The Rolling Stone weighs in on Fracking, and says: Don’t believe the hype!
This seems like a well researched article in the sense that it includes interviews with the CEO of Chesapeake Energy (actually, the article really revolves around him), plus two financial analysts, technical/scientific experts from Cornell and Duke, and residents with an unconventional natural gas well in their backyard. Yes, it only skirts some aspects of this issue, but take a look for yourself. Once again, I see this as highlighting how tricky the fracking issue is due to its dispersed ‘micro-industrial’ [my term] nature.
Let me add on other observation to this – and I think that Deborah Rogers at the Energy Policy Forum (where I got the tip on the Rolling Stone article) touches on this – and I’m just thinking out loud here: oil and gas have traditionally made their riches tapping into resources that naturally pooled into chevrons or other similar geological formations in the substrate. Tap into the right spot – a significant capital expenditure – you get years and years of payoff as those natural resources flowed up the well. But hydraulic fracturing goes to these gas resources as best it can – and it is a remarkable feat of technology to do so – but that has to be a higher capital cost.
Natural gas has always been less profitable, though it is valuable. We have a situation in which this supply has been touted as enough to fuel our energy needs for a hundred years, but the point to fracking the bedrock is that these resources do not flow on their own. It just makes sense that yields in a fracked well drop precipitously in subsequent years. Yes, it can be fracked again, but only the gas adjacent to those fractures will be released. I guess my point is, it is physically impossible, it seems to me, to get all the gas out of these shale beds, and the cost will of getting it out is not cheap. But if in the process of extracting this resource we ruin our water and air resources, we will not have gained anything.
Stay tuned for more posts as North Carolina has received the report from STRONGER this past Tuesday.