Sunday, August 13, 2017

How The Faux Environmentalists Lie -- August 13, 2017


Later, 4:22 p.m. Central Time: this is pretty funny. Googling "Ra and Zephyr acolytes" brings you to this site: the absurdity of life in New York -- the upstate burden. Posted a year ago, May 9, 2016, I hope the link never breaks.
Cuomo’s arbitrary decision to ban fracking in New York left Upstate devastated and vulnerable to scams that won’t do much for the economy or the environment.
It is happening again in Upstate New York. This time it is the Wall Street hustlers from the solar energy industry who are going door to door and blanketing landowners with offers to lease their land for energy development using high pressure sales tactics.
Does this sound familiar: landmen telling landowners that if they don’t sign the company’s lease in a week the “parameters” are going to change and the company might have to lower its offer? Parcels of 30 acres or more are being tied up for 25 to 35 years with no rental payment for the first two years, leaving the landowners to pay the taxes with no ability to take better offers.
Yet, the company can bail out of the lease at any time during those two years.
One solar energy company may have already acquired over 900 leases amounting to over 27,000 acres of forest and farmland. To build its solar arrays the company will have to clear-cut the forest or bulldoze the farmland, thereby permanently stripping all vegetation from the land before building on the site.
Neither their lease nor any NYS regulations require the company to preserve the topsoil, restore its habitat and fertility, or restore its contour after the energy operations are exhausted on the site.  
Later, 4:14 p.m. Central Time: a reader provides an additional perspective and recommends that I not cherry-pick. I plead guilty to the latter: I cherry-pick on the blog all the time, but in general the blog seems fairly well-balanced, considering the webmaster is inappropriately exuberant about the Bakken. Having said all that, here's the reader's note which I really appreciate:
1. 500 gas wells over 40 years is not that big a deal. It's about one a month. To support a major power plant. Ask yourself how many boxcars of coal would be needed for the same 40 year power burn? (Too lazy to figure it out. It's a lot.)
2. 4 BCF is already MUCH better than conventional vertical wells delivering something like 0.2BCF EUR. The huge production from shale wells is what has enabled base-load natgas plants, versus cycling peaker plants.
3. I would avoid using cherry-picked statistics on subsamples (like select 40BCF EURs, Cabot only, 2016 when there was high grading, etc.). What matters is the average, if we want to look at numbers of wells needed. But even just looking at the average for 2014/2015 NE PA hz gas wells, they are already at 4BCF (now!) and project to something like 16BCF. [source, extending log cum versus rate, linearly, to 50mcf/day assumed shutoff.] You might end up a little better if everything breaks your way (continued efficiency gains, Terry Engelder "turn" in the decline curve, etc.) But 40 BCF seems very unlikely for the average well. Really I would just use 16 BCF as there are things that can break the opposite way also (exhaustion of sweet spot, e.g.).
Original Post 

In an earlier post, faux environmentalists greatly exaggerated the number of natural gas wells needed to supply a new natural gas plant in New York state. From that article (if the link breaks, go to this post):
CPV [a new plant in New York state] is projected to burn about 130,000 dekatherms per day, which is almost 130 million cubic feet of gas.
Since an average Marcellus well produces roughly four billion cubic feet of gas over its lifetime, this means that over forty years of operation CPV will require the fracking of nearly 500 gas wells. 
In fact, technology and completion strategies are moving so quickly, the "500-gas-wells" estimate is off by almost a factor of ten.

From a reader regarding that estimate:
In Pennsylvania alone, as of May, 2017, there were 1,754 wells out of 7,405 producers (24%) that have ALREADY produced over 4 Bcf. 
Recent advances now project EUR of future Marcellus wells to exceed 30 Billion cubic feet each
This eightfold increase over the author's number translates into only 70 wells needed to supply lifetime fuel to these plants
This nearly unlimited supply at extremely low cost ($8 million per well) is a big reason for such future optimism for the American economy. 
So, either the faux environmentalists are
  • generally ignorant;
  • not keeping up with technology;
  • are obfuscating; or,
  • outright lying.
It gets tedious.

Notes For The Granddaughters

How To Read Water: Clues and Patterns from Puddles to the Sea 
Tristan Gooley, 
c. 2016

I mentioned this book some time ago, but didn't quote from it. I'm re-reading the book. The first time through I found the book a bit tedious, but now, I am re-reading it, and finding it to be quite a gem.

From page 20, discussing capillary action:
It is time to look at this effect in a wider context.
The next time you pass a small river, stream, or ditch that has muddy banks, take a look at the mud on the bank. We would expect the mud to be dark and wet where the water is splashing it, but notice how it appears higher than the water splashed, higher than any water appears able to reach.
The mud above the water is a mixture of particles and air gaps, a little like a fine honeycomb of thin tubes. The water gets drawn up into these gaps by capillary action with the result that the mud becomes saturated above the level of the water in the ditch or stream. 
The distance that water can travel upward is influenced by a number of factors, including its purit -- clean water rises higher than polluted water -- but the main one is the size of the gaps between the particles
Water rise much higher in soils with fine rounded particles, like silts, than in course soils, like sandy ones. At the extremes, water can rise very high in clay but will hardly rise at all in gravel.
It gets tedious.

The faux environmentalists and CAVE dwellers have lots of advice but no viable solutions.

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