Global warming is overlooked by the Trump administration while the impacts are in plain sight. An iceberg the size of Delaware is expected to break from the Antarctic in a few days, and others may follow.
Is leaving the Paris Accord, falsely accusing Qatar of being a main sponsor of terrorism, selling $110 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia, exporting natural gas, and Arctic offshore drilling the America First climate strategy?
The promise of bottomless oil and natural gas (NG) from shale fracking is dishonest. Frackers have created the illusion we have all we need and plenty to export. “Energy R US” is a Stephen King horror story. All looks good until things go to hell. Let’s look at the facts.
Poland – 300 years of energy independence
In 2011, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated Poland’s shale gas reserves at 5.3 trillion cubic meters. ExxonMobil, Marathon, Talisman and others showed up ready to “help.” After four years and drilling over 70 wells, nothing was found. Did EIA make a 5.3 trillion cubic meter mistake? No, EIA did not say shale gas would be found, EIA made a prediction based on geological data. Trump used EIA predictions on U.S. reserves, and one shipment arriving at the U.K. last month to back up his Warsaw sales pitch, “If you need energy, just give us a call.”
Never a fracker nor cracker be
There are many hidden fracking problems. The number of U.S. rigs drilling for gas has almost doubled since August 2016, but the output continues to fall. The best shale plays look good, but then the wells dry up, and new deeper wells have a short life. Frackers keep drilling just to make up for what they take, a vicious cycle known as depletion or Ponzi drilling.
Qatar and Iraq have massive natural gas deposits, billions of dollars, state-of-the-art Liquid Natural Gas facilities, storage, terminals, and tankers. LNG tankers are specially designed double hull carriers.
QatarGas has pioneered the development of two new classes of LNG carriers, referred to as Q-Flex and Q-Max. Each ship has a cargo capacity of between 7.4 and 9.4 million cubic feet, equipped with a re-liquefaction plant. Qatar owns the LNG market. LNG is not liquid propane. Trump owes Qatar an apology, the U.S. is not in their league.
The U.S. has limited, low-quality shale gas mixed with water and other gases from fracking. Cheniere is our sole LNG export facility with a single terminal in Texas. LNG, made from pure methane, requires refrigerated storage and tankers. What if someone calls Trump today?
Burning natural gas is worse than coal
Our survival depends on preventing additional greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the next 20 to 30 years. Today, at 410 parts per million CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, methane emissions from leaks, venting and flaring in the NG supply chain must be stopped. Methane is a GHG 100 times more potent than CO2 in the short-term. At NG power plants, incomplete combustion of methane releases carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and carbon. Carbon monoxide creates ozone, a GHG.
NG sold as a “bridge fuel” has had undesirable results. Due to false perceptions, fracking boomed and unnecessary NG power plants have been built. NG is not a bridge but a “wall” blocking zero-emission solar and wind power. Why? Trump has not found a way to sell wind or sunlight!
Evening flaring at North Dakota visible from space
NG flaring wastes millions of dollars. Leaks and vents are ignored. Why? The 2016 regulations on methane emissions, the first attempt in more than 30 years, were opposed by Oil and Gas, blocked by the House, and narrowly passed by the Senate in May. Millions of dollars spent on lobbyists shows widespread methane emissions and the low cost of votes in Congress.
Make polluters pay
Cheap energy, ignoring the total cost to society, is the main cause of the climate emergency. Dr. James Hansen, a legendary climate expert and climate activist, says Carbon Fee and Dividend is the best strategy for survival.
Dr. Luis Contreras