The Weekly Oil & Gas Follies

Mar 30 2014, 1:01pm CDT | by

The Weekly Oil & Gas Follies
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

The Weekly Oil and Gas Follies – Volume 39, March 31, 2014

In which we drill down into the @GDBlackmon Twitter feed to briefly chronicle the week’s silliness, shenanigans, fake news and real news related to the oil and natural gas industry.


The title of this piece is true – after all, there seldom are easy solutions for our fantasies.  We have no easy solutions for Darth Vader, Klingons or Godzilla, either:  Peak Oil:  No Easy Solutions – Alternative energy depends heavily on engineered equipment and infrastructure for capture or conversion. However, the full supply chain for alternative energy, from raw materials to manufacturing, is still very dependent on fossil fuel energy.  [In the end, how can you get rid of fossil fuels when you need them to construct alternative energy resources?]….

When we awoke to the news about the latest earthquake in Los Angeles, we wondered how long it would take for some nitwit in the “media” to blame it on “fracking”.  After all, it no longer matters that LA sits in the middle of the nation’s most active earthquake region, smack on top of the San Andreas Fault system, or that there never has been any significant hydraulic fracturing operations in the area – to the tiny-minded among us, any earthquake that happens anywhere, anytime, of any magnitude simply MUST be caused by the new enviro boogeyman, fracking.  Luckily for us, there are several nitwits writing for the web-based fake news site,, and it thus took less than 24 hours before our speculation bore fruit.  So here we give you our Mindnumbingly Fake News Piece of the Week!:  What the Frack:  The Latest Earthquake Swarms in Los Angeles – Just a little over ten days ago, after the 4.4 magnitude earthquake, dubbed the “Shamrock Shake”, shook many of us out of bed on March 17th, the Los Angeles City Council called on city staff to investigate whether natural gas and oil drilling methods, such as fracking, helped trigger that earthquake.  According to CBS news and other sources, Councilmen Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin introduced the motion, which was then seconded by Councilman Bernard Parks. The motion would direct city staff members from the city to work with the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geotherman Resources (DOGGR), the U.S. Geological Survey and the South Coast Air Quality Management District in order to produce a report a report looking into whether a link may exist between fracking and the temblor.

The Oil Patch Photo of the Week:

 An oil tanker in the Houston Ship Channel

In a world filled with abusive “fracktivists”, none are more self-righteously out of control than Vera Scroggins:  Vera Scroggins Plays the Martyr – Vera Scroggins is an attention seeking fractivist who operates out of Pennsylvania and is on a mission to keep fracking out of New York. Her neighbors and one gas company have had quite enough. And, she’s at it again.  No matter how many times science and facts prove natural gas development is safe, the one and only Vera Scroggins continues to make a spectacle of herself on a regular basis, particularly in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, where she moved to several years ago from New Jersey. She’s not happy unless she’s sticking her thumb in someone’s eye and then crying “he hurt me” and she’s doing it yet again.

Speaking of abusive Fracktivists, they and the anti-Keystone XL lobby take abuse of the public trust to new heights with their baseless cancer-related claims: Anti-Fracking/Keystone Groups make desperate ‘cancer’ claims to push agenda – Did you know that hydraulic fracking and the oil sands that would be transported by the Keystone XL pipeline cause cancer?  It makes sense: Environmentalists don’t like fracking or the Keystone XL, therefore, they cause cancer, right?  Well, actually, no.  It turns out that despite Dr. John O’Connor’s decade-old claim that his town of Fort Chipewyan in Canada had absurdly high cancer rates due to oil sands, the facts tell a different story.  A report from Alberta’s chief provincial medical officer found that cancer rates in Fort Chipewyan were absolutely normal. Three types of cancer had a few more cases than expected, but none of those cancers are linked to environmental pollutants.

On Friday, the White House release its “strategy” to reduce methane emissions.  The “strategy” would ultimately result in heavy-handed regulation of the natural gas industry, landfills and coal mines.  Funny, though, there is no mention of any strategy to implement heavy-handed, command and control regulations of farm animal flatulence, which is a far great source than any that would come under the federal government’s umbrella:  A Strategy To Cut Methane Emissions – In June 2013, President Obama gave a speech at Georgetown University where he laid out both the case for action on climate change and the steps his Administration will take to address it. The Climate Action Plan that the President announced includes steps to cut carbon pollution, help prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change that are already on the way, and continue American leadership in international efforts to combat global climate change.

And quite a tale it is.  One industry is a real industry, and creates real jobs by the tens of thousands, the other industry must be heavily subsidized in order to even exist, because it is non-competitive.  Guess which industry fits which description?:  A Tale of Two Cities – The U.S. metro area with the lowest unemployment rate is a shale oil boomtown. The one with the highest unemployment rate houses the world’s largest solar plant.  Energy policy experts are pointing to that dichotomy as evidence that job creation potential in the energy industry lies primarily with fossil fuels, despite the administration’s insistence on creating a “clean energy economy.”

And Texas Produces 35% of it:  The U.S. Now Produces Greater than 10% of the World’s Oil – U.S. tight oil production averaged 3.22 million barrels per day (MMbbl/d) in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This level was enough to push overall crude oil production in the United States to an average of 7.84 MMbbl/d, more than 10% of total world production, up from 9% in the fourth quarter of 2012. The United States and Canada are the only major producers of tight oil in the world. In recent years, North American producers have developed technologically advanced drilling and completion processes to produce oil from tight formations.

You don’t say…:  Census Data Show Oil & Gas Boom Fueled Historic Growth in Recent Years – The nation’s energy boom, stoked by technological advances both onshore and offshore, drove significant economic growth for the oil and gas industry, which also fueled a corresponding population boom in resource-rich areas such as North Dakota and Texas between 2007 and 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  The bureau’s Economic Census Advance Report, released Wednesday, provides the first comprehensive look at the U.S. economy since the Great Recession, supplying data on a series of key metrics across more than 1,000 industries. The report comes out every five years.   The latest report showed remarkable growth in the “mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector,” which was among the fastest-growing employers between 2007 and 2012, tracking the renaissance in the country’s onshore oil and gas fields.  Employment across the sector increased by 23% to 903,841 jobs during the five year period, while revenues jumped 34% to $555 billion in the same time.

If every company did what this one is doing, we’d have much less controversy about “fracking”:  More Voices Needed to Validate Fracking, Noble Executive Says – There are significant anti-fracking efforts with sophisticated campaigns, and in my view it is not just about fracking but about opposing fossil fuels,” said Fisher, noting it is going to require what he called “a lot of engagement” by the industry to make the case that domestic energy gas supplies can be produced safely and in a sustainable manner.  “We are trying to make sure information is available and we have trained more than 100 of our employees in Colorado to be what we call ‘ambassadors’; we are giving them economic and technical information, along with communication skills to be out on the front lines.

Some Quick Hits:

This great chart brought to you by your local oil and natural gas industry:  U.S. Was More Energy Self Sufficient in 2013 Than Any Year Since 1987

Bjorn Lomborg exposes the sham that is Earth HourEarth Hour Just a Feel Good Campaign

Great Photo Gallery Here

That’s plenty for now – see you next week!

Follow me on Twitter at @GDBlackmon

Source: Forbes Business


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