Ch. 25: Gas Pains Presented by Derek Nordby
“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” • Every form of energy is going to come with a cost to humans/the environment. • Hydropower • Flooding of rivers and streams. • Oil & gas • Land usage for drilling an pipelines. • Oil spills. • Coal • Mines tear up the land. • Hydrocarbon combustion • Large quantities of CO2 emissions.
Gas • Hydraulic fracturing is used in extraction • Additives cause concerns about water regulations. • 2004: EPA study says that there is no evidence that fracturing is a danger to drinking-water. • IPAA claims >1 million wells have been drilled in the past 50 years and no documented cases of contaminated drinking-water. • Lustergarten reports on ground water contamination in WY. • 2009: EPA does 2nd study and finds 11 of 34 wells contaminated.
Politics • Industry opponents want more federal oversight. • Determining where some companies are drilling. • While site locations are being limited, the U.S. still needs many new wells.
Well Production • Some new wells’ production will drop 80-90% within the first year. • Overall well productivity is also decreasing. • 1971: 435,000 ft3/day • 2008: 113,000 ft3/day • Forces companies to look for new wells. • 2008: 60,000 new wells in U.S.
Upsides • Gas industry continues to improve. • Drilling from farther away. • TCU Horned Frogs’ stadium. • Water usage is not as big of a deal as it’s made out to be. • Marcellus Shale (Pennsylvania) • If increased to drilling 3,000 wells/year • 30 million gallons of water each day • Pennsylvania electric sector • ~5.9 billion gallons/day (200x more than natural gas projections)
Conclusion • Natural gas is not a perfect fuel, but it is the greenest of the hydrocarbons. • In order to get away from using hydrocarbons, we have only one choice. • Nuclear power.
References • Bryce, Robert. Power Hungry: The Myths of "green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future. New York, NY: PublicAffairs, 2010. Print.