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Geologists Say UK Shale Deposits Hold Vast Energy Reserves 241

Posted by timothy
from the well-we've-got-to-heat-an-awful-lot-of-tea dept.
fishmike writes with this news snipped from a Reuters story: "Britain may have enough offshore shale gas to catapult it into the top ranks of global producers, energy experts now believe, and while production costs are still very high, new U.S. technology should eventually make reserves commercially viable. UK offshore reserves of shale gas could exceed one thousand trillion cubic feet (tcf), compared to current rates of UK gas consumption of 3.5 tcf a year, or five times the latest estimate of onshore shale gas of 200 trillion cubic feet."
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Geologists Say UK Shale Deposits Hold Vast Energy Reserves

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  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Monday April 23, 2012 @06:28AM (#39768887) Homepage Journal

    After all, the Thames estuary can't be hurt by a few anthropogenic earthquakes, [wired.com] now? Can it?

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday April 23, 2012 @06:42AM (#39768959) Journal

      After all, the Thames estuary can't be hurt by a few anthropogenic earthquakes, [wired.com] now? Can it?

      I'd be far more worried about the water laced with sand and chemicals that is shot down into the Earth to release this gas from the shale. They can't leave it down there for fear of it seeping into the water table and when they suck it up, what do they do with it? And in some US states, it appears that when people think they are affected by it the company responsible doesn't have to tell them what their area was exposed to [latimes.com]. It's well known that it contaminates water supply [npr.org] but greed can overpower any environmental problems. Luckily we should be able to watch Pennsylvania screw up their own water and hopefully other states will take a different approach.

      I wonder how many laws and regulations UKELA will let slide in order for England to "catapult into the top ranks of global producers."

      • by sFurbo (1361249) on Monday April 23, 2012 @07:12AM (#39769083)

        They can't leave it down there for fear of it seeping into the water table and when they suck it up, what do they do with it?

        Given that it is pumped into oil/gas-carrying rock, it will not seep into the water table. If it could, the oil or gas would be long gone. The problem is that you must pump some of it out to get acces to the oil or gas, and even if it was pure water you pumped down, the water coming up has been in contact with oil and is not clean. With horizontal drilling, you end up with quite a lot of dirty water, and no good way to get rid of it. Another problem is the casing of the pipes going down. It seems to be hard to make sure it is done properly, and if it isn't, you risk the pipe breaking and the fracking fluid running out. As the pipes are necessarily drilled through the aquifer, this is clearly problematic.

        We have established it in one case with quite a special geologic profile (the fracking happened much closer to the surface than normal). That is a far cry from it being an established, general problem. It is cause for concern, especially for shallow fracking, but I think the two problems I mentioned first are more acute.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Given that it is pumped into oil/gas-carrying rock, it will not seep into the water table. If it could, the oil or gas would be long gone.

          Hydraulic fracturing. That oil/gas-carrying rock is fractured in the process. You will state that there is no chance this is released upward or will ultimate find its way upward?

          • by sFurbo (1361249) on Monday April 23, 2012 @07:35AM (#39769183)
            Through kilometers of rock that has held gas for millenia? While "no chance" is extreme, I would say that there are far more relevant concerns with regards to fracking.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Sarten-X (1102295)

            Through 7 kilometers (4 miles) of rock that's resistant enough to breaking that we drill around it? Through strata that tend to separate horizontally, rather than vertically? There is a chance, but it's roughly the same as the chance that politicians will ever actually talk about the realistic problems with fracking (waste disposal, mostly) rather than the fearmongering (contamination, "peak energy") that's effectively unsupported by any scientific studies.

            • Well, I guess the question then becomes, is this strata similar to, say, shatter-resistant glass? And if so, what do you imagine would happen if you first (a) drilled through several separate panes/layers of shatter-resistant glass over a lower chamber of gas and then (b) stared pumping water into that chamber greatly increasing the pressure, even if it's for a short time, then sucking out the gas and water greatly decreasing the pressure? I mean, I recognize rock is a lot harder than glass. But, if dril

        • by sribe (304414)

          Given that it is pumped into oil/gas-carrying rock, it will not seep into the water table. If it could, the oil or gas would be long gone.

          Yoh, the entire point of "hydraulic fracturing" is to fracture the rock so that the oil/gas can be be brought to the surface. You know, if the process did not allow the oil/gas to reach the surface, it would be kind of pointless wouldn't it?

          • by sFurbo (1361249)
            The point is to fracture the bed so the gas can make it to the drilling head. From there, there is a pipe taking it to the surface. It is not supposed to reach the surface on its own, how would you use that?
            • by sribe (304414)

              The point is to fracture the bed so the gas can make it to the drilling head.

              No shit, sherlock. However, you have now fractured the rock that has contained it for millions of years. How exactly do you defend the argument that the now-fractured rock formation will contained the fracking chemicals???

              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by chill (34294)

                Uh, they're fracturing the rock layer down a few Km where the gas is, not the Km of rock on top of it. You still have layers upon layers of rock on top that is just as it was, except with a bore hole through one point.

                • by sribe (304414)

                  You still have layers upon layers of rock on top that is just as it was, except with a bore hole through one point.

                  Maybe, or maybe those layers are not actually quite just as they were before. Also, some of the aquifers go really deep, and there's plenty of migration through some of those "layers upon layers of rock". And of course you also need to claim that after the earthquakes, all those layers will still be intact. That's quite a succession of dependent claims to assert...

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Monday April 23, 2012 @09:20AM (#39770013) Homepage Journal

          Given that it is pumped into oil/gas-carrying rock, it will not seep into the water table.

          Start the countdown to the news announcement that fracking is really "healthy for the Earth" along with pictures of children planting flowers around the site.

          There's a guy from some energy corp-funded "Family Council on Freedom, Prosperity and Liberty for Families" who's written a book and doing the circuit of schools and right-wing media and church groups who explains how fossil fuels are just "chewed up plant matter" which is "food for our society" and the fact that it's "chewed up plant matter" is proof that you can't get energy from the sun. Or something. He's a Texan (natch) and has a down-homey way of speech, sort of like if Will Rogers was one of the Koch Brothers.

          Fracking - what could go wrong?

          • by sFurbo (1361249)
            A lot of things can go wrong, but several kilometers of cap rock cracking is not near the top of that list. If we keep discussing it as if it is, we will not get anything done to the things that are actually likely to happen, hell, that does happen when people frack.
          • by DesScorp (410532)

            Given that it is pumped into oil/gas-carrying rock, it will not seep into the water table.

            Start the countdown to the news announcement that fracking is really "healthy for the Earth" along with pictures of children planting flowers around the site.

            Sure, right after the countdown that were doomed, doomed if we do it, and that our only hope is wind powered cars.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2012 @08:10AM (#39769361)

        England isn't the UK. Most of the reserves are off the coast of Scotland.

      • by denzo (113290) on Monday April 23, 2012 @08:36AM (#39769559)

        I'd be far more worried about the water laced with sand and chemicals that is shot down into the Earth to release this gas from the shale. They can't leave it down there for fear of it seeping into the water table and when they suck it up, what do they do with it?

        First, let me put out there that I Am A Frac Engineer (IAAFE), so take what I am about to say for what that's worth...

        Sand (or other suitable grain material, known as "proppant") is pumped into a hydrocarbon-bearing formation to keep induced fractures propped open after frac operations have finished, so that such fractures do not close up (negating the effects of creating the fractures in the first place). Sand keeps that "highway" open from the fracture network in the formation to the wellbore, so that oil and gas can freely flow to the production tubulars and up to the surface. I assure you that the intention, by design, is to *keep* the sand in the formation, not "suck it back up".

        The best frac fluid by far (for optimum oil and gas production) is plain freshwater with no additives whatsoever. However, in the real world various additives are necessary to make fracturing possible: anti-clay swelling agents (NaCl, KCl) are needed to keep clays in the formation rock from swelling up and closing up pore throats, acrylamide polymers are needed to reduce the pipe friction of water at fracturing rates so that surface pressures are minimized, surfactants are used to reduce the surface tension of the water so that the water does not block up the pores and fissures by capillary effects, guar gum is used to gel up the water so that sands don't settle out of the water too soon (causing the sand to bridge off and block flow), etc. The total concentration of chemical additives used in the frac fluid usually does not exceed 0.5% by volume, and at those concentrations are relatively benign.

        Frac fluids are flowed back naturally to surface, not "sucked up". The reason they are flowed back is that, well, you can't immediately tie the well to a sales line and start selling it until the produced fluids meet a certain quality. The first fluids that flow back out are the last you put in (LIFO), so by extension the frac fluid would be the first fluids back to surface (and they aren't worth anything to any gas pipeline companies or oil refiners), so they must be stored in a tank and hauled off to wherever it goes (either disposed of in a permitted waste disposal well, or recycled for other frac jobs).

        It's well known that it contaminates water supply [npr.org] but greed can overpower any environmental problems.

        No, it is not a well-known fact. It is presumed in some cases, but not proven. The link you cited has many other factors that have contributed to water contamination, including the shallowness of the hydrocarbon-bearing formation, and the fact that surface retention pits were largely unregulated for a certain period of time. Surface pollution *is* well known to cause water contamination. Engineers and geologists also know that if your hydrocarbon-bearing formation is within a few hundred feet of a water table, that hydraulically-induced fractures *can* propagate into them. There are a few scientific methods [epa.gov] for measuring hydraulically-induced fracture growth, which have been utilized in every active shale play in the United States.

        • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:33AM (#39770735) Homepage

          Nice description but I think it would be better as a car analogy....

          The one bit that you didn't mention (on top of 100+ years of the minutia of drilling technology) is the casing. That seems to be where many of the problems have occurred (the other is bad water disposal practices - mostly a political issue rather than a technical one). As the well is drilled, pieces of pipe are dropped in to create an open bore. It isn't just one giant piece of metal, it's a series of tubes. Of different sizes and types. They are sealed via several methods but the most problematic one is cementing [wikipedia.org]. It is a complicated, expensive process and, in fact, the primary reason that the Macondo well failed.

          If you don't cement properly stuff leaks out. Hydrocarbons, all the icky stuff in the fracking fluid. Drilling mud (which isn't so terribly benign by itself).

          IANACI (I am not a cementing engineer) but from my limited petrogeology courses a billion years ago and my reading of the issue it's like many complex, high tech things - you can take the time and money to do it right, or you can cheat and try to cheap out. Which often works, but when it fails, it makes an unholy mess.

          Fracking is one of those things that needs to be done correctly. All of the time. It can be done, it has been done in many places (Horizontal fracturing has been done extensively for 50+ years and is only now the current boggie man). There are places where it can be done (relatively) safely. There are places where it shouldn't be done at all and all manner in between.

          • Actually, the wikipedia article I cited was mostly about the casing - but it's just part of the same issue and problem. You can screw a well up in a variety of entertaining and expensive ways.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        I'd be far more worried about the water laced with sand and chemicals that is shot down into the Earth to release this gas from the shale.

        I'd be far more worried about where all that CO2 is going to end up. We're already past the tipping point for serious climate change, and they want to increase fossil fuel production? Stupid crazy bastards.

    • by rainmouse (1784278) on Monday April 23, 2012 @06:51AM (#39768997)

      After all, the Thames estuary can't be hurt by a few anthropogenic earthquakes, [wired.com] now? Can it?

      Considering the majority of the gas reserves are in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland it seems unlikely that London (seemingly the only city in the UK that most have heard of) will suffer any form of earth quakes, though they may well lose out if Scotland is granted their independence in 2014 when the vote comes.

      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        I thought most of the fracking protests were taking place around Blackpool, so unless you have an American's knowledge of geography, you're wrong. The shale gas is all under the west coast of England in Lancashire.

        So all the London politicians can rest easy, knowing any shit that happens will happen to someone else far away up north. Hopefully the nuclear reactors they also foisted on those people won't get damaged, but hey - its not in Notting Hill, so no worries.

  • by siddesu (698447) on Monday April 23, 2012 @06:29AM (#39768895)
    Shale gas and oil is still fossil fuel, and we are still threatened by climate changes due to the increase of greenhouse gases, aren't we? Or is the Sun going to dim and save us all?
    • by arcite (661011) on Monday April 23, 2012 @06:34AM (#39768921)
      Climate change is here and now. The Earth is already irretrievably changed from the state it was in even one hundred years ago. We must make the best of a bad situation. Greater energy efficiency would be a good way to start.
      • by siddesu (698447)
        But we're getting better extraction efficiency instead, and only hoping that the increase in fuel costs will be enough to trigger said efficiencies. Will it?
        • by arcite (661011)
          IMO, we already have the technology, look at the new LED lights coming on the market which can save big money for everyone...unfortunately all this new technology is still horribly expensive. It needs to get cheaper, and fast. I would love to have solar panels on my roof, but its just too costly.
          • by siddesu (698447)

            And that is exactly the problem, although lighting is a small part of it. Efficiency will require retooling and refurbishing most of the economy and industry. This will require not only new technology, but also enormous capital and energy expenditure and serious financial incentives.

            It seems we have plenty in the way of incentives for efficient extraction provided by the oil and gas market itself already, but the incentives to save energy and resources for a better future are just not there, neither in th

            • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Monday April 23, 2012 @07:56AM (#39769287) Homepage

              Efficiency will require retooling and refurbishing most of the economy and industry.

              Not really, many of the big savings will come naturally as things like light bulbs and vehicles reach their end of life and are replaced. With rising energy costs replacing or upgrading other equipment is becoming the most economically sensible thing to do already.

              A lot of people seem to think that green policies are focused on forcing them to change, but actually they are mostly about providing good options when change comes along. Need a new car? There are plenty of efficient models out there now.

            • by denzo (113290)

              but the incentives to save energy and resources for a better future are just not there, neither in the developed, nor in the developing world.

              Yeah, there's no incentive to buy a fuel-efficient car or energy-saving lightbulbs. Oh wait, yes there is... it's called saving money! I make a consumer-driven decision to buy a 40-highway-MPG car to commute in and CFL lightbulbs, because I like to lower my monthly bills. The higher gasoline and electricity prices become, the more I save. Pure capitalism works well good because the best decisions are made by the consumer; however, pure capitalism does not currently exist in the Free World(TM).

          • by Anonymous Coward

            I'm trying to find the study - it was written about in the Economist a few months ago.

            Anyway, what the study found - going all the way back when folks moved from candles to oil - to gas - light bulbs - is that as lighting becomes cheaper and more efficient, folks use more of it thereby negating any energy savings.

            Here's one contemporary LED example: go into any home center (or open up an architecture magazine or kitchen design book) and go to the kitchen design area. You will notice in the design catalogs a

          • by fatphil (181876)
            Whilst I have a heater running off a thermostat, incandescant light-bulbs help reduce my heating bill. I shall continue to use these glowing heat-balls until they prize them from my warm dead hands.
            • by Shatrat (855151)

              Heating your home with electricity is cheaper than heating it with oil or gas or whatever your furnace is using?

              Do you leave your TV and computers on 24/7 as well?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Rogerborg (306625)
      • Sitting in a climate controlled room and fretting about the environment using a massive global information network.
      • Shivering in a dark cave and gnawing on your aunt's shinbone while exclaiming "Me um welcome natural re-glaciation".

      Choose one. And no, I am not joking, not in the slightest. Solar, wind and wave are boondoggles, spending fossil energy up front to create inefficient, (generally) unreliable generators that will pack up and die long before they pay back the energy that's gone into making and

  • Dig baby dig! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by arcite (661011)
    The only hope for western democracies to survive the future is to become energy independent. No longer will we need to depend on threats from Russia, or the antics of Chavez, or put up with the theatrics of Iran. Energy independence secures freedom and liberty. When it comes to shale, natural gas, even uranium, thankfully US, Canada, and other western powers have a majority share. Unfortunately, China will find they have a deficit in the near future, which is probably why they are beefing up their military.
    • Re:Dig baby dig! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by siddesu (698447) on Monday April 23, 2012 @06:36AM (#39768929)

      The only hope is to develop alternatives that do not require burning of precious resources for energy. Given the many irreplaceable uses that oil and gas have beyond energy, not investing enough into research of safe and plentiful alternatives seems like a much bigger folly than even tolerating Khamenei, Chavez or even Putkin.

    • Yepp, China is currently bullying the Philippines so that they can steal oil from the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal.
    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

      The only hope for western democracies to survive the future is to become energy independent. No longer will we need to depend on threats from Russia

      I'm more worried about the threats from the Koch Brothers than I am about "threats from Russia".

    • by fnj (64210)

      Since you spell "western democracy" with a small w, small d, Venezuela is a western democracy. So just what do you mean by "antics of Chavez"?

      As for Iran (which is really neither western nor eastern), I'm afraid that no matter whether you trade with Iran for fuel or not, you have no practical choice but to "put up with the theatrics of Iran". Racial and religious hatred is not going to go away, regardless of anybody's foreign relations with Iran.

  • You, too (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sez Zero (586611) on Monday April 23, 2012 @06:37AM (#39768931) Journal
    Congrats! You too can have tap water that catches fire [youtube.com].
    • by sFurbo (1361249)
      Congrats! Now you, too, can watch agenda-pushing disguised as documentaries!
      • Yeah, they staged the burning tapwater, and all those people who said it started happening after the fracking operations began were in on the hoax. One big conspiracy to attack safe, clean fracking technology.
        • Care to share with us how you found out about this hoax? The links I can find are either gas industry sites or youtube videos of the phenomenon. I'm accepting neither as impartial.
        • Re:You, too (Score:4, Informative)

          by sFurbo (1361249) on Monday April 23, 2012 @09:20AM (#39770019)
          They didn't fake it, and people didn't lie, but in at least one of the examples in Gasland, the methane have been shown to be naturally occuring, a fact that they somehow forgot to mention in the film. What probably happened is that people have had flammable water for years and years, but have never tested it. How often do you test your water for flammability? After talk started about fracking and water pollution, people in fracking areas have started testing it. They can see that they have flammable water now, and they have never seen it before, what is the natural conclusion? It must be caused by fracking.

          Burning water is a red herring in the fracking debate. I understand why people like it, it is very effective demonstration, but problems with fracking is unlikely to show up as flammable water. To keep bringing it up will make it harder to discuss the problems which fracking is likely to cause, and harder to fight the practises which causes these problems.
  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Monday April 23, 2012 @06:41AM (#39768955)

    Let's hope that the World doesn't crack . . . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crack_in_the_world [wikipedia.org]

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Monday April 23, 2012 @06:46AM (#39768981)

    Get used to it. This is one of those technologies we can't afford not to exploit.

    The people most enthusiastic about it are the eastern Europeans... it means freedom from Russian energy supplies. And I suspect the Israelis are looking into it rather deeply now that the Egyptians are interfering with their natural gas supply.

    This technology is going to mean liberation and stability for nations... against those pros you're going to need some substantive cons.

    • by msobkow (48369)

      You mean cons like pollution of the ground water, causing minor earthquakes, and being left with hundreds of thousands or millions of gallons of polluted material that you need to do something with?

      If we spent a tenth of what we do on exploration and "extraction technology" on the development of bio-diesel crops such as cannabis and canola, we'd not only free ourselves from dependency on oil and gas reserves, we'd be using a fuel that actually consumes CO2 during it's growth phase.

      Some even claim that

      • by msobkow (48369)

        I like to think of bio-diesel as the most effective and practical means of storing solar energy that there is.

      • by Shavano (2541114)

        Yeah we should totally convert our cropland to producing fuel to heat homesand move cars because people don't need to eat food.

        Where do I sign up?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by PopeRatzo (965947)

      Get used to it. This is one of those technologies we can't afford not to exploit.

      Just like slave labor from the Third World.

    • Get used to it. This is one of those technologies we can't afford not to exploit.

      The people most enthusiastic about it are the eastern Europeans... it means freedom from Russian energy supplies. And I suspect the Israelis are looking into it rather deeply now that the Egyptians are interfering with their natural gas supply.

      This technology is going to mean liberation and stability for nations... against those pros you're going to need some substantive cons.

      While I am personally strongly against fraking... I can't find much to object with your post. Regrettably, I think you're right.

  • Might I suggest Britain's 21st-century slogan: Britain is back, baby!
    • Surely you mean Scotland? :D Are these in Scottish waters or English?

      • The current "find" on the Lancashire coast (in England) but it is thought that the gas shale will will extend much further (it just hasn't been properly found yet) to Northern Ireland. Only the northern part of the Irish Sea is in (what might become) Scottish waters.

        Central Scotland has had oil shale mining in the 1800's near Broxburn [undiscover...land.co.uk] on the outskirts of Edinburgh. If you have been in the area, you can see huge bings at the end of Edinburgh airport's runway and by the M9 motorway - this was from the old

      • by rHBa (976986)
        The article doesn't mention exactly where these shale deposits are (although it does make a vague reference to the UKs North Sea operations). However it doesn't make any difference because Scotland is part of Britain anyway. FYI:

        $GreatBritain = array('England','Scotland','Wales');

        $UnitedKingdom = array($GreatBritain,'Northern Ireland');
        • Well, for now. If more major resources are found in Scottish waters I can definetely see the independence movement getting a big lift from it.

  • by DaveyJJ (1198633) on Monday April 23, 2012 @06:51AM (#39768999) Homepage
    Ah, the mighty and breathless media not understanding (again) that reserves != recoverable. There's a lot of water on the planet but not much of it is actually drinkable or in a form available to drink. Furthermore, the process to remove said shale "gas" involves seismic activity and a nasty, nasty (and highly secret) brew of toxic chemicals.
    • by Swampash (1131503)

      Yeah, it's like saying that because Britain lies above the Earth's iron-nickel core, Britain has enormous untapped mineral resources.

    • by hrvatska (790627)
      Does fracking have to use toxic chemicals, or are those used because it's the cheapest alternative to industry?
      • by sFurbo (1361249)
        If I understand it correctly, there are three main components of fracking fluid:
        1: Water. Just the carrier, but it is by far the largest part. Under high pressure it forces open cracks in the rock.
        2: Sand. It is pressed into the newly formed cracks to stop them closing when the pressure is removed.
        3: Surfactants. This is where the toxic chemicals show up. It makes up a very little part of the fracking fluid, but because so much is used, the total amount can become quite large. It is used to make sure the
  • by wisebabo (638845) on Monday April 23, 2012 @07:10AM (#39769073) Journal

    Look I'm as concerned (and convinced) about environmental damage and global warming as anyone. But finding immense reserves of natural gas in the U.S. and now the UK can only be a good thing. It should buy us a few decades of relatively cheap, relatively low carbon producing (well at least compared to coal and oil shale) energy. If it's cheap enough (or if we aren't too cheap ourselves) we can use the energy to PULL CO2 from the atmosphere (I've heard a measly 10% increase in the cost of electricity would pay for it!).

    Ok, if we insist on being idiots, we're still gonna get somewhat screwed by global warming, but hopefully we won't lose more than a few million species and displace no more than a few hundred million people (*SIGH*). The environmental damage from shale gas, while significant, is on a local level and the earthquakes are nothing to be afraid of (I'm from CA so I know earthquakes). Sorry for the low expectations but I'll take this as GOOD news.

    The BEST thing about this is that we won't be supporting (as much) people who hate us and want to blow us up. (What is about this that Republicans don't understand? That SUVs = terrorists.) Also the jobs that are created will be on-shore (or just off-shore).

    • It should buy us a few decades of relatively cheap, relatively low carbon producing (well at least compared to coal and oil shale) energy.

      Did you miss the part where TFA stated that oil needed to go to $200 a barrel for these reserves to be economically recoverable?

    • by fnj (64210)

      SUVS = terrorists? That is about the most nonsensical statement I ever heard, and I have heard a LOT of nonsense. Extreme animosity = terrorists, and the most usual forces driving extreme animosity are racial and religious hatred.

  • This new source of energy may not come cheap. If you think the cost of gasoline and diesel is too expensive now, this new source of fuel may be much more expensive. As the article notes, this gas may not be worth recovering until we see "vastly higher energy costs, perhaps as high as $200 (per barrel) or more." If you can't afford to operate your car with $150/bbl oil you are even less likely to be able to be able to run it with $200/bbl equivalent natural gas. Vast reserves of recoverable methane might

    • Well even as early as next year decent plug-in hybrids are coming on the market with many more to come.

      I'd say the concern is more bridging the central production problem until people either stop being scared of fission/they get fusion sorted/we fix the storage issue with renewables.

      For the central production problem, large reserves of natural gas (even comparably hard to retrieve) would solve the issue by giving some extra time.

      I don't think any of this is a good thing, because an *actual* energy crisis is

      • by hrvatska (790627)
        Even with more efficient vehicles I think a lot of people will find they are priced out of the personal transportation market. Either because they can't afford a new high efficiency vehicle, price a plug in Prius, or even with one of these the cost of fuel is still too high. I've recently seen some articles that describe how young people today are not as interested in owning cars as previous generations were. The high cost of ownership compared to likely earning potential was one of the reasons.
        • Well that ultimately fixes the problem as well. A lot of public transit is already on/moving to hybrid or electric.

          My point was that the issue of running your car at $7/gal (or natural gas equiv.) won't be an issue if you a) don't have one, or b) have a plug-in hybrid.

          Most people who do buy cars currently are *not* put off by the increased cost of the hybrid, they're put off by the increased cost of the hybrid *which doesn't save you anything*

          For me, to get a Prius with an equivalent set of features (saying

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Natural gas is mostly used for generating electricity and heating houses. You can get along without electricity if you have to (but you'd pay quite a bit not to have to) but in the UK, as in many other places, heating isn't really an optional thing, regardless of the cost.

  • by PhilHibbs (4537) <snarks@gmail.com> on Monday April 23, 2012 @07:44AM (#39769223) Homepage Journal

    ...that the US is going to invade us or bring about regime change!

  • Fracking... (Score:4, Funny)

    by superflippy (442879) on Monday April 23, 2012 @08:05AM (#39769329) Homepage Journal

    ...is actually starting to become a dirty word. Gotta love it. So say we all!

  • by Shavano (2541114) on Monday April 23, 2012 @08:57AM (#39769771)

    Is the 1000 TCF the economically recoverable portion or the total amount of gas in the ground?

    It makes a big difference.

  • ,,, astronomers have determined there is massive energy stores in sun light.

    • by 3seas (184403)

      government is now trying to figure out how to meter it... via chemtrail cloud creation.....

  • 1 trillion Cf of natural gas. Isn't that energetically equivalent to 166 million barrels of oil? (i.e. 6000 cf of natural gas = 1 barrel of oil).

    So, that works out to 6.64 billion barrels of oil. The USA uses 9 billion barrels of oil a year. The world uses about 30 billion barrels a year.

    I'm sorry, where does "vast" come in here? Did I drop a digit somewhere?

  • by peter303 (12292) on Monday April 23, 2012 @11:05AM (#39771133)
    The US, having consumed most of its potential petroleum, developed these "unconventional" technologies first over the past decade. For the most part they can be applied to areas all around the world. That will retard "peak oil" to the later part of this century and give breathing room for alternative energy development.

    Believe or not the USA was the leading oil producer for the first 80-90 years of the "Hydrocarbon Age (b 1859)". They squandered much of this on poor petroleum engineering practices and inefficient combustion engines.

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