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Tuesday, October 16, 2012


(NOTE: Unless you read the first part of this series, FRACKING INSANE, you will miss background information that is essential for a complete understanding on this subject. There are so many facets, the deeper we got, the deeper it gets.  Though we may refer to some of this information, we will not repeat it in this or subsequent parts of this series, so we recommend you read it.)

When we began this series on the insanity of fracking, we started with, “First there was the Westward Expansion, next the Gold Rush, then the Wildcatter Oil Boom. Now we’ve got the Natural Gas Fracking Boom, with all the irrational exuberance and then some of these former booms.”  Well my friends, this latest boom, already begun, the Fracking for Oil Boom, is so big, it’s going to make the Natural Gas Fracking Boom look like nothing. At least, that’s how excited they are about it. Talk about irrational exuberance, these industry executives today are on such a psychological high that it’s mind-boggling.

Their limited supply of fossil fuels, their “non-renewable resources”, are all the sudden unlimited, or so they’ve convinced themselves, due to the miraculous technological advance of fracking allowing them to exploit previously inaccessible amounts. The whole concept of Peak Oil and Peak Gas has been turned upside down. (Both were updated in Wikipedia in 2012, indicating a peak in production rates followed by a rapid decline, as has been taught in every text book in the US and worldwide for decades). Instead of having to forecast a down-turn, they can continue to forecast increases month after month and year after year. First Gas, and now, Glory be, Oil, and all right here in the US. No need to rely on those troublesome foreign nations whose people don’t always regard us kindly. No need to incur foreign debt for our energy needs. It’s a dream come true. Or is it?

We’re talking about the very rosy Annual Energy Outlook 2012, which was published in June, 2012 by the EIA, the Department Of Energy’s (DOE) information agency. This report was distributed to all the media outlets, to all the politicians, and throughout the Industry, and now has them all jumping for joy. And the energy executives and most of our politicians regardless of party seem just as enthusiastic as high school cheerleaders. A short review of this report was provided to us by the Institute for Energy Research, a “non-profit” funded by the energy industry, and tied to the American Energy Alliance (AEA) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), that all take on the task of promoting Natural Gas, Oil, and Coal and of “debunking” (explaining away) environmental issues and any movement toward green energy.

This report and these organizations focus on the new Oil Boom and the Natural Gas Boom, but they touch on the environmental problems of “Hydraulic Fracturing”  (they steer clear from using the inelegant word, “Fracking”), and they mention the problem of the pesky environmentalists’ concerns and their own concerns that the environmental laws might be strengthened. But they concentrate on the end result, and that sure looks rosy. All the Oil they can refine into Gasoline, maybe even enough for export, and the same with Natural Gas, the “Clean Energy”, (which isn’t so clean - see part one FRACKING INSANE), giving them time to refit their Coal burning electricity generation facilities to meet troublesome new EPA standards (which is also in this EIA report), so they can continue to use Coal for many years to come.

And then they resort to a totally unfair tactic, by implying that their success in Fracking for Oil could significantly lower the price of gasoline. This is a bold-faced lie, and they know it. What happened to Global Trade in this discussion? If India or China or Europe wants this oil and will pay a higher price, will the Oil Companies really lower our prices? We don’t think so. Or will they continue to manipulate the prices by, let’s say, shutting down some refineries for repairs? But the Industry Public Relations executives at Exxon, BP, Shell, and all the other oil companies, big and small, know that the carrot they’re dangling of lower gasoline prices, will take the starch right out of most American’s environmental concerns, so if they want to keep on fracking, they’ve got to get ahead of all that, and this report is part of how they’re going about doing that.

They know what’s happening. They know about the water pollution they’re creating, and that they’re running out of places to hide or dump their millions of gallons of dirty water. They know about the EPA’s new air pollution ruling on the fracking industry that they have to do something about by 2015. They know about the EPA ruling on the pollution in Pavilion, Wyoming’s water, and about the fact that they have so far intimidated the EPA (we’ve shown you some of the letters of intimidation in the first part of this series) from coming out with the long-awaited finding on water pollution from fracking in general, which the EPA will have to come out with sooner or later. (You can bet, it will be after the election, but we’ve heard that it might be as late as 2014.) They know about all this, though they won’t admit it, maybe even to themselves. They also know about the growing number of protesters, and that the protesters are becoming more and more serious. So they look it as a game, and they take the football strategy of a “good Offense is the best Defense”. (We’ll talk about this more in the next part of this series on fracking, The 800 Pound Gorilla in that Room.) Their goal is to keep on fracking, and they know they’ve absolutely got to get the American people to be behind this idea. And now with all the rosy promises found in the Energy Outlook 2012, as has been applauded and promoted from all directions, this is all part of their strategy.

The cornerstone of their report is what’s happening right now in the Bakken Shale region of North Dakota. Did you know that, for the last five months the State of North Dakota surpassed Alaska in barrels of light sweet crude oil produced, with a yield of over 674,000 barrels per day, second only to Texas? We found that this oil in the Bakken Shale was discovered in 1951, but it wasn’t accessible until the advent of fracking and horizontal drilling technologies. The Fracking started in 2005, and in 2010 the yield was over 200,000 barrels per day, and now it’s over three times that amount (609,000 bpd) from over 4,300 fracking wells, and the sky’s the limit. Take a look at the red bar graph in the lower left corner of the graphic at the top of this page. And this didn’t just happen. As you can see, this Boom’s been going on for quite a while.

The remarkable thing is that all of this happened without most of us knowing anything about it. With all our extensive research on the internet while writing FRACKING INSANE in April and May, 2012, we barely saw anything about Fracking for Oil. All of the articles and all of the graphics were strictly about fracking for Natural Gas. We had heard rumors about the possibility of Fracking for Oil, but we were unaware that it had already begun, certainly not to this extent.

Although the Wall Street Journal published an article, “Expanded Oil Drilling Helps U.S. Wean Itself From Mideast” dated  June 27, 2012, as far as we’re concerned, the story “broke” with an August 9, 2012 article in the New York Times, entitled, ”The Coming Oil Boom”. Well, friends, it isn’t “coming”, it has come, but somehow, it was off our radar, and we gather from the title of the article, maybe even off the New York Times’ radar, and it was totally unknown to most Americans, maybe by design.

But the people of North Dakota and Montana, and the people they’re trying to recruit from all over the US to fill the job void, sure know all about it. This is, and has been for some time, Boom-town, USA. They can’t fill the jobs or build the new houses fast enough, and lots of folks are getting rich.

They are also struggling with the downside of this boom, including traffic, hundreds of tractor trailers going by their homes every day on inadequate roads, and the stink of methane gas and toxic fracking fluid chemicals, and the air pollution from flaring off the natural gas coming out of these oil wells (31% of the natural gas produced in North Dakota is flared - burned in an open flame, which is perhaps better for greenhouse gasses than simply venting it into the atmosphere, but it produces thick black carbon smoke and lots of carbon dioxide. (So much for Natural Gas as “Clean Energy”. It’s like living in Nigeria with all of the flaring.) Also we are hearing the same anecdotal reports of pets and farm animals getting sick, losing patches of hair, and dying, and about all the same incidents of groundwater contamination as we’ve heard elsewhere, and about humans getting sick and medical tests coming up with high levels of toxins, the same toxins that are used in the Fracking Fluid (but the authorities, as usual, don’t doubt the lab reports of high levels of toxins in the blood work, they just doubt the source of these toxins).

Fracking for Oil is much the same process as Fracking for Gas, using the same millions of gallons of fresh water, millions of pounds of sand, and tens of thousands of gallons of nearly the same toxic chemicals, (Please read FRACKING INSANE.) and the same risks of accidents, leaks and spills, for each time a well is fracked, yielding the same huge open pits of extremely toxic “flowback” waste water, (until they figure out a way to dispose of it). The only thing worse about this than Fracking for Gas, is that the product they’re extracting, Oil, is also extremely toxic to animals and humans, when spilled. (See FRACKING INSANE for details, and see CLEAN-UP OR COVER-UP for details on the toxicity of Petroleum.) We’re including a graphic of the Fracking for Oil process.

A difference (from Fracking for Natural Gas) in order to maximize Oil recovery, is the technique using multi-stage perforated sleeves that concentrates the hydraulic assault, forming longer cracks for better Oil flow. As you can see in this graphic, the Oil is found in multiple relatively small pockets. The key for sustained high productivity, more so than with conventional mining, is to keep on Fracking. The more wells Fracked, the more Petroleum produced. We’re now up to more than 4300 wells in the Bakken Shale area of North Dakota alone, most in just the last two years. Again, the sky’s the limit.

And if you think that US has a monopoly on fracking, you’re wrong, Halliburton, the grandfather of Fracking and the leading supplier of fracking fluid chemicals and services worldwide, and the Big Oil companies, like Exxon Mobile, for one example, are multi-national corporations, and although Fracking was invented and perfected here in the US, they are willing to export the technology anywhere in the world they can make a buck. They have fostered experiments in Fracking all over the world.

But they’ve run into lots of interference in their efforts, particularly in Europe, where mineral rights always are owned by the state, and they can’t sit down at a kitchen table and buy privately owned mineral rights directly from the owner like they can in the US. And where individuals don’t make a windfall profit, environmental concerns seem to become more relevant. France is the first country to completely ban Fracking.

But all around the globe there are areas of shale rock formations that could yield incredible amounts of gas and oil through Fracking, including China, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Canada, India, Pakistan, Australia, Poland, etc., and most of these countries have begun fracking in a big way, and Halliburton and Big Oil are profiting. Take a look at this map and you’ll see just how widespread.

In Russia, they have discovered an area of shale rock in Siberia, called the Bazhenov, which is 80 times larger than the Bakken Shale in the US, the size of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico combined. Exxon-Mobil is one of the two oil companies that have teamed up with the Russian government controlled oil company, Rosneft, to exploit this unbelievable discovery of trillions of barrels of Oil and trillions of cubic meters of Gas. Russia is the worldwide leader in producing air pollution through flaring Natural Gas from Oil wells, and they are known for their environmental carelessness. Though Russia is already the largest supplier of conventional Oil in the world producing more annually than Saudi Arabia, and though they already supply most of Europe’s conventional Gas, fracking could potentially take their long-term capacity to supply the world right off the charts.

But, other than the potential health risks (ours and the planet’s creatures’) and the sociological problems already presented by Fracking in this and our previous articles, there’s a problem with this new utopia of unlimited Oil.  If we are offered an unlimited supply, and if they actually (though we’re not so sure) lower the price of gasoline, will our consumption still go down, or will we and the world use every last gallon of it? We believe, and the Oil and Gas corporations hope and believe that, if offered an unlimited supply, that the world’s consumption will only increase, and their profits will only soar. That is the end result of their plan as presented in the EIA report, the Annual Energy Outlook 2012, that’s got America going,

No doubt that capital expenditure is always good for the economy. Short-term, it gives the business people profits and many people jobs. But is that a good plan? Is it wise to spend trillions of dollars on new infrastructure that can only be used to provide and burn more and more fossil fuel, and thereby create more and more greenhouse gas? 30 years from now, after the icebergs have melted and our cities are threatened to drown underwater, will we be happy to have invested billions and trillions of dollars in infrastructure (like pipelines, well rigs, refineries, etc.) that we can no longer afford to use, or no longer have the stomach to use? Or should we be spending our resources on investments in renewable resource infrastructure that might take us toward the end of this century and the beginning of the next? If you have children or grandchildren who might be around in 20 or 30 or 40 years, and if you might actually care about how you’re leaving this  planet to them, and not just about the price of gasoline, you know the answer to that question.

This time, we’ve included three videos to give you a flavor for what’s going on in North Dakota, and a much abbreviated NotesforGeeks section with some links regarding where we are on Global Warming, a subject brought up in the previous paragraph. The first video, “The North Dakota Miracle: Fracking in the Bakken” is a propaganda video, used to recruit potential workers and their families, produced by the Heritage Foundation. We questioned whether to include this one, but felt it was important to witness the wonders of the Boom in North Dakota, and what it’s like to live and work there, as they wish us to see it. We’ve included the second video more for the audio than the video, which is just a slow series of still shots, some of them interesting, but you’ll hear in this protest song how lots of the locals really feel about what’s going on. The third video is perhaps the most poignant, put together by a local truck driver. His job it is to haul fresh water into the Fracking operations, and polluted water out for disposal. Although, he’s making a living off Fracking, he obviously in his gut knows the whole thing is wrong. He gives us a glimpse from the inside. There are lots of other videos on youtube, some of them horrific.

As always, we encourage you to do your own research and to draw your own conclusions. We’d love to get some feedback from our readers. Our email address is Also we’d like to thank our readers in Russia and Germany, our biggest audience so far outside the US, as we would all of our US and international readers. For the sake of our people, our families, and Mother Earth, we encourage all of you, as charter members of Woodstock Earth, to spread the word and help get these stories out.

The North Dakota Miracle: Fracking in the Bakken
Frack That Oil by Kris Kitko

North Dakota Oil Well Frac Water

NotesforGeeks: We’re including 6 links to published articles with scientific proof that Global Warming is accelerating. With the news presented in this Woodstock Earth Blog article that we soon will have a virtually unlimited supply of Oil and Natural Gas, this subject is all the more relevant.

1. This article reporting data from NOAA presented by the World Resources Institute on June 5, 2012, “400PPM: Carbon Dioxide Levels Cross A Sobering New Threshold”, shows worldwide carbon dioxide emissions up 3.2% over last year, with levels exceeding 400 parts per million near the Arctic. 

2. A New York Times article published September 19, 2012, “Ending Its Summer Melt, Arctic Sea Ice Sets a New Low That Leads to Warnings”, tells about the polar ice cap covering only 24% of the Arctic Ocean at its lowest this year, the previous low being 29% in 2007.

3. Another New York Times article, “Drought (US Drought of 2012)” was published on August 20, 2012. Over 50% of the US is experiencing the worst drought in over half a century, affecting our ability to grow crops, raise livestock, and navigate our rivers. (This is not in this NYT article, but just a note: Meanwhile, they are using, and fouling, literally trillions of gallons of precious fresh water in their efforts to frack for gas and oil.)

4. is a blog article from with a very well written explanation of the various ways gas flaring is a major contributor to Global Warming. The use of gas flaring during the Gulf Oil Spill is discussed, an issue we missed in our article, “CLEAN-UP OR COVER-UP? HOW BP “FIXED” THE BIGGEST OIL SPILL EVER. Although since the article from was written in 2010, there has been some success in limiting gas flaring in some countries, worldwide the process and the harm it creates continues to grow with Russia, by far, the biggest culprit. Fracking for Oil, as evidenced in North Dakota, with 31% (down from 36%) of associated Gas flared per an industry report, is only going to increase the practice of flaring. At the bottom of this posting we’ve included a world map prepared by NOAA of Gas Flaring measured in billions of cubic meters.

5. These are two newer articles about a subject we covered in our first Woodstock Earth Blog posting, “GLOBAL WARMING ON STEROIDS”. The first, dated April 25, 2012, is a US News & World Report, Methane Gas Leak in Arctic Throws Scientists a Climate Change Curveball. The second, with a great picture of a gas “plume” at the surface (a picture we didn’t have when we published our article on March 15, 2012), is from the BBC, entitled, “Arctic melt releasing ancient methane”.

Let me remind you that methane is the chief component of natural gas, the gas they are fracking for, and it is 20 times worse than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas in its affects on Global Warming. Also remember that each of the endless thousands of fracking wells is leaking methane gas directly into the atmosphere, a subject addressed by the EPA in their recent finding on air pollution from fracking (that they have until 2015 to remedy). The subject of methane gas leaking and bubbling up from under the melting permafrost on the ocean floor is a good example of Global Warming accelerating by feeding on itself.  The warmer it gets, the more it melts, the more methane released, the warmer it gets.
(2009 was the newest map we were able to find.)

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