Financial Post: Half of US Fracking Companies Gone by Year End

23 04 2015

Half of U.S. fracking companies will be dead or sold by the end of this year

 Demand for fracking, a production method that along with horizontal drilling spurred a boom in U.S. oil and natural gas output, has declined as customers leave wells uncompleted because of low prices.

Associated Press
Demand for fracking, a production method that along with horizontal drilling spurred a boom in U.S. oil and natural gas output, has declined as customers leave wells uncompleted because of low prices.
Half of the 41 fracking companies operating in the U.S. will be dead or sold by year-end because of slashed spending by oil companies, an executive with Weatherford International Plc said.

Big oil warns world to brace for a different, but equally daunting, price shock to come

Oil companies say there will be a price to pay — a much higher price — for all the cost cutting being done today to cope with the collapse in the crude market. Read on 

There could be about 20 companies left that provide hydraulic fracturing services, Rob Fulks, pressure pumping marketing director at Weatherford, said in an interview Wednesday at the IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston. Demand for fracking, a production method that along with horizontal drilling spurred a boom in U.S. oil and natural gas output, has declined as customers leave wells uncompleted because of low prices.

There were 61 fracking service providers in the U.S., the world’s largest market, at the start of last year. Consolidation among bigger players began with Halliburton Co. announcing plans to buy Baker Hughes Inc. in November for US$34.6 billion and C&J Energy Services Ltd. buying the pressure-pumping business of Nabors Industries Ltd.

Weatherford, which operates the fifth-largest fracking operation in the U.S., has been forced to cut costs “dramatically” in response to customer demand, Fulks said. The company has been able to negotiate price cuts from the mines that supply sand, which is used to prop open cracks in the rocks that allow hydrocarbons to flow.

Advertisements




NEB’s “Public Comment” Doesn’t Include Public or Climate Change

29 01 2015

Dear friends across Canada,

In days, the National Energy Board will start public consultations that could decide the fate of the eastern oil sands pipeline.But they want to freeze out discussion of climate change, and limit the number of people they hear from. Now citizens’ groups are coming together to build an enormous combined call for full and fair hearings — click now to join and tell everyone!

SIGN THE PETITION

A group of energy sector insiders look set to rubber stamp the eastern oil sands pipeline, which will cross rivers and cut through communities from Alberta to Québec and New Brunswick — choking the climate, and risking spills of up to 2.6 million litres of oil. 

Shockingly, they say that climate change isn’t their concern.

The good news is that the National Energy Board is about to start public consultations before this crucial decision is made — but they only want to hear from a hand picked few, on topics that they choose.

Right now, citizens’ groups are coming together to make the biggest push yet for a fair and inclusive process that will look at all the issues — if we all add our voices, they will have to listen, or risk a complete loss of public faith.

We only have days before the process starts. Click now to tell these decision makers to put their rubber stamp back in their pockets, and instead protect our precious natural resources and the climate. When 100,000 sign on, Avaaz will bring all our voices right to the NEB’s doorstep in Calgary.

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/canada_pipeline_neb_e/?buMQMib&v=52485

PM Harper’s government has tethered our economy to the oil industry, they’ve described the National Energy Board as an “ally”, and they advise on appointments to the board.

But the NEB is supposed to be independent, and they are required to hear from people impacted by these mega projects. This should include people impacted by the devastating effects of climate change too.

The NEB says that climate change isn’t its concern, and that the provinces, together with pipeline-builder TransCanada, should deal with it. But it’s taking a narrow look at only the oil transportation issues, and not at the pipeline’s role in unleashing carbon from the tar sands on the world. Building this pipeline means digging ourselves further into a downward spiral of oil dependency and its impact on our changing climate needs to be reviewed.

New studies show that the pipeline, which will transport over 1 million barrels of tar sands crude each day, is vulnerable to corrosion, cracking, and massive spills. The Ontario-commissioned studies also say that the pipeline doesn’t provide the economic benefits that have been claimed, and there could be impacts on drinking water.

The National Energy Board could decide that the project is simply too risky for Canadians to bear. As they prepare for public consultation, let’s make sure that they hear from as many people as possible, and look at all the impacts of this oily pipeline. Click now to take action:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/canada_pipeline_neb_e/?buMQMib&v=52485

Late last year, pipeline company TransCanada hired a giant PR firm that suggested targeting Avaaz and other organisations. We won’t be intimidated by this dirty war! By raising our voices together, we can show the NEB that thousands of Canadians demand fair and open hearings on this massive project.

With hope,

Jo, Ari, Danny, Emma, Ricken, and the whole Avaaz team

SOURCES

National Energy Board’s pipeline focus isn’t climate change, CEO says (CBC)
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/national-energy-board-s-pipeline-focus-isn-t-climate-change-ceo-says-1.2847487

Poll shows few Quebecers support Energy East pipeline (Montreal Gazette)
http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/poll-shows-few-quebecers-support-energy-east-pipeline

City raises pipeline concerns (Winnipeg Free Press)
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/city-raises-pipeline-concerns-252590031.html

More details needed on impact of Energy East pipeline, report says (Toronto Star)
http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/01/15/more-details-needed-on-impact-of-energy-east-pipeline-report-says.html

Energy East pipeline benefits overblown, report says (CBC)
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/energy-east-pipeline-benefits-overblown-report-says-1.2576782

TransCanada pressuring opponents of Energy East pipeline, documents show (Toronto Star)
http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/11/18/transcanada_pressuring_opponents_of_energy_east_pipeline_documents_show.html





2 Degrees C: Tar Sands Must Stay in the Ground

9 01 2015

85% of tar sands must stay in the ground to limit climate change to 2 degrees Celsius

With Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s environment minister meeting with provincial and territorial leaders to discuss post-2020 carbon emission targets in late February, the federal election this October, the pivotal United Nations climate summit in December, and a federal government decision expected on the Energy East pipeline just a few month later by May 2016, the release yesterday of a new report on what Canada must to do to limit climate change to 2 degrees Celsius is of critical importance.

The Canadian Press reports, “British researchers [from University College London] have concluded that most of Canada’s [tar] sands will have to be left in the ground if the world gets serious about climate change. The report, published in the journal Nature, says three-quarters of all Canada’s oil reserves and 85 per cent of its [tar] sands can’t be burned if the world wants to limit global warming.”

“The report also concludes that no country’s Arctic energy resources can be developed if global temperature increases are to be kept manageable. It adds that about one-quarter of Canada’s natural gas reserves and four-fifths of its coal would also have to be left in the ground.”

CBC adds, “[The study] says for the world to have a reasonable prospect of meeting the target, no more than 7.5 billion barrels of oil from the [tar] sands can be produced by 2050 — a mere 15 per cent of viable reserves and only about one per cent of total bitumen.” And the Globe and Mail further notes, “Domestic estimates of Alberta’s oil reserves come in at about 168 billion barrels, with hundreds of billions more available for extraction if future oil prices make the resource more attractive. The study uses a more conservative estimate of 48 billion barrels as the current reserve and then finds that only 7.5 billion barrels of that, or about 15 per cent, can be used by 2050 as part of the global allotment of fossil-fuel use in a two-degree scenario.”

In response to this study, Natural Resources Canada said, “The majority [of the world’s energy] will come from fossil fuels, even under its most stringent greenhouse gas reduction forecast. The choice is whether to use energy from a secure, environmentally responsible, transparent country like Canada, or to seek energy from less stable countries without responsible environmental policies.” And Andrew Leach, the Enbridge Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Alberta, says that even using 25 per cent of Canada’s oil reserves between now and 2050 would lead to growth above current rates of production.

In terms of production, in early October 2014, Canada was exporting about 2.98 million barrels per day of crude to the United States. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has said they expect oil production to reach 3.91 million barrels per day in 2015 and 6.44 million barrels per day by 2030. And in terms of meeting our carbon emission target, the Globe and Mail has reported that documents submitted by the Harper government to the United Nations in December 2013, “show that, without further policy action, Canada’s emissions would be 734 megatonnes by 2020, or 20 per cent higher than the target of 612 megatonnes [that the Harper government agreed to at the United Nations climate summit in 2009].”

The Council of Canadians is against the proposed Keystone XL, Northern Gateway, Energy East, Trans Mountain and Arctic Gateway pipelines. Together, those pipelines would move about 3.45 million barrels of oil per day or about 1.26 billion barrels a year. If all of these pipelines were to become operational, they would exceed the 7.5 billion barrel limit noted in this British study in less than six years.

And as now supported by this study, we have called for a moratorium on the offshore extraction of oil and gas from Arctic, an end to fracking, and opposed coal export terminals in British Columbia. As an alternative, we have called for the development of sustainable energy sources in a joint report with the Canadian Labour Congress titled Green, Decent and Public.

We were also present for the climate talks in Lima in 2014, Cancun in 2010 and Copenhagen in 2009. At those summits, we called on the Harper government to commit to an emissions reduction target of at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. We have also stated that Canada’s fair contribution to climate adaptation for the Global South should be $4 billion yearly. And we have argued for inclusion and a democratization of the climate change negotiations process. The next United Nations climate summit – COP 21 – will take place November 30 to December 11 in Paris.

Further reading
85% of oilsands can’t be burned if world to limit global warming: report (Canadian Press)
Climate change study says most of Canada’s oil reserves should be left underground (CBC)
Oil sands must remain largely unexploited to meet climate target, study finds (The Globe and Mail)

 





BP oil spill dispersants concern Nova Scotia environmentalist

29 12 2014

Bill C-22 is ‘an absolute, total abdication of regulatory responsibility’

CBC News Posted: Dec 29, 2014 9:38 AM AT Last Updated: Dec 29, 2014 9:38 AM AT

Crude oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill washes ashore in Orange Beach, Ala., on June 12, 2010.

Crude oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill washes ashore in Orange Beach, Ala., on June 12, 2010. (Dave Martin/Associated Press)

A Shelburne County environmentalist is raising concerns about a toxic chemical that could be used off Nova Scotia in the future.

When the Deepwater Horizon oil platform erupted in flames in 2010, it spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico, but some research says the cleanup was worse because about 6.8 million litres of the chemical Corexit 9500A was used to disperse the oil.

The dispersant used by oil company BP, when mixed with crude oil, was found to be 52 times more toxic than oil alone to some microscopic plankton-like organisms called rotifers.

“When you mix this stuff with the oil, you create a compound that is substantially more dangerous than even the dangerous dispersant on its own or even the dangerous oil on its own and this is the issue that we have,” says John Davis, a founder of the No Rigs Coalition.

He says Shell has already put out bids to use Corexit if there is a spill at a well planned for the Shelburne Gully.

“The creators of CoRexit will tell you it’s less toxic than dish soap. All you have to do is read the warning label to know that it’s a highly, highly dangerous chemical.… There is no doubt in my mind that if Shell made the effort they could find ways to clean up the oil and not just be prepared to disperse it and put it under water and out of sight,” he says.

‘Total abdication of regulatory responsibility’

Davis says there is legislation in place to prevent the use of chemicals like Corexit, “but what happened here is that the federal government has decided to put forward legislation called Bill C-22 — which in fact creates a circumstance where the oil company can go and utilize the product, the dispersants, and then report after the fact to the regulatory agencies. It is an absolute, total abdication of regulatory responsibility.”

Bill C-22 was introduced by the federal minister of Natural Resources earlier this year.

It would pre-approve emergency plans for oil and gas companies to deal with spills, such as the speedy use of dispersants, or chemicals used to break oil into smaller particles in the event of an oil spill at sea.

Davis says he worries the chemical could end up on the Georges Bank, pointing out the Labrador Current would carry any material right to the fertile fishing grounds.

“It’s that [upwelling of water] that provides much of the nutrients that makes Georges Bank such an important biological place — and so important to us as an economical generator,” he says.

A publication in the February 2013 issue of the scientific journal Environmental Pollution, found that on their own, the oil and dispersant were equally toxic. But when combined, the oil and dispersant increased toxicity to one of the rotifer species by a factor of 52.

‘High and immediate human health hazards​’

Dispersants cause giant pools of spilled oil floating atop the sea to break up into tiny droplets that then dilute with water just below the surface. The process helps creatures including turtles, birds and mammals that need access to the surface, and also ensures less oil flows ashore where it can choke coastal wildlife. However, it increases the amount of oil just below the surface, potentially contaminating the organisms that live there.

Scientists at the Autonomous University of Aguascalientes in Mexico and the Georgia Institute of Technology now say Corexit 9500A is far more harmful than previously thought to a key dweller of those sub-surface depths.

An Environment Canada study states the dispersant is 27 times safer than common dish soap, but some say that figure is dangerously misleading. The study also states that five of Corexit’s 57 ingredients are linked to cancer and can pose “high and immediate human health hazards.”

In all, the British Petroleum oil leak was the largest offshore petroleum spill in U.S. history, sending 4.9 million barrels (584 million litres) of crude into the Gulf of Mexico.





CATHOLIC BISHOPS FROM EVERY CONTINENT CALL FOR ‘AN END TO THE FOSSIL FUEL ERA

29 12 2014

 POSTED ON DECEMBER 11, 2014 AT 4:45 PM UPDATED: DECEMBER 12, 2014 AT 9:05 AM

Catholic Bishops From Every Continent Call For ‘An End To The Fossil Fuel Era’

Pope Francis and a group of bishops at the Vatican.

Pope Francis and a group of bishops at the Vatican.

CREDIT: AP PHOTO / ALESSANDRA TARANTINO

A group of Catholic Bishops called on the world’s governments to end fossil fuel use on Wednesday, citing climate change’s threat to the global poor as the lodestar of their concern.

According to the BBC, the statement is the first time senior officials in the Church from every continent have issued such a call. The statement also drops in the middle of ongoing international climate talks in Lima, Peru, as countries continue to hash out what to do about climate change in the run-up to a summit in 2015, where observers and activists hope a new international agreement will be finalized.

“We express an answer to what is considered God’s appeal to take action on the urgent and damaging situation of global climate warming,” the bishops wrote.

Striking a similar note to Naomi Klein’s recent book, “This Changes Everything,” the bishops’ statement also argued that global capitalism and its economic systems, as currently designed, are incompatible with long-term ecological sustainability: “The main responsibility for this situation lies with the dominant global economic system, which is a human creation. In viewing objectively the destructive effects of a financial and economic order based on the primacy of the market and profit, which has failed to put the human being and the common good at the heart of the economy, one must recognize the systemic failures of this order and the need for a new financial and economic order.”

The document calls on the international community to “adopt a fair and legally binding global agreement” to cut carbon emissions at the summit in Paris next year. Specifically, the bishops insist on limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C relative to pre-industrial levels — a considerably more ambitious goal than the 2°C ceiling that’s generally agreed on as the threshold beyond which climate change becomes truly dangerous — and on building “new models of development and lifestyles that are both climate compatible” and can “bring people out of poverty.”

“Central to this is to put an end to the fossil fuel era, phasing out fossil fuel emissions and phasing in 100 percent renewables with sustainable energy access for all.”

The goal of reducing global carbon emissions to zero is already making the rounds in Lima, and the Associated Press reports that dozens of governments are on board with the idea. At its current rate of emissions, the world will actually use up its “carbon budget” — the total amount of greenhouse gases it can emit this century and still stay under 2°C — by 2040, though slowing that rate in the coming years will extend the deadline.

The bishops’ logic and their goal for restraining temperature increase is rooted in prioritizing “the immediate needs of the most vulnerable communities.” Indeed, precisely because of their lack of resources and infrastructure, many of the globe’s poorest populations — particularly those in Southern Asia and Africa — are especially vulnerable to the droughts, floods, rising seas, storms, and other forms of extreme weather that are part and parcel of climate change. Meanwhile, a report released by the United Nations this past Friday determined that the amount poor and developing countries will have to collectively invest in adapting to climate change will run between $250 and $500 billion annually by 2050 even if the world does keep to the 2°C threshold. There’s also at least some scientific evidence that the effects of climate change at a 2°C rise will be considerably more severe than generally thought.

The U.N. report also determined that there is currently a massive gap between what the developing countries will need and what the developed world is willing to pay — a point of considerable tension in the international talks. While China has overtaken the United States as the biggest cumulative emitter, the U.S. maintains are far higher level of emissions per capita. Furthermore, climate change is cumulative, meaning the bulk of the effects are still driven by the carbon the U.S. and the rest of the western world historically emitted in the course of building their wealth. That greater wealth per person also means advanced countries have far more room to invest in cutting emissions and in aiding the still-developing neighbors.

“Those responsible for climate change have responsibilities to assist the most vulnerable in adapting and managing loss and damage and to share the necessary technology and knowhow,” the bishops continue, while insisting that 50 percent of all climate-related public funding go to meet the developing world’s adaptation needs.

While this is a first by some markers, the Bishops’ statement also continues a long tradition of engagement with environmental issues and climate change by the Catholic Church. Pope Francis himself has made the religious case for combating climate change, warning that “if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us!” Earlier this year, the Church held a five-day summit bringing together scientists, economists, philosophers, astronomers, and other experts to explore ways the Catholic church could address climate change and its related challenges. Francis has also singled out the destruction of the rainforest as a “sin,” as is working on an official papal encyclical tackling the environment and humanity’s relationship to it.





Stanford: Pathways to 100% Renewable Energy

19 12 2014





UPDATED: Liberals imposing moratorium on All fracking activity

18 12 2014

T&T   DEC 18

ADAM HURAS Legislature Bureau
December 18, 2014

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant.Photo: James West/THE CANADIAN PRESS

FREDERICTON • New Brunswick’s Liberal government plans on imposing a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.

Premier Brian Gallant said the moratorium is on all hydraulic fracturing activity – water and propane included.

Gallant said that the move will require amendments to the oil and natural gas act, expected to be introduced in the legislature on Thursday afternoon.

He stressed the move is not a ban and that it could be lifted in the future.

But the moratorium has a series of conditions that need to be met before being lifted, including a process to consult with First Nations, a plan for wastewater disposal and credible information about the impacts fracking has on health, water and the environment.

“We have been clear from Day One that we will impose a moratorium until risks to the environment, health and water are understood,” Gallant said. “We believe these conditions to be very reasonable.”

Gallant said he also wants the development of a royalty structure and a “social licence’” ensuring that the public accepts fracking before the moratorium would be removed, though he acknowledged that has yet to be defined.

He said his government supports job creation but added that it needs to be done in a diversified and sustainable way.

“We’re not interested in putting all of our eggs in a single basket,” he said.

But the moratorium is strictly on hydraulic fracturing, meaning exploration for shale gas could continue.

Companies can continue work, as long as they don’t frack.

“We’ll certainly also always listen to businesses that may have concerns and try to mitigate some of the impacts if they believe (them) to be negative on their operations,” he said.

Fracking is a process whereby a pressurized fluid is injected into shale rock in order to crack the rock and release underground natural gas deposits.

In making the announcement, Gallant is carrying out another of its cornerstone commitments.

The Liberal election campaign platform pledges to impose a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing “until risks to the environment, health and water are fully understood.”

“Any decision on hydraulic-fracturing will be based on peer-reviewed scientific evidence and follow recommendations of the Chief Medical Officer of Health,” it states.

The move risks killing an industry that has already invested hundreds of millions in New Brunswick.

It also raises the danger of multi-million dollar legal action from the companies that were granted licences by both Liberal and Progressive Conservative governments in the province over the last decade.

But it erases the threat of environmental risks that have been hotly debated across the country and around the world.

New Brunswick’s move follows moratoriums in Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

It turns it back on joining provinces such as British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan with a history of hydraulic fracturing having embraced industry development.

THE DEBATE

The arguments, reports, and studies for and against the well-stimulation technique are many.

The Fraser Institute has stated the environmental risks associated with hydraulic fracturing are real but manageable with existing technologies and regulation, noting that stopping shale gas development is squandering a good economic opportunity.

A group of university and private sector analysts released a report on shale gas that included an economic study that predicted New Brunswick could create between 5,900 and 7,900 full-time jobs, both directly and indirectly, if the industry annually drilled between 150 and 200 wells.

That would translate into between $1.4 billion and $1.8 billion in economic growth.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said in September that a total of 44,266 oil and natural gas wells have been hydraulically fractured in Saskatchewan.

There were 1,380 wells fracked there last year, without incident.

“There are simply not the incidents that some who oppose fracking are pointing to,” he said.

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark maintains that her province has “never had a single incident of water contamination reported in British Columbia after doing this for 50 years.”

The David Alward Progressive Conservatives went all in on the industry in a failed re-election bid that urged New Brunswickers to “say yes” to what the Tories said would be $10 billion in short-term investment.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, Premier Philippe Couillard ruled out exploiting Quebec’s shale gas reserves.

Quebecers are largely against hydraulic fracturing and exploiting the natural resource in today’s market is not economically viable, he said.

Couillard made the comments shortly after Quebec’s environmental review board concluded the ecological and social risks associated with hydraulic fracturing outweigh the financial benefits.

Nova Scotia has moved ahead with legislation to ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing for onshore oil and gas. Only three test wells have been hydraulically fracked in Nova Scotia since 2007, all of them in the Kennetcook area, where Denver-based Triangle Petroleum failed to make the natural gas there flow.

The government there won’t consider lifting the ban until it is convinced fracking can be done safely under a set of stringent new rules and regulations.

The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance, which represents 22 community organizations, called on the Gallant government earlier this week to “put people before politics” when it comes to the shale gas industry.

“We recognize that the government is under significant pressure from the oil and gas lobby, in both public and private, to reverse or weaken its decision (for a moratorium), and its promise to the electorate,” said alliance spokesman Jim Emberger at a news conference in Moncton. “This is no less than a direct attempt by industry to subvert the will and voice of the people and therefore, is also a direct attempt to undermine our democratic process.”