Media highlights: 4-22 April 2014

Is the U.S. shale boom going bust?  (Bloomberg, 22 April) – “…the average decline of the world’s conventional oil fields is about 5 percent per year. By comparison, the average decline of oil wells in North Dakota’s booming Bakken shale oil field is 44 percent per year. Individual wells can see production declines of 70 percent or more in the first year. Shale gas wells face similarly swift depletion rates, so drillers need to keep plumbing new wells to make up for the shortfall at those that have gone anemic. This creates what Hughes and other critics consider an unsustainable treadmill of ever-higher, billion-dollar capital expenditures chasing a shifting equilibrium. …”

Dairy industry inquiry wanted [by Fish and Game]  (Radio NZ, 19 April)

Sustainable farming granted $9.9 million funding  (NZ Farmers, 18 April)

Fracking-earthquake link may impact insurance policies  (Columbus Business First, 18 April) – “Fracking falls into the “man-made” part of typical earthquake insurance coverage, the same category that includes injection wells. More than one-third of companies polled by the Ohio Insurance Institute in 2012 said their earthquake coverage wouldn’t cover losses from fracking-related movement.”  NZ insurers won’t cover that either.

Fracking study gets [Colorado] House OK  (GJSentinel, 17 April)  – “The bill directs the department of public health and environment to conduct an analysis of human health and quality of life within the counties of Larimer, Weld, Boulder, and Adams with the intent of understanding any possible effects of oil and gas operations on communities within these counties.” NZ should follow suit with focus on Taranaki.

Brian Fallow: Curbing emissions is vital – Any delay could make adjustment to a low-carbon economy more costly  (NZ Herald, 17 April) – An interesting read from an economist’s point of view.

California hydraulic fracturing moratorium bill approved by state senate committee  (Hydraulic fracking blog, 16 April)

Gas finds key to methanol peak  (TDN, 16 April)

What to do if oil and gas companies come calling  (Wairarapa Times-Age, 16 April) – Federated Farmers’ reasonable advice

EPA drastically underestimates methane released at drilling sites (Los Angeles Times, 14 April) – This again debunks the notion that natural gas is a clean, transition energy – it is not, because of the huge amount of fugitive gas, none of which is being accounted for here in NZ.

Ohio geologists link small quakes to fracking  (AP, 11 April) – “Under Ohio’s new permit conditions, all new drilling sites within 3 miles of a known fault or seismic activity of 2.0 magnitude or higher will be conditioned on the installation of sensitive seismic-monitoring equipment. Results will be directly available to regulators, Simmers said, so the state isn’t reliant on drilling operators providing the data voluntarily. If seismic activity of 1.0 magnitude or greater is felt, drilling will be paused for evaluation. If a link is found, the operation will be halted.”  No such regulation in NZ.

Greens want ‘land farm’ meat tested for contamination  (TV NZ One News, 11 April) Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye says there is no evidence of any risk, and “Milk testing is a lot quicker, sheep and beef testing would require huge control samples, it would take a lot longer and I think we should only do that if we actually see something showing up in the milk …” In stark contrast, in 2010, Pennsylvanian Agriculture Secretary quarantined 20 cows for 6 months and 8 calves for 2 years after suspected ingestion of drilling waste, for fear of contaminated meat.

DEP issues Chevron nine citations in fatal gas well blast  (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10 April) – “In addition to the violation for not allowing access, the state cited Chevron for seven violations for failure to operate a well properly and failure to prevent venting of gas, and a violation for a discharge of well production fluids onto the ground.” Yet TRC routinely issues consent for the discharge of “treated produced water” onto land and into tributaries.

Minister didn’t know park was in drilling plan  (3 News, 8 April)

Report shows 61 dangerous petroleum incidents  (3 News, 7 April) – Must watch!

Maps leave pa beset on all sides  (Wanganui Chronicle, 4 April)  – quoted cjt media release on new block offers

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