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SHALE OIL, FRACKING, AND….INDUCED EARTHQUAKES

Most of you have probably heard about the exciting "discovery" of the vast shale oil fields in Canada, western North Dakota, north western South Dakota, and north-eastern Wyoming and south-eastern Montana. Indeed, we've been treated to something of a political controversy between the Republithugs and the Dummycrooks over President Obama's flipflops on the oil pipeline from Canada to the British Petroleum oil-soaked Gulf of Mexico. (Now, for those of you wanting a little background on BP and its wonderful record, check out Greg Palast's Vulture's Picnic). The impression created in some people's minds I am sure is that these fields "just came to light."

Well, before we get into the meat of this blog, let me dissuade anyone that may have that impression from adhering to it. Having grown up in South Dakota, I well remember the first "Earth Day" back in 1973 or 74 (I forget which), in which we were(at least in South Dakota) reminded once again of the vast amounts of oil laying under the ground (and in many cases right on top of it), in the northwestern "butte" country region of the state just to the north of the Black Hills. (an area that, if you didn't know better, might look like parts of New Mexico). A short journey north from the forests and mountains around Spearfish through Belle Fourche will put you in what can only be described as a desert of barren buttes and hills, once a rich uranium mining area(the uranium is still there, just not profitable to mine).This field extends into western North Dakota (where most of the field lies), and is currently the site of an oil boom(just ask the people in Dickinson, North Dakota).

Well now, with all this in mind, I thought this article over at Boiling Frog was worth bringing to your attention (thanks to Mr. V.T. for bringing it to my attention):

The Serious Consequences of New Technologies to Explode Gas out of Shale Rock

The article, as you'll note, is by William Engdahl, a man whose research I respect. The article gets it correct, as the fracking technology has been around for a long time. Indeed, once again, I remember being told about it in school in reference to all that shale oil under the western Dakotas. And the chief concern, back then, as we were listening to our teachers explain the fracking process, was its environmental impact. You can imagine, then, my reaction to Engdahl's research disclosing the fact that the Hallburton loophole essentially exempts these companies from oversight. Don't get me wrong, I'm no rabid environmentalist; I do think these fields should be developed. But I am not a corporatist either, and we must have regard for the environment... I cannot imagine my beloved western South Dakota, with its mountains, buttes, and vast plains, its bison, antelope, lions, bears, eagles, undergoing yet another BP Gulf Oil spill type of event.

But what really leaped out at my attention was this:

"Not only possible poisoning of the fresh water underground aquifers, hydraulic fracking is done with such force that it has been also known to cause earthquakes. In the UK, Cuadrilla was doing shale gas drilling in Lancashire. They suspended their shale gas test drilling in June 2011, following two earthquakes—one tremor of magnitude 2.3 hit the Fylde coast on 1 April, followed by a second of magnitude 1.4 on 27 May. [16] A UK Government study of the earthquakes, released this April concluded that the fracking drilling operations had caused the quakes.[17] Earthquake activity in fracking regions across the US have also been reported."

Such a simple technique...and earthquakes are the result... just enough pressure, in a fault zone, and....

Well, for me, the implications seem to be worth entertaining, in yet another example of wild speculation. Members of my website will know that I have speculated in some "white papers" there about the possible technologies of earthquake production, technologies certainly more advanced than fracking. But it is interesting - and disturbing - to contemplate that with this technique, energy companies can now begin to compile their own private database of coordinating their fracking activities to earthquakes... and yet another technology could be honed. Can we all say breakaway civilization?

In any case, Engdahl gets it correct at the end of his article. These vast fields of shale oil really give lie to the directed history meme of the elite of Peak Oil and Peak civilization. The only question is, are we going to allow environmentally irresponsible companies such latitude?

See you on the flip side.

16 thoughts on “SHALE OIL, FRACKING, AND….INDUCED EARTHQUAKES”

  1. Joseph,
    One of the reasons why this is becoming an issue is because the nature of frac techniques have changed and are changing over the last 20 years. The old convention was pumping gel fracs. Gel was the medium to carry the sand into formation to create near well-bore conductivity. We put chemicals into the ground to break up the gel as a delayed agent once the sand and fluid are into the formation. These chemicals are pumped along with the frac near the tail end. This method was terrible at fracing very brittle and hard shale rock (but do okay in conventional reservoirs), and the gel would gum up the formation doing the opposite of what you intended to do.

    In the early ’90’s, a communication problem happened during a Frac Day in Tarrant County, TX to frac a Barnette Shale well. The Chemicals and Gel could not make it to the well site, so the team went ahead pumped the frac using ‘slic water’ and sand. Slick water is basically just fresh water + soap. Low and behold, this accident was a major break through in devloping unconventional reservoirs, and fracing was changed forever for shale rock. Slick Water was all that was needed. No chemicals, no gel. From then on, these unconventional shale plays were developed using this frac technique, and then they started pumping massive volumes, often 10 times greater than the volumes that had been done conventionally to get even more extension in a job.

    This will be a heavily debated issue going forward and companies must be transparent. This is major a issue in developing the Marcellus shale play in Pennsylvania. One can only imagine as massive quantities are being pumped into the ground in horizontal multi-stage fracs along with soap what this could do to ‘slicking up’ faults and slips in the ground. It’s not a sufficient condition to cause an earthquake, but as I have dialogued with some, it could provide a necessary condition for it.

    The unconventional techniques are more ‘green’ in the sense that we are just pumping soap + water, but the massive volumes could create quite another.

    I work in this industry as my day job(as you well know), so I thought I might help to shed some light and a little history as to what happened in the evolution of frac design.

    1. Hi Daniel…thanks for this post my friend…it, and the post from Brad Anderson, are greatly appreciated. It’s an issue that, as you say, is not going to go away any time soon.

  2. Actually, you don’t need to worry about northwestern SD yet. The oil fields there and in the neighboring parts of MT and ND are part of a well-developed oil deposit that sits at about 12,000 ft and is drilled by traditional methods.

    The big boom going on in western ND, northeast MT, and southern Sask that requires fracking is the Bakken formation (about 9000 ft), and according to geologists that I have talked to, has very distinct boundaries that are well-described because of the geological ridges that interrupt it. It doesn’t extend much south of Dickinson, ND.

    You are right that fracking has been around for a while, but it alone wasn’t enough to make this boom possible. What has been revolutionary is horizontal drilling — which is very new. Only by combining horizontal drilling with fracking has the current massive oil development in the Bakken been possible. The Alberta oil shale is yet a another separate formation that is so close to the surface that it is actually mined with strip-mining techniques, with the oil extracted from the “ore.”

    This is not to say that there won’t be new finds and new techniques for extracting oil in northwestern SD — after all, back in the 70’s, the world’s oil supply was going to be exhausted before the turn of the century, remember? the nice thing about horizontal drilling is that there is a minimum of holes that have to be drilled through the water table, cutting down the chances of hurting wells. Another interesting theory out there is that much of this oil may not have anything to do with fossils at all — some new theories about how oil is formed indicate that much of it may have nothing to do with ancient vegetation at all — which if proven, will set oil exploration looking in places never before thought to be explored.

  3. Members of my website will know that I have speculated in some “white papers” there about the possible technologies of earthquake production

    Read more: SHALE OIL, FRACKING, AND….INDUCED EARTHQUAKES
    – Giza Death Star Community

    a bit of a understatement, you have written novels on the subject…..if we will recall on the day of the crucifixion some weird anomalies were reported including earthquakes…I wonder if that could have something to do with decommissioning, commissioning the pyramids…could explain his remarkable recovery if it was some sort of tree of life giving properties, that elusive fountain of youth the Spaniards were searching for.

  4. Let’s all go over to Queen Elizabeth’s place. She’s got plenty of fresh, genetically diverse vegetables (locally grown) and pure, fresh drinking water. I’m sure she won’t mind. And she might even let us eat cake!

  5. Earthquake in Italy:
    experts say:
    Too much in the north. They expected some more in the south.
    Unexpected high replique. They expected repliques but significant lower intensity.

  6. James Dempsey

    Hmm? Ground water ah? As I recall large part of western North Dakota now has its water piped in from Lake Sackajawea to the north (sorry about the spelling). As several ranchers have already realized their polluted wells and damage to livestock aquifers since the beginning of the oil boom in the area.

  7. SilverSerpent

    Its been “Checkmate” for the tribal monkey long ago. The “In crowd” have been in ‘damage control’ mode for quite awhile. As with any energetics, the cliffhanger is fast approaching. Most will succumb to the sudden awakeners. Poor farmers, feeding themselves to the worldowners. Comfy? Well-earned. Hoho.

  8. I’ve noticed how most “green” people live amongst the brick and mortar of cities, they say we should live on top of each other in hi-rises like rats, and give the suburbs back to the animals I guess. To them a White baby is a “carbon footprint”, but pouring hundreds of millions of third worlders into EVERY and ONLY White countries, along with forced diversity/integration and assimilation/intermarriage in EVERY White community and ONLY White communities is “equal opportunity” – uh no, it’s genocide, White geNOcide.

  9. “Can we all say breakaway civilization?”- YES WE CAN! (forgive me for quoting Obama- I’ll try to better myself before my next posting- had a weak moment)-

    “energy companies can now begin to compile their own private database of coordinating their fracking activities to earthquakes… and yet another technology could be honed”-

    me thinks it was honed a long time ago and this article (the technology itself) is most probably a red herring- I truly believe that the minute a ‘new’ technology is announced it has already been there for quite some time and most probably now already obsolete- but yet they try to implement it (still profitable) to keep the masses in the dark (even more profitable)-

    if anyone takes Dr. Judy Wood’s research seriously one must come to the conclusion that there is a completely as of yet unpublicized “shit” technology out there (I appologize for my poor French) that explodes all human credulity-

    “These vast fields of shale oil really give lie to the directed history meme of the elite of Peak Oil and Peak civilization”- absolutely- couldn’t agree with you more- we all know the “meme” of ‘peak’ oil and that oil is a ‘fossil fuel’ is, well, a “meme”- L. Fletcher Prouty pointed that out many moons ago-

    I guess it doesn’t really matter anymore whether the Global Elite or a Break Away faction is truly in control- the thing we must realize is that every single one of us is being farmed and the first step to this realization is to finally realize the “meme” (I love that noun despite the fact it doesn’t exist according to Webster) of “your vote counts” is an illusion- once people finally realize this and subsequently take action can we rid ourselves of the Global Elite/Breakaway Society-

    many regards to all,

    Larry in Germany

  10. Flooding the whole country with non-Whites will help the enviorment, won’t it? As a matter of fact genociding the entire White race will help the whole world won’t it? However, genocide is a crime, even for the smallest tribe. If we can’t see the evil promoted in every White country, it’s safe to say the enviorment will suffer untold destruction.

    1. More and more people are waking up to the ongoing genocide that is forced onto all majority White countries and only White countries. Louder and louder is the consistant message spredding out across the planet condemning the “elite” of GENOCIDE. Go to Prevent Genocide International to teach yourself the international legal deffinition of genocide. The “elite” are indeed guilty as charged. Justice is one aspect of compassion for the people. The short version of the mantra is “Africa for the Africans, Asia for the Asians, White countries for everyone!” Just say geNOcide Love is THE answer Don

  11. Robert Barricklow

    They just keep getting in the face of “the public”. I’ve long said the “the public” has become enemy #1. This is just another nail in the public’s coffin, aka cannon fodder, aka coffin candidates.
    The water is a key resource, much more valuable than the so-called energies achieved. Another Frankenstein technological approach to problem/solution/crisis/problem/solution/crisis…
    monkey chasing the weasel

  12. With all this fracking TPTB plan on doing, I’m concerned that the secret underground transport tunnels and shelters BigGov has built over the last few decades are going to suffer damage and the elites will not be able to utilize them in the coming apocalypse. I am really looking forward to the time these weasels bury themselves and want to provide every opportunity for them to do so.

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