Guest Post: "Don't Frack Me Up"

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Marin Katusa of Casey Research

"Don't Frack Me Up"

To many walking the planet, fracking has a seriously bad reputation. Thanks to hyperbole and misinformation, fracking opponents have convinced a lot of people that the operators who drill and then hydraulically fracture underground rock layers thumb their noses at and even hate the environment.

Anti-fracking claims may be twists on reality – for example, that a legislative loophole makes fracking exempt from the America's Safe Drinking Water Act, when really this federal legislation never regulated fracking because it is a state concern. Then there's the completely absurd, such as the idea that frac operators are allowed to and regularly do inject frac fluids directly into underground water supplies.

We decided to set the record straight by using facts, not playing on emotion like many of the frac-tivists do. It's important because unconventional oil and gas constitute an increasingly pivotal part of the world's energy scene. In the United States, where shale gas abounds but imported energy rules the day, this is especially true.

America's shale deposits hold a heck of a lot of gas. According to the United States Geological Survey, the Marcellus Shale alone is home to 84 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of technically recoverable natural gas. Estimates of the amount of recoverable gas contained in all of America's shale basins range as high as 3,000 TCF.

To access this gas, fluids made of water, sand, and chemicals to increase lubrication, inhibit corrosion of equipment, and possessing other qualities are pumped into the shale formation. When the pressure from the fluids exceeds the strength of the rocks, the rock fractures, and in a demonstration of might by the mighty small, the granules of sand prop the fractures open. Once the fracturing is completed, the internal pressure from the formation pushes the injected fluids to the surface again.

Frac wells are only open to the surrounding rock at the depth of the target formation. Starting at 250 feet (76 meters) or thereabouts above the producing interval – it varies a bit from state to state – the production casing must be cemented. This graphic, borrowed from the Texas Oil and Gas Association, shows what the procedure entails.



Casings are the liners that isolate the inside of the well from the surrounding rock, and from any

Casings are the liners that isolate the inside of the well from the surrounding rock, and from any water that might be contained in that rock. The surface casing is the first line of defense, while the production casing provides a second layer of protection for the groundwater.

Casings do require proper cementation to be effective: the cement seals the annular spaces between successive casing layers to provide a barrier to vertical and horizontal fluid movement. A poor cementation job was a significant factor in the Deepwater Horizon well blowout, and that transpired because deepwater regulations were insufficient. On land, however, cementation is highly regulated, and inspections of wells in progress, announced and unannounced, are common.

Unlike deepwater drilling, fracking is not new. Nor is fracking specific to natural gas or to the United States. Drillers frac many thousands of oil and gas wells around the world every year. In America, oil and gas producers have been using hydraulic fracturing since at least the 1940s to enhance recoveries from older oil wells and to access the oil in tight reservoirs, such as the Bakken.

Then there's shale gas, a domestic source of energy for North America that's much more reliable and secure than the millions of barrels of oil that come from places like Nigeria, Venezuela, Iraq, Angola, and Algeria every day. And as we've said, accessing that gas using hydraulic fracturing is much less dangerous and damaging than many people think.

Gasland – More Drama Than Documentary

Frac-bashing really took off last year, with the debut of the film Gasland. After receiving a letter offering his family US$100,000 for the right to drill frac wells on their land, a documentary film maker by the name of Josh Fox decided to investigate. Gasland is the product of that investigation, which took Fox to Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia to interview other people living atop the newly discovered Marcellus Shale. Fox also visits Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Texas to talk to those who have been living alongside natural gas drilling for the last decade.

The resulting film is well crafted, dramatic, and emotional. However, documentaries are also supposed to convey context and a fair representation of the facts. That's where Fox failed.

Let's be clear: fracking is not without drawbacks (and more on that in a moment). What drives us Casey "Focused on Facts" Research types crazy is messing with the data. Some examples:

Fox "Fact"
Fracking Reality
An energy bill pushed through Congress by Dick Cheney in 2005 exempts the oil and gas industries from the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SWDA), the Superfund Law, and about a dozen other regulations. The oil and gas industry is regulated by every single one of these laws except for the SDWA, which has never regulated oil and gas activities. If it seems these federal statutes do not sufficiently regulate fracking, that's because the states do it instead.
Oil and gas drillers are allowed "to inject hazardous materials, unchecked, directly into or adjacent to underground water supplies." Disposing of frac fluids is a challenge. One method does involve sending them down old natural gas wells, but the wells are always cased, cemented, and grouted where they pass through drinking water supplies to seal off contact with the surrounding rock and terminate in formations many thousands of feet below water reserves.
Drilling and fracking a well pollutes aquifers. The shales that contain natural gas are 5,000 to as much as 18,000 feet below ground. The aquifers we tap for drinking water are at about 500 feet. That means roughly 2 miles of rock lie between aquifer and frac. A 2010 report by Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection concluded "no groundwater pollution or disruption of underground sources of drinking water have been attributed to hydraulic fracturing of deep gas formations."
Frac fluids are toxic mixtures of 596 deadly chemicals. Allowing for variance among companies and operations, fracking fluid is typically a bit under 91% water and 9% sand. Tiny amounts of added chemicals reduce friction, fight microbes, control pH, and prevent corrosion of equipment. Many are found around the house, including guar gum (in ice cream), borate salts (a fungicide), and mineral oil. And yes, there are 596 ingredients that have at some point been used to make frac fluids, but any single fracturing job uses only a few of the available options.

Figure 1. Composition of typical gas shale frac fluid (modified from Bohm et al., All Consulting, 2008a).
Drilling companies refuse to disclose just which deadly chemicals they use to create their frac fluids. Drilling companies must disclose the names of all chemicals stored and used at a drilling site. Anyone who knows how to read a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) can find out what chemicals are present.
Fracking makes people's drinking water flammable. It's possible for improperly cemented wells to leak, but one study after another has failed to find frac fluid chemicals in drinking water supplies. Flammable tap water is more likely related to dissolved methane, which is naturally found in well water. (No worries here either – the methane bubbles out quickly, and the US Environmental Protection Agency does not even regulate it.)
Fracking is severely underregulated, and it's because the industry has lobbied for and achieved so many regulatory exemptions. Fracking is very closely regulated, and reviews of fracking regulations regularly find them to be very rigorous. For example, the State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations, an independent panel of environment, industry, and EPA personnel, found Pennsylvania's fracking process was not only safe but "merits special recognition."
Frac fluids that flow back out of a well are often stored in pits in the ground that aren't even lined, where a lot of the fluid just seeps into the ground; even if they are lined, they often leak. Here Fox has finally hit upon some truth – that some pits have in the past leaked. That's why they are being phased out in most states in favor of above-ground storage solutions that enable much better leak detection and repair capabilities. In fact, this month's recommendation is a rapidly growing company with an innovative solution to storing frac fluids.
People who live near fracs have been found to have elevated levels of benzene in their blood. The only residents who had elevated benzene levels were those who smoked. Cigarettes contain benzene.
The EPA has never really studied fracking – the current study, which won't even release its preliminary findings until the end of next year, is the first real environmental assessment of the practice. EPA started a study on hydraulic fracturing in 1999 that focused on coalbed methane reservoirs and whether fracturing them impacted underground sources of drinking water. Published in 2004 after peer review, the study concluded that fracking posed little to no risk in terms of contaminating drinking water.

Industry Efforts

As we alluded to earlier, fracking does has its drawbacks, two of which stand out in particular. The first is that hydraulic fracturing uses a fair chunk of water – an average multi-stage frac requires a total 5 million gallons of water. To put that number in context, electric generation uses nearly 150 million gallons per day in the Susquehanna River Basin of Pennsylvania.

Nonetheless, industry engineers are working hard to reduce water usage. After all, they know as well as anyone else what their livelihood depends on.

The most important shift here has been toward recycling frac fluids. In Pennsylvania, the fracking industry now reuses more than 60% of its water, for example. In addition, companies are exploring other, more creative water reduction strategies. In British Columbia, energy giant EnCana Corp (T.ECA) and its partner Apache Corp (NYSE.APA) spent nine months and C$10 million finding a deep, sour water aquifer and then figuring out how to make the super-salty, hydrogen sulfide-laced water usable for fracking. This novel technique could significantly reduce the need for fracking operations to use freshwater supplies.

The second drawback is that the fluids that flow back to the surface after a fracturing are often stored in containment units that have been known to leak.

As we pointed out, pits, lined or not, are being phased out in many jurisdictions, precisely because it's truly difficult to tell whether a pit dug into the earth is leaking. This is where companies like  Poseidon Concepts (T.PSN) come in. Instead of lined pits and even the dozens of steel tanks that are the not-so-ideal alternative, PSN offers above-ground lined frames that are inexpensive and much more environmentally sound.

Another way to ease the problem of frac fluids spills or leaks is to make frac fluids so benign that we could literally drink them. It sounds pie-in-the-sky, but the world's second-largest oilfield services company is working hard on the idea. In fact, Halliburton (NYSE.HAL) has created a frac fluid called CleanStim, made from materials sourced from the food industry. A Halliburton executive showed the stuff at a recent conference – and then tossed it down his gullet.

Where there's a need, an innovator will rise to the challenge, and there are plenty of innovators in the world of oil and gas.

Fracking Earthquakes: Hazard or… Preventative?

A few weeks ago privately held Cuadrilla Resources, the first company to successfully frac natural gas shales in Europe and a Casey Energy team recommendation back in early 2008, announced that its fracking operations caused two small earthquakes in northwest England last April and May. After the earthquakes, Cuadrilla voluntarily suspended its fracking operations in the area while an independent group investigated the events.

The earthquakes measured 2.3 and 1.5 on the Richter scale. Seismic events, to be sure, but so gentle they were barely felt. Indeed, the independent report found that Cuadrilla's work had caused the tremors, but the earth moved so little that they posed no threat to anyone or anything.

And what others may consider concern, we consider potential. As two plates of Earth's crust naturally shift along their fault line, they can sometimes get hung up on rocky "hooks" called asperities. As the plates keep trying to move, stress builds and builds. The huge earthquakes we all fear occur when the stored energy has built enough to break through the asperity: the gradual slide becomes a destructive jerk.

Small tremors, on the other hand, reduce the pressure one bit at a time. Whenever there is a major earthquake or a discussion of when California or Vancouver or Japan will get hit with the next Big One, someone often laments, "If only we had a way to release the pressure beforehand!"

What if hydraulic fracturing could relieve the stress on the faults in earthquake-prone areas? Clearly the notion needs a battery of modeling and tests before it's anything but a concept, but on a basic level the idea makes sense. Perhaps by releasing the accumulated stress at depth slowly with small tremors, we could mitigate the Big One enough that it might not be so big after all.

If nothing else, the concept is a reminder not to fear serendipity. Finding something you didn't expect when attempting something else is how the scientific world achieved many of its major breakthroughs.

A Resource We Can't Ignore

The ability to produce clean-burning natural gas from the 48 shale basins in 32 countries around the world could transform the global energy economy and increase energy security, starting in the United States.

Hydraulic fracturing has become a scapegoat, targeted by environmentalists as another attempt by the oil and gas industry to lock America into fossil fuel dependence. The thing is, America is already addicted to fossil fuels. Until that changes, even environmentalists will need to heat their homes, charge their cell phones, and purchase products made at gas-powered factories.

We of the Casey Research energy team are always looking for alternative energy ideas that stand the test of economics, but to date only geothermal and run-of-river power have come close. In the case of geothermal power, the industry has gotten ahead of itself and for now, at least, has failed to come through on its promises. As for run-of-river, the projects often work, but they provide only a drop into the big bucket of power needs, and each project requires major negotiations from landowners afflicted with NIMBY ("not in my back yard") syndrome.

So next time someone says that America should put an end to fracking, ask them how they plan to ensure America's energy security over the next 30 to 50 years. If the answer involves alternative or renewable energies, ask for some hard facts and numbers to support it. Like it or not, none of our alternative energies are as yet even close to stepping up as a major energy pillar for America.

Natural gas is ready to step up. It's not a perfect solution – it's much better at providing peak demand than baseload power, still takes energy to produce, and still produces greenhouse gases – but it's an important part of the solution for now. Not only does America have the reserves, the fracturing process that can unlock them has been demonstrated as safe – and equally important, not demonstrated as not safe. And the industry that uses it seeks and incorporates improvements along the way. Just the facts, ma'am.

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Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

And what is the EROEI, bitchez?

Triggernometry's picture

Fracking is known to cause earthquakes, duh.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Fracking Reality: Fracking is the exact same as licking the spoon and the bowl clean after Mother Nature's frosting is all gone.  That doesn't sound so bad, right?

cougar_w's picture

Looks like thin shit, too. What's that grin about?

gmrpeabody's picture

"So next time someone says that America should put an end to fracking, ask them how they plan to ensure America's energy security over the next 30 to 50 years."

The answer your most likely to get here is guns, gold, bullets, and stored food.  ;- )

hedgeless_horseman's picture



My answer is as follows:

1. New nuclear power plants

2. A nuclear waste facility

3. Commuter rail

NidStyles's picture

1. Same groups are prostesting those, along with the UN regulating the hell out of them without authorization.

2. Same people are protesting the building of new storage facilities, and they see the other.

3. Will never work, US cities are too wide and sread out for it to ever be truly feasible. You can not force people to use Commuter rail and to try is just ridiculous. It would never work in cities like LA or PHX.

GMadScientist's picture

When the nuke industry can build a plant and get insurance without government guarantees, I'll consider it a source of energy; until then, it's a dangerous and expensive jobs program.


hedgeless_horseman's picture



Then what is your answer to ensure America's energy security over the next 30 to 50 years?

donsluck's picture

I didn't realize our expectations of energy planning had fallen so far as to expect a blog response to answer a 30-50 year question. The fact is that this country has NO ENERGY PLAN.

trav7777's picture

oil scarcity is going to have a way of making that choice for them.  You still act like reality is elective

prains's picture


6.snow shoe

7. oil up a plastic sheet invite friends over, harvest the heat

DaveyJones's picture

nuclear is temporary at best not enough of the special stuff to put out the energy needs for a sustainable time (couple of decades if replacing everything). Commuter rail absolutely. Problem in america, unlike europe many cities were planned around the automobile.   

hedgeless_horseman's picture



All solutions have their problems. 

DFCtomm's picture

There is enough Thorium and Uranium to supply the current electrical needs of the planet for a couple of hundred years last study I read. I realize that on a long enough timeline everything is temporary but I'm willing to bet most people would consider that a bit more than temporary.

DarkAgeAhead's picture

Even easier than that.

Community geothermal (little g, not big G).

Passive House or similar energy metrics for new housing.

Passive solar zoning & design mandatory.

Deconstruction not demolition.

Commuter rail.

Biodiesel, SVO and non-food based sources like willow biomass.

Living Machine technology & community farming, including methane.

That gets you mostly there.


fnord88's picture

"So next time someone says that America should put an end to fracking, ask them how they plan to ensure America's energy security over the next 30 to 50 years."


Bomb Iran. duh.

Then Chavez.

Then Canada.

Then everyone else.

Then Frak.

NewThor's picture

Hey. yo. seriously. I usually have a lot of tolerance for every Earthling's opinion on a subject....

....but, yo, seriously. How fucking stupid is the collective intelligence of the planet.


if you pull trillions of cubic feet of oil or natural gas, after a while your subtractions are going to fuck

people, and the planet.

It's like mice. Living on a planet of cheese. Eating it, All the way to the core.

I don't know how to teach you.

I don't know how to wake you.

I don't know how to make you aware.

Yes, I fail with the greatest of alll or none.

The simple things.

The simple things we should all understand.

It's soooooooooo fucking basic.

.......but you're all turned and  topsy turvy.

If I have to fight to convince any man woman or child the basics of life and survival, 

we're all ready to be DOOMED.

This world.

These people.

So ready to be free.

So easy.

A much better way for all to live, love and be safe.

Than this cluster fuck of a shit pile we have towering over us now.

We've waved the white flag to the full retard invaders.

because it's too hard to understand,

or it's too inconvienient or annoying to fight,

we've let a group of 5'4 bankers subvert and destroy our country,

the foundation of freedom andl liberty,

for fucking a million dollars and a name drop on American Idol,

How can Bernanke beat me?

How can Geithner twist a fucking math mother fucker into some bizarre reality?



I stare into the abyss.

I stare as focused as a human being can be.

I don't think I could be any more disappointed in humanity.

so willing to lay down and let them buttfuck the world.

I do not fear death. Not in any way, shape or form.

I've imagined this universe, and understood it enough to know,

it goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on,

and I'll take my spirit / soul / energy into eternity.

Mammon and money are nothing. 

We all have everything,

enough for all people. 

God, please, strike down these people

who create the stumbling blocks

for a dollar, or a million.


has been far too long without

the spirit of th Great ones.

Please, don't let the least subvert, control and cage the most talented beings.

This is not how life should be.

This is not how life should be.

This is not how life should be.

This is not how life should be.

This is not how life should be.

God, help me. 

Your children suffer soooo much.


strike me down now,

and let me be done with this,

and all me beautiful dreams,

which shall never come true.



BayAreaAlan's picture

Yeah. That's like putting military bases on islands. Eventually they will flip over!

Confused's picture

Hahaha, thanks. Need a laugh today, and I totally forgot about that dolt.

beaker's picture

Hey NewThor, gimme a hit of that before you throw it away.

NewThor's picture

It was 15 shots of Yagermeister.

...and I pissed it all out this morning.

screenwriting meetings are a bitch.

trav7777's picture's going after formations that couldn't be developed by just drilling a round hole.

lower EROI.  No choice tho.  We are going to be doing like my dad and running that toothpaste tube along the edge of the countertop to get the last drops out.  Then we will cut the tube open and scrape the remains.

And morons will still be bleating IONIC LIQUIDS!!!!!1 and denying the reality of production peaks.

Teamtc321's picture

Vertical drill's mainly Trav. 

DaveyJones's picture

would be nice if we used the last toothpaste for new systems instead of new wars, cars and stripper bars 

DarkAgeAhead's picture

or for preventing the next Ice Age.  seriously.

Taint Boil's picture



After she finishes up that frosting I got a protein packed spunk shake that she can wash it all down with (that will wipe that grin off her face).

Jumbotron's picture

As I explained it to a guy on a flight to Australia, tar sand mining, mountain top removal and fracking are the energy versions of scraping left on shit off the sides of your toilet bowl and mining your septic system.  There's stuff there that can be used but the time and money needed for the investment alone to get at it much less massaging it into useful derivatives all adds to the cost of the final products.

Cheap energy is gone.

Arrowhead's picture

Not entirely true. I do very well on my fracked oil wells at $50/bbl.

Element's picture

Dude, there are vast quantities of extremely cheap high-grade coal in Australia, and most other continents still have heaps as well, especially Russian territories.

Coal can be economically converted to oil and gas.

You're getting ready to scream, "no, it can't be done", at me.

But with demand and the right pricing levels you certainly can do it economically.

It will just redefine what is 'economic'.

And that's exactly what will happen.

The energy-death end-of-the-world story is very unconvincing, from so many angles.

trav7777's picture

LOL...convert coal to oil?  We'd be out of coal in 10 years.

Element's picture

Try a couple of hundred

Flakmeister's picture

Provide some form of evidence to this effect...

Be sure to take into account the US is a modest net exporter of coal currently, about 5% of production....

DaveyJones's picture

second that vote. Like oil, the stuff that's left is less and less quality and energy and it's getting harder and harder to extract. Add to that, every time they reassess, there is less and less time - not only are our assessments wrong but the demand (and its people) keep growing.

No hydrocarbons will save us, we have to build sustainable systems


Element's picture

While doing a MSc in economic geology in 1990 I read a BMR Govt report that stated plainly that australias known reserves of high grades of coal at that time were sufficient to supply the entire worlds demand at the then 1990 global production rate for 4000 YEARS.

Good luck contradicting reality.

And note that i specifically referred to aust and russia in my post.

Answered via phone.

Flakmeister's picture

Wow... so you have some hearsay for us...

Could you maybe give us something more tangible...because I call bullshit...


BTW, if we burn coal at current rates for 4000 years we wont have to worry about the future because the planet will be terraformed into our very own Venus....

Element's picture

BMR stands for Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics. It was charged with generating geological and geophysical maps of Australia, from 1946, and to develop a national survey and database of known deposits and estimates of known reserves, provenance, and economic extractability. It's work underpins all of the modern mineral exploration and exploitation in Australia.

You can talk totally ignorant shit all you want, and post silly pdf reports with dopey assumptions and claims, but none of that utter horseshit changes the physical fact that the coal (and also gas) deposits in this country are MANY TIMES larger than the CURRENTLY economically extractable proven reserve.

Now listen very closely dumbshits.

Firstly, how about you get your arse on to a jet, and come over here, and have an actual physical look at the scale of the deposits and coal resource here.  Walk over the terrain, visit an outcrop, get in a four wheel drive, and spend A FEW MONTHS actually driving around the perimeters of the known surveyed extent of these coal deposits, to get an actual physical sense of how geographically gigantic they are, and of the incomprehensible extractable tonnages involved.

Do that, before you say another damn thing on this subject, because TRAV, and Flack, you have not got the slightest physical clue of what you're talking so much complete shit about.

Note that I referred to, "known reserves of high grades of coal".

I did NOT refer to PROVEN ECONOMICALLY-EXTRACTABLE RESERVES of coal, and this is why, "Proven" means that you actually drilled it in fine detail, logged cores, mapped in 3-D, and determined the grades and tonnages present, etc.

Now this is going to be difficult for you to grasp, because you are conceited fools, with a very faint grasp of the physical reality of the situation of these deposits, so I'll keep it simple;

Australia's coal deposits are so extensive and so plentiful, that surprise, surprise, we have not drilled ALMOST ALL of it, to any great degree of detail.


(A)  Because drilling is extremely expensive and easily eats the lion's-share of every exploration program.


(B)  Because we already know of so many locations, that are fully drilled and proven, and also close to transportation access for export and domestic use, thus easily and profitably extractable, so guess what!? No one has bothered to prove-up any more PROVEN reserves, because we already know it's there, awaiting. We simply don't NEED more, for decades to come, and proving-up more would senselessly waste money which could be given to the investors ... to keep them coming back.

Getting the picture now?

We already have so much that we can easily get at, that we won't be INCREASING our PROVEN ECONOMICALLY EXTRACTABLE RESERVE, until we have ALREADY EXTRACTED MOST of that which we HAVE all ready PROVEN to be cheaply extractable.

That's what a PROVEN RESERVE is--and is for. 

It's only there so you can access investment capital, and make 30-year plus development plans, and attract long-term cunstomer's and contracts, because your creditors and customers and the Head-Office then know you can ECONOMICALLY deliver in a very competitive environment in the longer-term lifetime (30 to 50 years!) of the typical large mining project's phases.

There is no other reason to increase the size of a PROVEN ECONOMICALLY-EXTRACTABLE RESERVE.

But if you want to WASTE money, then, you CAN increase it.

But why would you?  You would be an idiot to do that.  You'd get fired.

But when you do finally require more proven reserves at a site to get development approval to extract more, then you MUST invest in proving-up  more (detailed drilling and mapping), to generate A MUCH LARGER PROVEN RESERVE.


That is a normal long-cycle variation of estimated reserves.

This is because the proven economically extractable reserves HAVE NOTHING AT ALL to do with the ACTUAL SIZE of the UNPROVEN but already discovered (coarsely-mapped) KNOWN deposits (unproven reserves ... which are typically about 5 times larger than the proven reserves).

These deposits actually exist and do not vary ... unless you discover more (unproven) deposites.  And guess what?  More unproven deposits are being constantly discovered!

Are you fuckwits getting this?

The PROVEN EXTRACTABLE RESERVE does not in any direct or linearly estimatable way indicate the full scale of the actual deposits and tonnages present in the ground, right now.

Is that clear enough for you hapless "PDF-experts" ?

This is why the PROVEN Australian coal reserves SEEM to be only about 100 years of future production, which is vastly smaller than the actual extractable resource base.

And that is why I originally used the phrase ,"... KNOWN RESERVES OF HIGH GRADES OF COAL ...".

This sort of distinction is why a scientific specialist sub-discipline of, "Economic Geology", exists.

And this is why un-initiated ignorant fools (like TRAV, Flak and DJ - yes, I do think you are ignorant and out of your depth though I don't think you are stupid or idiots) have no clue about any of this, or the practical realities of economic extraction so simply sprout the latest .pdf concoction of silly horseshit about "proven reserves", then exponentially extrapolate pending energy "crisis".

It's all just a verbal knee-jerk. with no direct feel for the scale of the existing untapped deposits.

There isn't going to be a crisis of insufficent liquid hydrocarbons--extreme abundance is and will remain the on-going reality.

TRAV, you don't even suspect that you don't have a fucking clue about the physical reality of coal deposits in Australia, or on the planet in general.  Australia and Russia can supply the whole planet with liquid hydrocarbons for many hundreds of years. Ten years and we're all-out eh Trav?  Just get on a Jet and have an actual physical in-depth look at what's here, and in russia, or just shut the fuck up.

That's the basic truth mate.  Peak oil will initiate an adjustment to a substitute extraction mechanism.  That is all.  And the sorts of 'sources' that you credit as so technically 'informative' are just fucking blind and laughable to someone like me, who's actually been all over the ground of these vast physical deposits of coal and gas.

You could fit most of western Europe inside the area of these Australian coal deposits.

All continents still have very large deposites of lower grades of coal, but Australia really is the global El-Dorado, of vast high-grade coal, and high grade abundant uranium deposits (and the uranium economically extractable proven reserve is likewise dramatically smaller than the full physical scale of the unproven known deposits, and yes, we regualarly discover more of that as well ... getting the picture now?)

"Economically-extractable", basically means it costs you significantly less to extract and get to a customer, than what you get paid for doing so.

If I build a new road, or rail line, or port, or develop a new efficient mining and extraction technique, or an more efficient processing technique, or build a much more efficient propulsion system, guess what?


Without doing a single fucking further thing!

Do you even understand that much?

When the Commonwealth Bureau of Mineral Resources reports estimates that Australia's then known reserve of high-grades of coal is sufficient to supply the entire world's then demand, at the then 1990 global production rates, for about 4000 YEARS, that is in fact the PHYSICAL GROUND-TRUTH of the ACTUAL DEPOSITS which they discovered and confirmed to exist within their multi-decade national resource reconnaissance survey programs.

This is not bullshit, this is the truth of the situation.

That BMR statement of the PHYSICAL FACTS OF THE STAGGERING SCALES OF THE DISCOVERED DEPOSITS, is not a fact that can ever be challenged by some ignorant twat, armed merely with a .pdf file!

Get a fucking GRIP!

I like you guys, I do, and I know you try, and you believe, and you make a nice story, but you really don't have a fucking clue. And there is absolutely no chance the mineable Australian coal resource will exhaust within the next 500 years if we convert it into distillate and gas to supply the world with affordable energy.

Sorry if you made bad long-investments on the ignorant assumption that humanity is running out of cheap liquid hydrocarbon.

It isn't.

And economic activity is VERY FAR from a final collapse.



Now look at what I originally said:

Dude, there are vast quantities of extremely cheap high-grade coal in Australia, and most other continents still have heaps as well, especially Russian territories.

Coal can be economically converted to oil and gas.

You're getting ready to scream, "no, it can't be done", at me.

But with demand and the right pricing levels you certainly can do it economically.

It will just redefine what is 'economic'.

And that's exactly what will happen.

The energy-death end-of-the-world story is very unconvincing, from so many angles.



Feel free to go fuck yourselves.

Element's picture

BTW, if we burn coal at current rates for 4000 years we wont have to worry about the future because the planet will be terraformed into our very own Venus....


Flak, you really should get some clue about palaeoclimatology, and CO2 abundance variability, and global temp variability, and their non-phase correspondence over the past 1.5 billion years of geological history, before making a fool out of yourself with absurdist crap about run-away greenhouse effects from burning coal, or any other hydrocarbon.

Start here, and if you really give a shit, as you suppose, go and study Earth. From Latin; 

Geo = "Earth"

ology = "study of"

Study of Earth, and how it behaves, on the longest timelines, is what I have been doing for the past few decades.

But you can pretend to know more relevant shit if you want to, no one's going to stop you or nuffin'.

But learn a thing or two from this guy because he actually knows what he's talking about, as opposed to you;

Audio interview:

Dr. Ian Plimer - Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science - October 24, 2009 - Financial Sense NewsHour

Flakmeister's picture

Plimer is a member of a very vocal minority in his views, hardly representative of mainstream thought.

The C02 levels most relevant to H. Sapiens are those levels that have existed since the emergence of anatomically modern humans or about 400,000 years...

As for long term non-runaway effects, would you care to discount the cost to our civilization of a 30 m rise in sea level with that from reducing our coal consumption...

I point you to the following paper

and a nice synopsis here

Would you care to discuss these findings? We can move on from there after....

I would suggest a different thread, this one is large and unweildy.

Element's picture

The C02 levels most relevant to H. Sapiens are those levels that have existed since the emergence of anatomically modern humans or about 400,000 years...


Can you really be that blind and conceited?

Flak, tell me, are you an accredited geologist?

If you aren't, I'm not going to waste my time talking to someone who has no clue about the Earth ... and doesn't even know it ... and is not even equipped to get to grips with such a discussion.

If you're not, your 'dismissal' of Plimer as some sort of minority oddball means I am not going to discuss anything with you on the topic, and just let you bask in the mud of arrogance and ignorance.

It might surprise you to know that the vast majority of professional field and research Geologists would broadly agree with almost all of what Plimer is saying in that interview and his book on the topic, and this is based on SCIENTIFIC OBSERVABLE EVIDENCE not on blog-comment opinion-isms or dippy confabulated pompous UN 'consensus' bullshit 'reports', that pretend to represent a genuine scientific-consensus (which is itself a contradiction of terms).

The very fact that they have not only ignored geology (The formal scientific Study of Earth), but dismissed almost all what it reveals to be actually true, should be a big enough clue at to the actual truth and veracity of what the UN IPCC is propagating as a 'science' consensus.

From what you've said so far I'm very confident you are not a geologist, of any sort, and probably not a trained scientist (i.e. a real working one, as opposed to a useless environmental pseudo-scientist wannabe parasite ... or a geographer ... or even worse <shudder> ... a fucking 'archaeologist').

Palaeoclimatologists, which is a sub-branch of GEOLOGY (not of meteorology or 'climate sciences') have been writing and discussing at length, since about WWII about the observed temperature and environmental swings, both short term, medium and long term cycles, that all overprint, continuously.

So suddenly a buch of arsehats with satellites and computer models say, oh look! the temnperature of Earth is changing!  EEK!! 


Well fucking DUH! ... as that's what we have been observing an discussing, for decades, prior to all that stupid crap. 

The temperature of Earth constantly rises an falls. ... like, ho hum.

And it would be EXTREMELY ODD if the temp were not either rising, or falling, because that's what the geology tells us it always does.

But it just happens to be on a short-term rising trend at present, at the same time these wankers got their enviro-SATs and purdy workstations.

W E L L   B I G   F U C K I N G   D E A L

Geologists just yawn at all that shit because we have seen this, MILLIONS of times before, RECORDED in Earth's geological record.

We're the ones who actually know about this stuff, and were trying to tell everyone about it, but what happened? A bunch of feral greenies spent the next decade trying to assert that there was no such thing as decadal cyclicity in weather, or century and millenia scale climate variability.

That's what happened Flak. A pack of rabid greenie-tree-hugging arsewipes hijacked the scientific discussion, via the MSM, with pure bullshit assertion and false-accusation.

And you're just reguritating their hapless horseshit ... and expecting me to then engage you in a discussion about their pet 'topic'?

Fuck their pet 'topics'!

And for your info, it was occurring long before 400k years ago.

It may even be due to those fucking pesky trees, so we should probably cut them all down ... as a precautionary principle!

And that's the same level of idiotic 'logic' the IPCC is expressing, when it blames an observed short term blip of rising Temp, on modern human industrialisation, and incites damaging impairing economic and social reaction, on the basis of the 'precautionary principle'.

Hence Geologists, as REAL scientists, regard the entire thing with the greatest degree of absolutely appropriate and necessary scientific scepticism.

But no  ... we must all just be in the service of Mega-Energy Corporations ... right?  ... I mean ... we must all be liars and crooks and global vandals!

No fuckwits, we're the ones who actually gave enough of a shit about the earth to study it in extraordinary detail, to find out what it is, and what it does, and why it all happens to be thus.

Sorry, the pure unadulterated arrogance of the greenie-greenhouse-warmer cretin brigades is simply not worth talking to, becaseu they are not even interested in the Earth itself, they are only interested in one laughable dumbshit theory.

"Iz all dah humanz folt!"

Flakmeister's picture

You talk like a lawyer.... I am a scientist

1) Did you read the resultI linked?

2) Would you care to dispute its findings? Are you able to read the paper?

Lets start with the basics and find what facts we do agree upon...

Step by step.... are you game?

I am off to bed. I will notify you by a post in another thread (via the track feature) about where and when.


Element's picture

You seem curiously intent on suggesting a breaking-up of any critical pre-discussion, into something non-linear.  Basically, you don't want the earlier part of the discussion to be included in what would follow.

I scanned through your links, it was a yawn, I'm not interested in revisiting the notion or suggestion of anthropogenic climate change. I'm satisfied it's pure farce, from one end to another.  The very first IPCC report (which I unfortunately had to read) established that, and all the IPCC 'report' circus-of-claims, since then, have only confirmed that initial assessment.

The Earth warms, and it cools, and it warm, and it cools -- b i g   f u c k i n g   d e a l

CO2 goes up, and it goes down, and it goes up, and it goes down -- zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wake me up if it ever stops doing one or the other, because that actually would be unusual, otherwise, no, you don't get to waste my time with intellectually insulting rank greenhouse-warming propaganda and 'models', dressed up as objective empirical science, that pretend to predict the future with some sort of allusion to 'scientific' certainty.


EDIT: Oh I see it can be downloaded in .pdf ... wow, this will make me an expert!

In the Conclusions section it says;

"... There is no indication of any slowdown or acceleration of global warming, beyond the variability induced by these known natural factors."

i.e. there is no reason to just assume it's not due to the natural cyclic processes that are recorded in the Geological record, prior to the existence of humans.

Don't waste my time with this pitiful radiometric fluff-piece, when it regards a planet that is KNOWN to 100% naturally warm and cool itself, incessantly, regardless of the presence or the absence of humans.

What an endless idiotic farce. 


Paper Dismissed

Flakmeister's picture

I told you this thread was too large and unwieldy (i.e. slow to download). I have moved your last post and my reply to


Element's picture

Oh yeah ... wow ... it's terribly unwieldily ... hey Tylers ... these comments ... they're terribly unwieldily, apparently ... I hadn't actually noticed this myself ... but apparently they're becoming a real impediment to general discussion ... can we get something done about that? ... no mate, I don't know what's wrong with them either.