Fracked Shale Oil Wells Drying Up Faster than Predicted, Wall Street Journal Finds

Fracked Shale Oil Wells Drying Up Faster than Predicted, Wall Street Journal Finds

SOURCE: DeSmog Blog and Wall Street Journal ($). DATE: January 10, 2019 SNIP: In 2015, Pioneer Natural Resources filed a report with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, in which the shale drilling and fracking company said that it was “drilling the most productive wells in the Eagle Ford Shale” in Texas. That made the company a major player in what local trade papers were calling “arguably the largest single economic event in Texas history,” as drillers pumped more than a billion barrels of fossil fuels from the Eagle Ford. Its Eagle Ford wells, Pioneer’s filing said, were massive finds, with each well able to deliver an average of roughly 1.3 million barrels of oil and other fossil fuels over their lifetimes. Three years later, The Wall Street Journal checked the numbers, investigating how those massive wells are turning out for Pioneer. Turns out, not so well. And Pioneer is not alone. Those 1.3 million-barrel wells, the Journal reported, “now appear to be on a pace to produce about 482,000 barrels” apiece — a little over a third of what Pioneer told investors they could deliver. In Texas’ famed Permian Basin, now the nation’s most productive shale oil field, where Pioneer predicted 960,000 barrels from each of its shale wells in 2015, the Journal concluded that those “wells are now on track to produce about 720,000 barrels” each. Not only are the wells already drying up at a much faster rate than the company predicted, according to the Journal’s investigative report, but Pioneer’s projections require oil to flow for at least 50 years after the well was drilled and...
Despite shutdown, Trump administration continues work to begin oil drilling in ANWR

Despite shutdown, Trump administration continues work to begin oil drilling in ANWR

SOURCE: Alaska Public Media DATE: January 4, 2019 SNIP: As the partial government shutdown drags on, the Trump administration is making sure some Interior Department employees continue work on one of its biggest, most controversial priorities: opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Drilling opponents were quick to criticize the move, contrasting it with the overflowing trash cans and unattended public toilets in national parks managed by Interior, which have become a symbol of the continuing stalemate in Washington, D.C. The partial shutdown also isn’t stopping Trump’s Interior Department from pressing ahead with potentially allowing more oil development in another vast, federally managed area in the Arctic, the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, or NPR-A. The Bureau of Land Management confirmed it is going forward with previously scheduled public meetings on overhauling the NPR-A management plan in the North Slope communities of Utqiagvik on Fri., Jan. 4 and Nuiqsut on Sat., Jan. 5, despite many other Interior Department activities remaining...
Gas flaring lights up Texas skies amid US oil boom

Gas flaring lights up Texas skies amid US oil boom

SOURCE: Financial Times DATE: January 4, 2019 SNIP: The powerful telescopes of Texas’s McDonald Observatory aim at some of the darkest night skies on the planet. But a dome of light is creeping closer on the northern horizon. The glow emanates from the booming oilfields of the Permian Basin, lit up by flares of burning natural gas. So much gas has bubbled up from the oil wells in the area that it has overwhelmed pipelines needed to take it to market. Rather than wait for new gas pipelines to arrive, bottling up lucrative oil production in the process, energy companies are incinerating the methane. Flaring means the gas will never be used by consumers. It is also forgone revenue for energy producers and tax authorities. The pollution emitted is significant, even if carbon dioxide released in flaring traps far less heat in the atmosphere than methane gas. The US government estimates the basin’s oil production has risen by nearly 1m barrels per day in the past year to 3.8m b/d, as the US has regained its position as the world’s largest crude producer. The amount of gas flared in the Permian, meanwhile, averaged 209m cubic feet per day in 2017, according to data compiled by Rystad Energy, a research company. In the third quarter of 2018 it hit a record 407m cu ft/d — roughly the consumption of the state of Nebraska. By the second quarter of 2019 it will surpass 600m cu ft/d, the consultancy estimates. Read the whole story at the Financial...
How China’s Big Overseas Initiative Threatens Global Climate Progress

How China’s Big Overseas Initiative Threatens Global Climate Progress

SOURCE: e360 DATE: January 3, 2019 SNIP: China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, has been described as the most ambitious infrastructure project in history. It is a plan to finance and build roads, railways, bridges, ports, and industrial parks abroad, beginning with China’s neighbors in Central, South, and Southeast Asia and eventually reaching Western Europe and across the Pacific to Latin America. The more than 70 countries that have formally signed up to participate account for two-thirds of the world’s population, 30 percent of global GDP, and an estimated 75 percent of known energy reserves. Just building the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road will absorb massive amounts of concrete, steel, and chemicals, creating new power stations, mines, roads, railways, airports, and container ports, many in countries with poor environmental oversight. But more worrying still is the vision of industrial development to follow, and the energy that is planned to fuel it. While China has imposed a cap on coal consumption at home, its coal and energy companies are on a building spree overseas. Chinese companies are involved in at least 240 coal projects in 25 of the Belt and Road countries, including in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Serbia, Kenya, Ghana, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. China is also financing about half of proposed new coal capacity in Egypt, Tanzania, and Zambia. The Belt and Road Initiative threatens to lock China’s partners into the same high-emission development that China is now trying to exit. So far, the majority of BRI projects are energy-related: Since 2000, Chinese-led policy banks have invested...
Louisiana Offers Fossil Fuel Exporter Largest Local Tax Giveaway in History

Louisiana Offers Fossil Fuel Exporter Largest Local Tax Giveaway in History

SOURCE: Truthout DATE: January 2, 2019 SNIP: Louisiana plans to collect no industrial property tax from the $15.2 billion Driftwood liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal planned for its southwest corner, state officials announced in December. Critics say this tax break is worth $1.4 to $2.4 billion, making it one of the largest local corporate tax exemptions in American history — even larger than those offered to Amazon for its much sought-after second headquarters. Proposed by the natural gas firm Tellurian, the Driftwood terminal, which would liquefy and export 4 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day, is one of over a dozen gas export terminals proposed around the U.S. and fueled by a glut of shale gas released by fracking. The final investment decision for Driftwood is expected in early 2019, as are decisions on two other proposed Gulf Coast export terminals. By 2025, analysts say, the U.S. could become the world’s largest exporter of the fossil fuel LNG. Driftwood alone could nearly double American LNG exports, as the industry currently has the capacity to export 3.6 billion cubic feet a day, according to the Energy Information Administration. Tellurian plans to pipe shale gas from Texas’ Permian Basin and Louisiana’s Haynesville shale through not-yet-built pipelines to Calcasieu Parish in Louisiana. The Driftwood plant is expected to create 200 permanent jobs. That means the tab for the 10-year tax break would run as high as $10 million per permanent job, critics say. The Louisiana community that will forego Driftwood’s property tax revenues — which would normally fund schools, public safety, and other local government programs — is also...