking and a sudden burst of mild earthquakes last month in a region that had never experienced a temblor until recently, according to a state report.

The quake report, which coincided with the state’s announcement of some of the nation’s strictest limits on fracking near faults, marked the strongest link to date between nerve-rattling shakes and hydraulic fracturing -- the process of firing water, sand and chemicals deep into the earth to eject oil and natural gas out of ancient rock.

Last month, Ohio indefinitely shut down Hilcorp Energy’s fracking operation near the Pennsylvania border after five earthquakes, including one magnitude-3 temblor that awoke many Ohioans from their sleep. [...]

They “believe the sand and water injected into the well during the hydraulic fracturing process may have increased pressure on an unknown microfault in the area,” the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said in a statement about the Poland, Ohio, operation.

You just know what frackers will do with the "unknown" word. How did former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld mangle it again? Oh yes:

And how did Hilcorp Energy mangle the truth again? Oh yes. They said they are “fully committed to public safety and acting in a manner consistent with being a good corporate citizen.” Because, hey, corporations are people, too, and they're the best corporate citizens EVER.

Sorry, Hilcorp, but you're no "citizen," but you are a disgrace. Hate to say we environmentally-aware types told you so about that whole "frackquake" thing, but well, we told you so. And don't get us started on climate change, the fracking chemicals that contaminate groundwater, and drought.

Speaking of which, if you've never seen Josh Fox's "Gasland," now's your chance. Our own lwdgrfx posted the entire video here.

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"Only intensive push in next 15 years can stave off climate change disaster"

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tar sands keystone xl protest climate change disaster

The New York Times has an unnerving article about a United Nations report that "only an intensive worldwide push over the next 15 years can stave off" a potential climate change disaster later this century:

The report did find some reasons for cautious optimism. The costs of renewable energy like wind and solar power are now falling so fast that their deployment on a large scale is becoming practical, the report said. In fact, extensive use of renewable energy is already starting in countries such as Denmark and Germany, and to a lesser degree in some American states, including California, Iowa and Texas. [...]

Yet the report found that the emissions problem is still outrunning the will to tackle it, with global emissions rising almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century than in the last decades of the 20th century.

That was posted today. Yesterday, MSNBC's Alex Witt interviewed  John Fiege, the director and producer of "Above All Else," a documentary about lives affected by the Keystone XL tar sands Pipeline project. Juxtaposing these two reports in one post-- one on impending climate change disaster and the other on a short-sighted, corporate disaster-in waiting-- should be a wake-up call. But will it be?

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Witt: If completed, the [Keystone XL] pipeline could stretch 2,000 miles from the oil fields of Canada to refineries in the Gulf Coast. Deep in the heart of Texas, a group of rural land owners and student activists came together in an unlikely union to protest the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. The property owners claim they were manipulated into signing over their land to TransCanada. The energy company for its part is saying the pipeline is a job creator that will ensure North America's energy independence. What happened next is chronicled in a new documentary titled "Above All Else."...

Fiege: The companies building the pipeline were surprised to see such strong opposition from people who lived there. The thing in east Texas, they don't like a foreign company coming in and taking their property and they know how to fight back so it is an interesting conflict...

The folks who signed, as they learned more about what the Keystone XL pipeline is, and that its whole purpose is to transport tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, they didn't know that when they signed the agreement. They also didn't know that the company did not have the permits it needed to build the pipeline. So they felt like they were manipulated and lied to...

You know, another example of an oil project touted as being "state of the art, cutting edge" was the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf Coast that BP ran that exploded. We've heard this over and over again, where oil companies claim they're using state of the art technology-- they probably are-- but we see this over and over again that this infrastructure is not safe. ...

That's one of the main stories the film tells. If you're an individual, if you're an American and you want to fight back against this and you object to a foreign corporation taking your land and you want to do something about climate change, you are putting yourself at great peril and you're going to be crushed by these enormous corporate powers that have emerged and really taken an outsized, you know, section of power and wealth in our society. I think one thing this film chronicles is really a wake-up call for folks in the middle of the country and the reddest parts of red states who don't think this is a good system to have and feel completely disempowered.

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Frackers set sights on largest oil shale reservoir in US... near CA's San Andreas fault

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oil shale Monterey CA fracking Big Oil

California is trying to solve a riddle: how to tap into the largest oil shale reservoir in the United States, one that covers 1,750 square miles, roughly from Bakersfield to Fresno. I'm trying to solve a different riddle: How greedy Big Oil can ignore the terrorizing prospect of triggering The Big One, the health of so many people and of our fragile environment.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting on a gigantic oil trove that's trapped in San Joaquin Valley's Monterey Shale formation, 15 billion barrels, to be exact. While drilling and fracking could be a huge bonanza for oil companies and create a boom that could transform California's economy, the consequences could do just the opposite. "The process of reinjecting drilling fluids into the ground is thought by some to stimulate minor seismic activity around drilling pads, dubbed 'frackquakes.'" Yes, what California needs to kick start a thriving economy is a San Andreas "frackquake."

So far nobody has figured out an affordable way to extract the dirty, polluting fossil fuel. Good.

But that doesn't mean they haven't spent millions and millions of dollars trying. And, as the Times reports, "Oil companies are now paying farmers for their water rights, land and, in some cases, buying their homes outright to get at the reserves that might lie underneath."

Across the southern San Joaquin Valley, oil exploration sites have popped up in agricultural fields and on government land, driven by the hope that technological advances in oil extraction — primarily hydraulic fracturing and acidization — can help provide access to deep and lucrative oil reserves. [...]

The implications are profound, touching on public health, water use, water quality and the loss of agricultural land. The subsequent transformation also would alter the lives of families living in the resolutely rural communities dotting the valley.

For Tom Frantz, a retired teacher and third-generation farmer, the exploratory drilling is already too much.

"This is prime farmland and they have drilled between 200 and 300 wells in the last 10 years in the Monterey Shale," Frantz said. "Every one took out an acre or two of farmland. Every one has used hundreds of thousands of gallons of water. Each one has contributed to our air pollution. Each one has had spills on the ground of different chemicals and crude oil. Each one is emitting methane as we speak. If this thing happens and there are thousands and thousands of wells — that's scary because an accident is bound to happen," he said.

What may be great for California's economy could just as easily destroy it, along with the lives of its residents. Thankfully, the jury is still out on how this can be done profitably. Leave the damned oil shale reservoir alone. Money isn't everything. Life (as the hypocritical Drill Baby Drillers love to tell us) is.

More here.

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No, Rand Paul, "drilling in every possible conceivable place" is not the answer to Ukrainian crisis

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rand paul cut out cpac 2014Rand Paul cutout at CPAC 2014

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) won the CPAC straw poll yesterday. That poll is as meaningless as Rand's plagiarism denials.

Now he's compounding his consistently puzzling behavior with calls for "drill baby drill" as a panacea for the Ukrainian crisis. Yes, he believes that echoing that paragon of fine intellect and reason, Sarah Palin, will strengthen his appeal as a strong, decisive leader.

His brilliant idea? Drilling for oil and natural gas “in every possible conceivable place” here in the U.S. to show Big Bad Vladimir "Bluto" Putin who's boss and make himself-- and the United States-- look like the Popeye (post-spinach consumption) of all nations.

popeye bluto

Video via Raw Story.

Rand Paul:

“The other thing I’ve said is, that I would do something differently than the president, is I would immediately get every obstacle out of the way for our export of oil and gas. And I would begin drilling in every possible conceivable place within our territories in order to have production that we can supply Europe with if it’s interrupted from Ukraine.”

A few things come to mind. One is how Paul's idea would be about as effective as that cardboard cutout at CPAC. Why? Think Progress explains:

But some say exporting natural gas to Europe and Ukraine is a more complicated solution than these lawmakers let on. As Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations points out, decisions on where to ship gas are made primarily by the market, not by governments, and it’s much more profitable for the U.S. to ship gas to Asia. The New York Times Editorial Board added Friday that Putin “would not stand idly by” if the U.S. exported gas to Europe, and could lower the price of Russia’s gas to keep customers from switching to American gas. The Times also noted that even if bills expediting permits were approved, “setting up more facilities to liquefy and ship gas would take years and cost billions of dollars.”

Rand Paul has no qualms about giddily diving headlong into the backwash of Former Alaskan Half Gov Myopia McOilSlick's anachronistic, petroleum-soaked mantra. That alone should eventually banish him straight to Facebookland, where all failed right wing extremists go to vent their deranged twaddle to their heart's content.

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Frack Water ad snarkage exposes motives behind Gov. Brown's fracking push

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what the frack

What the frack, Gov. Jerry Brown? First he's in a panic about the "evil weed", and now he supports the evil deed, as you can see in the following press release. Both issues affect my home state of California, and both are rantworthy.

The good news: My old pal Andy Cobb has put out yet another hilarious video filled with snarkitude that skewers his targets in all kinds of memorable and effective ways. We owe you one, Andy. The bad news: The vile F word won't go away: Frack (scroll).

Frack Water Cologne Ad Exposes Motives Behind Gov. Brown’s Fracking Push

New online video and campaign finance analysis highlight dangers of fracking, influence of Big Oil in California

California Governor Jerry Brown is taking a hit today for his penchant for fracking and dirty energy donations with a new satirical online video launched by Oil Change International (OCI) and comedians Andy Cobb and Mike Damanskis of Heavy Crude Video. The video is the latest escalation of the Big Oil Brown campaign effort sponsored by OCI, pushing for a ban on fracking for oil and gas in the state.

The video parody, entitled “Frack Water,” portrays a Governor Brown look-alike outside a southern California oil field accompanied by a California oil industry representative, in a shot for shot remake of a 2004 Stetson cologne advertisement starring actor Matthew McConaughey:

"In a land plagued by drought, one man stands tall….We won’t tell you what’s in it, but Big Oil Brown’s got it all over him…Jerry Brown’s frackwater. A fragrance that smells like a man…a man who doesn’t give a [bleep] about drought or climate change."

Here is the original McConaughey ad:

Also out today is a new analysis released by Oil Change International that outlines the massive contributions from the oil industry to the Governor’s coffers in recent years. The review shows these contributions have surpassed $2 million since 2006.

The campaign contribution analysis can be found here.

“You can’t buy back your legacy, Governor, even with all that Big Oil cash,” Turnbull said. “California is on the brink of climate catastrophe and fracking up the state will help push it over the edge. Californians deserve better than to be beholden to Big Oil’s desires and befouled by their stench.”

The video and analysis come just over a week ahead of a major mobilization in Sacramento planned for March 15th, where thousands of anti-fracking activists from around the state are expected. More information on the March 15th mobilization can be found at www.dontfrackcalifornia.org.

More from the team at Heavy Crude Video can be seen here.

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Exxon-Mobil CEO Suing His Own Company To Stop Fracking -- At Least In His Neighborhood

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fracking

Whatever happened to "what's good for the goose is good for the gander?" For that answer you really shouldn't be asking ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. His company is invading the US with natural gas fracking operations -- the more the merrier. So how is it that he's just became the highest-profile anti-fracking activist in the world? He's now party to a lawsuit to stop fracking -- at least in his own neighborhood.

The CEO who made $46 million in salary last year is concerned that the fracking operation that's taking place in his multi-million dollar housing neighborhood - he has 86 acres so it's a large neighborhood - will lower the value of his home. And why would fracking bother Tyrannosaurus Rex? Well, the noise, the pollution and the traffic to name a few.

According to Credo Action:

Even though he is the CEO of one of the largest fracking companies in the world, Tillerson is suing to block a fracking development near his Texas horse ranch because it would create a "noise nuisance and traffic hazards."

Didn't he care when this was happening in other people's backyards?  Evidently not.  So this is only a case of me, me, me.  He only cares when it affects him.

So it might be with some great surprise that T-Rex Tillerson has joined a massive anti-fracking lawsuit -- essentially suing his own company. To tell you what's at stake here, enjoy this clip from Chris Hayes and anti-fracking documentary filmmaker Josh Fox:

The outcome of this and many similar lawsuits might not stop fracking from taking place -- but when you've got a deep-pocketed CEO like Tillerson and his bevy of high priced lawyers biting the same hand that feeds him, you realize there may be some good to come out of this -- in a trickle down sense. Maybe for once, trickle down policy will actually work for the good of the masses, not just the rich.

Here's hoping Exxon-Mobil takes it in the gas hole. And no lubricant will be necessary -- they've already dipped their probes in oil. I don't mean to be crude -- yes, a pun.

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Where's The Windfall For The US With The Keystone XL Pipeline?

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Keystone XL Map

Keystone XL Map

There's so much talk about the Keystone pipeline -- should it be built from our northern border, dissecting the country in half like the Mississippi River?

Well, that's a long route and any pipeline carrying any product has certain risks. The largest being the spills. But it also means jobs in the short run - a few years. And the number of workers being employed are generally in the construction and oil business. But how many jobs? That's hard to say. The 1,700-mile Keystone XL is estimated to employ somewhere in the vicinity of 20,000 people according to Politifact. They also say the actual number might be half of that, or even less.

But how many people will be potentially affected by a possible spill of this dirtiest of crude? Millions. So do a little math, actually very little, and you'll see that there's high risk and not so great a reward.

Okay, let's assume it gets built and then the flow of this dirty liquid goes off without a hitch. Just think of all the crude that we'll be refining and having for our own use.

SCREECH.

Our own use? Un-uh. It's not for consumption in the US. It's for exportation. And the receipts for those sales doesn't go to the US market. Oh, no. It goes to Canada, the "owners" of the dirty raw crude. We're just the risk-taking conduit.

We are NOT GUARANTEED a single drop of that US refined oil. Not one. We can be the highest bidder and keep the fuel here, but we face competition from all over the world.

So we get to take the risk, we do get to spike a bit of employment -- but 20,000 jobs doesn't seem to be a huge comfort compared to the millions looking for work. It's better than nothing -- if you don't take into consideration that oil pipelines leak all the time. We're facing the disaster of all times if we're not lucky. And for what? For Canada to reap the profits for a drop in the bucket for us?

Truth is we're already showing an abundance of fuel here in this country. So much so that we're growing the exports of our domestic fuel every year. That means we producing more than we're selling here in the states. CNN Money Reports:

In 2008 the country exported 1.8 million barrels a day of refined products, according to EIA. By 2012 that number jumped to 3.2 million barrels.

Does it make sense to put our country at risk over the dirtiest oil we can find when we're refining enough of it here to have excess and making a profit selling it. Do we really need to build a pipeline when we have roads that are falling apart, bridges crumbling and airports that are referred to as "third world" quality? Wouldn't we make more money here with an improved infrastructure which wouldn't add nearly the risks of the dirty oil flowing dissecting our county? It used to be we lived east or west of the Mississippi. Soon it could be do you live east or west of the Keystone oil disaster.

leaky oil pipeline

The pipeline might be worth it -- but to Canada, not us. We shoulder the risk and they take all the profit. The honchos there say they're going to continue to frack and pull up their dirty shale oil. Good for them. They have ports on both of their coasts. If they need to refine their dirty oil, let them build refineries and pollute their air, not ours. Maybe they'll even hire some Americans to go up north and help them learn how refineries work.

Let Canada build their own pipelines to them and use tankers like everyone else. Why do we have to take the risk of catastrophe for a temporary, two year building gain? After it's done, we'll have an eternity of potential danger to humans, wildlife and our native lands. And for nothing but Canadians making profits.

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