Fracking dirty secrets


Shale oil and gas are the main causes of the climate emergency

The massive floods in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana are described as historical and unprecedented. Flooding will happen again, and it might be worse, due to the new climate. NASA Earth Observatory images show the extent of the devastating flooding.

Ban Fracking

From a climate perspective, shale gas is worse than coal. The real solution to methane emissions is to ban fracking in the U.S. Instead, Donald Trump is going full steam ahead trying to export methane, building $30 billion liquified natural gas (LNG) stations at the Gulf of Mexico.

When Trump went to the Saudi Summit in May 2017, he triggered a naval blockade by the Saudis. At the time it did not make sense, Qatar hosts the largest American military base in the Mideast. Fracking may be the reason behind this move. Qatar is the world’s leading exporter of LNG.

Trump has sold fracking leases on American monuments and federal lands with executive power to approve pipelines, making opposition a criminal offense. In addition to ecocide, the Gulf Coast is eroding and exposed to massive hurricanes. Ignoring climate and geography is inexcusable.

Fracking Secrets

Recent reports on the Permian Basin, where operators are paying to have shale gas taken away, and from other shale plays disclose these surprising secrets.

Why are there millions of abandoned wells?

Drilling an oil well can be done in a few months for around $10 million. Geologists locate sites with oil deposits, but the number of barrels that can be extracted is unknown. Most shale wells have a short productive life, around three years. The choices when production decreases are 1) invest millions to “stimulate” the well, or 2) wait for the price of oil to go up. Most wells are abandoned, ignoring the constant methane emissions.

Why do frackers keep drilling?

Fracking is a tax scam for high-income investors who get unique tax incentives. With fracking, unlike conventional drilling, there are no proven oil reserves, but the depletion allowance continues.

Consider the 1926 depleting allowance, 27.5 percent. “Jed” drills a well at a cost of $100,000. The well produces $1 million worth of oil per year for ten years. Jed takes a $275,000 tax depletion allowance every year. In 10 years, Jed has deducted $2.75 million from his taxable income and made $10,000,000 in oil sales. The $2.75 million is paid by American middle class families.

Counting barrels of oil

Drilling for crude oil releases a mixture of crude oil, water, and methane (along with propane, ethane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen sulfide, and helium, known as natural gas.) Wastewater is highly toxic and corrosive. Methane and the other gases are highly flammable.

Fracking in the Permian is all about oil. Liquids are easy to store and transport. Most operators burn the gases onsite (flaring) or release the gases to the atmosphere (venting). Flaring methane is a source of heat and carbon dioxide, venting methane has 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide within 10 years of release. Over time, methane (CH4), breaks down into carbon dioxide (CO2), and water vapor (H2O). Methane has a two-punch deadly warming power.

Freedom, liberty, and equality

Freedom, liberty, and equality are fundamental American values. Fracking and freedom don’t belong together. Why is the U.S. Department of Energy exporting LNG as “Molecules of Freedom?” This is worse than trying to sell clean coal as a sideshow at the 2018 U.N. Convention on Climate Change. The U.S. Economy is at high risk of going up in flames in 2020 with an abundance of Freedom gas.

No pollution, no emissions, and no corruption will be the issues for the 2020 elections.

Stop Burning

Solar, wind, and energy storage systems stop greenhouse gas emissions created when burning fossil fuels. Green energy and storage, improving swiftly in cost and performance, are driving the world’s economy.

Pumped hydro power, ‎compressed air energy storage, ‎solid state batteries, and other energy storage systems for distributed and grid-scale can power the economy. High torque electric vehicles are the best transportation solution.

Dr. Luis Contreras


  1. Louisiana Offers Tellurian Single Largest Local Tax Giveaway in American History

    Louisiana plans to collect no industrial property tax from the $15.2 billion Driftwood liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal planned for its southwest corner, state officials announced last week.

    Critics say this tax break is worth $1.4 to $2.4 billion, making it one of the largest local corporate tax exemptions in American history

    The Driftwood LNG terminal, which would liquefy and export 4 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day, is one of over a dozen gas export terminals proposed around the U.S. and fueled by a glut of shale gas released by fracking.

    Two other proposed Gulf Coast export terminals are pending.

    The move comes as a group of investors and insurers have called on the U.S. to end fossil fuel subsidies entirely by 2020, citing the risk that climate change poses to the global economy.

  2. U.S. Economy at risk

    Bethany McLean explores those fears in her newly published book, Saudi America: The Truth About Fracking and How It’s Changing the World. She delved into those issues a article in The New York Times titled, “The Next Financial Crisis Lurks Underground.”

    The International Energy Agency earlier this year captured the significance of the U.S. shale industry in a report. “Global oil production capacity is forecast to grow to reach 107 million barrels per day by 2023,” it noted. “Thanks to the shale revolution, the United States leads the picture. Growth is led by the Permian Basin [in Texas], where output is expected to double by 2023.”

    “Fracking is a business built on attracting ever-more gigantic amounts of capital investment, while promises of huge returns have yet to bear out,” says an introduction to McLean’s book. In fact, North American exploration and production companies saw their net debt balloon from $50 billion in 2005 to nearly $200 billion by 2015, according to a recent research paper by Amir Azar, fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.

    The U.S. shale oil industry hailed as a “revolution” has burned through a quarter trillion dollars more than it has brought in over the last decade. It has been a money-losing endeavor of epic proportions.

  3. As spot prices in the region have languished near or below zero, natural gas flaring and venting in the Permian Basin has climbed to an all-time high, according to new estimates published this week by Rystad Energy.

    By Rystad’s count, flaring and venting volumes in Permian producing areas of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico set an all-time record record during the first quarter, averaging as much as 661 MMcf/d.

    “This widespread waste of a valuable commodity is the result of persistent infrastructure challenges, a lack of sufficient takeaway capacity and an unexpected outage on a key pipeline in the area,” Rystad concluded.

    As a point of comparison, Shell’s Mars-Ursa complex, the most productive gas facility in the Gulf of Mexico, currently produces around 260-270 MMcf/d of gross natural gas, only about 40% of the gas flared and vented in the Permian each day, according to Rystad.

    The Permian Basin is by far the most active play in the U.S. onshore, and drilling activity there is largely driven by liquids economics. Associated gas output in the region has outrun the available takeaway, and even seemingly minor pipeline restrictions have corresponded with big downward spot price swings for natural gas.

  4. Solar energy storage is changing the game

    Energy storage developers announced on Thursday, along with Republican Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, what they say will be the world’s largest clean energy storage project at 1 GW.

    The Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project in central Utah will utilize four storage technologies: renewable hydrogen, compressed air energy storage, large-scale flow batteries and solid oxide fuel cells.

    The project will be developed by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) and Magnum Development. The companies say MHPS has pioneered gas turbine technology enabling a mixture of renewable hydrogen and natural gas low-emissions power.

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