Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Low Returns from Unconventional Oil = High Prices

Yesterday, i wrote that France has ban fracking to protect environment as America has grown desperate to drill deep using fracking. Wikipedia has list of a dozen countries regarding their stance on fracking. Just how input intensive (thus expensive) & harmful is that oil extraction process pointed out by Richard Heinberg?

2:50min video sums it up:
"19,000,000 litres of water needed throughout each fracking operation's life- enough to supply 1,000 europeans for 1 year"

Hydraulic fracking is underground so is hard to imagine the amount of materials, $$, workers, water & energy invested to get energy. It takes energy to 'get' energy. With 'low hanging fruit' gone/running out, it takes more & more & more inputs to output a unit of energy. Result= high energy prices.

To undertstand why the french govt said no to hydraulic fracking due to public pressure, we can look at the large-scale mining of tar sands for oil in Alberta, Canada though it is above ground.

Titbits from 11:39min Tar Sands Oil Extraction - Dirty Truth video:
Tar sands production uses enough natural gas to heat 3,000,000 homes & spews out as much greenhouse gas in a day as 1,340,000 cars.

Tar sands extraction in Alberta, Canada:
  • there is nowhere else on earth where we are destroying the area the size of Florida/England
  • there is nowhere else on earth where you have toxic ponds that are so big that you can see them from space
"We are at a real crossroad on getting the energy economy right. Decisions are being made today that will make that happen or commit us to perpetual decline & more & more filth, more & more disease & less & less choice."

Look at:
- scarred landscape from 00:59-01:26
- how much greenhouse gases at the processing facility are being spewed into the atmosphere at 5:32min.

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