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GOP Endorses Nazi Fischer/Tropsch Process

The Man from I.G. Farben

COMMENT: The GOP has seized upon the Fischer/Tropsch process as a means of reduc­ing U.S. depen­dency on imported fos­sil fuels. Devel­oped by the I.G. Far­ben firm and used by the Third Reich to pro­duce fuel, the process was the focal point of the Standard/I.G. Agree­ment of 1929.

Recently, the process has been used to facil­i­tate the pro­cess­ing of nat­ural gas into high-quality diesel fuel.

Note that the GOP is push­ing leg­is­la­tion that would autho­rize the Pen­ta­gon to use envi­ron­men­tally destruc­tive fuel derived from Fischer/Tropsch. The Pen­ta­gon, to its great credit, is push­ing back!

One won­ders what roy­al­ties might accrue to GOP-friendly mega-corporations that ben­e­fit from Fischer/Tropsch?

“Nazi-era Tech­nol­ogy Embraced by Repub­li­cans in U.S. Con­gress in the Name of National Secu­rity”  by John Daly; oilprice.com; 6/6/2011.

EXCERPT: . . . The sub­se­quent vicious Allied fight from Nor­mandy to Ger­many saw the Nazis largely fueled by a tech­nol­ogy that is now being pro­moted by the Repub­li­can Con­gres­sional lead­er­ship, in col­lu­sion with its munif­i­cent fis­cal cam­paign energy sup­port­ers, as a way to lessen U.S. depen­dence on energy imports.

At issue is the Fishcher-Tropsch coal liq­ue­fac­tion process, devel­oped by energy-poor Ger­many in the 1920s and expanded by the Nazi regime. Bent on dom­i­nat­ing Europe, Hitler’s war machine suf­fered from increas­ing fuel short­ages, first in Sep­tem­ber 1939 when Britain’s Royal Navy clamped a naval block­ade on the Baltic, exac­er­bated in June1941 when the inva­sion of the USSR ended Soviet energy imports, leav­ing Ger­many largely depen­dent on Romania’s Ploesti oil­fields after the fail­ure of Army Group south to cap­ture the Cau­ca­sus and Azerbaijan’s rich Caspian resources. FT pro­duc­tion became increas­ingly crit­i­cal to fuel­ing Hitler’s war machine from then onwards, given Germany’s immense coal reserves.

By 1944, Ger­many was pro­duc­ing 124,000 bar­rels of syn­thetic fuels daily at 25 FT plants. FT was sub­se­quently com­mer­cial­ized by South Africa’s apartheid regime, begin­ning in the 1950s through South Africa’s state energy com­pany Suid Afrikaanse Steenkool en Olie (SASOL), founded in 1950, now a pri­vate com­pany and the world’s lead­ing pro­po­nent of FT. In the early 1980s, as UN sanc­tions against South Africa began to take effect, two large coal to liq­uid (CTL) SASOL pro­duc­tion facil­i­ties were com­mis­sioned and now form the sin­gle largest and most prof­itable asset in SASOL’s global portfolio.

If the ide­o­log­i­cal foot­print of Fischer-Tropsch is vile, then its envi­ron­men­tal impact is even worse. Quite aside from the ide­o­log­i­cal con­cerns, fuel derived from the FT process has a car­bon foot­print 118 per­cent greater than that of con­ven­tional gasoline.

Nev­er­the­less, on 12 May the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee voted to elim­i­nate a ban on the mil­i­tary pur­chas­ing high car­bon non-conventional fuels. In con­sid­er­ing the annual National Defense Autho­riza­tion Act, House Res­o­lu­tion 1540, the com­mit­tee voted to exempt the Depart­ment of Defense from Sec­tion 526 of the 2007 Energy Inde­pen­dence and Secu­rity Act, which pro­hibits fed­eral agen­cies from procur­ing fuels with higher life-cycle green­house gas emis­sions than con­ven­tional fuels, includ­ing liq­uid coal and tar sands oil.

The Pen­ta­gon is push­ing back against being man­dated to use these dirty fuels, backed by the coal indus­try and its Con­gres­sional sup­port­ers. On 3 June, Tom Hicks, the Navy’s deputy assis­tant sec­re­tary for energy, tes­ti­fied before a House Energy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee panel against Fischer-Tropsch fuels, stat­ing, “In addi­tion to requir­ing large new sources of coal, it requires enor­mous quan­ti­ties of water, $5 to $10 bil­lion in cap­i­tal per plant to pro­vide a fuel result that is more than twice as carbon-intensive as petro­leum,” pro­mot­ing instead new gen­er­a­tion bio­fu­els made from sources like camelina crops, corn stover and algae. . . .


10 comments for “GOP Endorses Nazi Fischer/Tropsch Process”

  1. Hello, Dave. Look­ing back on it, it’s kinda inter­est­ing to see this crop up when you men­tioned this as far back as 10, 15, heck, maybe even 20+ years ago!

    In any case, whichever Pen­ta­gon source which is fight­ing this pro­mo­tion of FT does deserve some credit........hope they’re on our side! =)

    Posted by Steven | July 2, 2011, 12:07 am
  2. @Doug: I think one of the main issues is{other than the major pol­lu­tion con­tri­bu­tion it would undoubt­edly make}, will the Under­ground Reich and their allies, hench­men, etc. be able to monop­o­lize every­thing? Hon­estly, I’d rather just stick to the algae process if coal ever does become an absolute neces­sity as a fuel source for anything.

    Posted by Steven | July 3, 2011, 1:37 pm
  3. My inter­pre­ta­tion of this news item:

    (1) Demo­c­ra­tic Gov­er­nor of Mon­tana Brian Schweitzer pro­posed using Fischer-Tropsch in 2005 (per­haps tak­ing the Cheney Admin­is­tra­tion by surprise?).



    (2) Using the Pen­ta­gon as “born-again eco-sensitives” (or are the Pen­ta­gon using the GOP for this staged Con­gres­sional tes­ti­mony & oper­a­tion?), the GOP are able to “take this option off the table” to pre-emptively pre­vent any future Gov­er­nor Schweitzers from rais­ing the Fischer-Tropsch option in the future.

    Does any­one really believe the Pentagon’s new­found con­cern for envi­ron­men­tal issues? I can name sev­eral egre­gious Pen­ta­gon vio­la­tions against the envi­ron­ment off the top of my head: the use of HAARP; mul­ti­ple law­suits against Naval sonar use that destroys whale pop­u­la­tions; the use of depleted ura­nium in mul­ti­ple the­atres from the Balkans to Iraq; the use of per­chlo­rate in rock­ets & missles; the use of trichloroeth­yl­ene, a mas­sively dan­ger­ous water con­t­a­m­i­nant used sim­ply for degreas­ing metal­lic parts.

    Aren’t these Con­gres­sional hear­ings merely a trans­par­ent ploy to defuse the future use of Fischer-Tropsch?

    Posted by R. Wilson | July 4, 2011, 9:07 pm
  4. @R. Wil­son: Prob­lem is, Fischer-Tropsch WAS a Nazi process, and given that the Under­ground Reich is a key com­po­nent of what we could call the world crime net­work, and that they do have their allies all over the U.S. mil­i­tary still, the only con­ceiv­able rea­son­able answers I can think of, is that some non-criminal fac­tions in the Pen­ta­gon either just real­ized how badly pol­lut­ing this process was, or maybe they not only know about its his­tory, but also per­haps may know its true pur­pose, or pos­si­bly even both; in any case, it’s bad news for all of us, and I’d like it to be taken off the damn table, PERMANENTLY.

    As for Gov. Schweitzer? I’ve heard of him, and he seems to be decent, but some­body has GOT to edu­cate him on where the FT process came from and the kinds of addi­tional dam­age it WILL do to the environment.

    Posted by Steven | July 5, 2011, 11:20 pm
  5. How the Fischer-Tropsch process plays out with the cur­rent frack­ing craze will be some­thing to watch going for­ward. That, and the destruc­tion of our drink­ing water sup­plies:

    Learn­ing Too Late of Per­ils in Gas Well Leases


    After Scott Ely and his father talked with sales­men from an energy com­pany about sign­ing the lease allow­ing gas drilling on their land in north­east­ern Penn­syl­va­nia, he said he felt cer­tain it required the com­pany to leave the prop­erty as good as new.

    So Mr. Ely said he was sur­prised sev­eral years later when the drilling com­pany, Cabot Oil and Gas, informed them that rather than drain­ing and haul­ing away the toxic drilling sludge stored in large waste ponds on the prop­erty, it would leave the waste, cover it with dirt and seed the area with grass. He knew that waste pond lin­ers can leak, seep­ing con­t­a­m­i­nated waste.

    “I guess our terms should have been clearer” about requir­ing the com­pany to remove the waste pits after drilling, said Mr. Ely, of Dimock, Pa., who sued Cabot after his drink­ing water from a sep­a­rate prop­erty was con­t­a­m­i­nated. “We learned that the hard way.”

    Amer­i­cans have signed mil­lions of leases allow­ing com­pa­nies to drill for oil and nat­ural gas on their land in recent years. But some of these landown­ers — often in rural areas, and eager for quick pay­outs — are find­ing out too late what is, and what is not, in the fine print.

    Energy com­pany offi­cials say that stan­dard leases include lan­guage that pro­tects landown­ers. But a review of more than 111,000 leases, addenda and related doc­u­ments by The New York Times sug­gests otherwise:

    ¶ Fewer than half the leases require com­pa­nies to com­pen­sate landown­ers for water con­t­a­m­i­na­tion after drilling begins. And only about half the doc­u­ments have lan­guage that lawyers sug­gest should be included to require pay­ment for dam­ages to live­stock or crops.

    ¶ Most leases grant gas com­pa­nies broad rights to decide where they can cut down trees, store chem­i­cals, build roads and drill. Com­pa­nies are also per­mit­ted to oper­ate gen­er­a­tors and spot­lights through the night near homes dur­ing drilling.

    ¶ In the leases, drilling com­pa­nies rarely describe to landown­ers the poten­tial envi­ron­men­tal and other risks that fed­eral laws require them to dis­close in fil­ings to investors.

    ¶ Most leases are for three or five years, but at least two-thirds of those reviewed by The Times allow exten­sions with­out addi­tional approval from landown­ers. If landown­ers have sec­ond thoughts about drilling on their land or want to nego­ti­ate for more money, they may be out of luck.

    The leases — obtained through open records requests — are mostly from gas-rich areas in Texas, but also in Mary­land, New York, Ohio, Penn­syl­va­nia and West Virginia.

    In Penn­syl­va­nia, Col­orado and West Vir­ginia, some landown­ers have had to spend hun­dreds of dol­lars a month to buy bot­tled water or main­tain large tanks, known as water buf­faloes, for drink­ing water in their front yards. They said they learned only after the fact that the leases did not require gas com­pa­nies to pay for replace­ment drink­ing water if their wells were con­t­a­m­i­nated, and despite state reg­u­la­tions, not all costs were covered.


    Some leases, how­ever, also include lan­guage that comes back to haunt landowners.

    “I thought I knew what the sen­tence meant,” said Dave Bein­lich, describ­ing a sec­tion that said that “prepa­ra­tion” to drill was enough to allow Chief Oil and Gas to extend the dura­tion of his lease.

    In 2005, Mr. Bein­lich and his wife, Karen, signed a lease for $2 an acre per year for five years on 117 acres in Sul­li­van County in north-central Penn­syl­va­nia. They soon real­ized they had got­ten far less money than their neigh­bors, so they planned on nego­ti­at­ing a new lease when theirs expired in 2010.

    A day before their lease term ended, no well had been drilled on their land, but the gas com­pany parked a bull­dozer nearby and started to sur­vey an access road. A com­pany offi­cial informed them that by mov­ing equip­ment to the site, Chief Oil and Gas was prepar­ing to drill and was there­fore allowed to extend the lease indef­i­nitely.


    Another impor­tant lease term is the Pugh Clause, said Lance Astrella, a lease lawyer in Den­ver. It is named after Lawrence Pugh, a Louisiana lawyer who started adding it to leases in 1947 to ensure that they would not be extended indef­i­nitely with­out wells being drilled.

    Fewer than 20 per­cent of the more than 100,000 Texas leases reviewed by The Times include such a clause, and very few of the leases from Mary­land, New York, Ohio, Penn­syl­va­nia and West Vir­ginia include the lan­guage. While the leases col­lected by The Times rep­re­sent a small frac­tion of the more than 8 mil­lion oil and gas leases in the United States, experts said they illus­trated issues that landown­ers need to understand.

    Mr. Astrella said that leases also typ­i­cally lacked a clause requir­ing drillers to pay for a test of the property’s well water before drilling started, and landown­ers often do not think to do the tests them­selves. If drilling leads to prob­lems with drink­ing wells, landown­ers have few options if they want to prove that their water was fine before drilling started.


    Mr. Stark, the Cabot spokesman, said that his com­pany was not respon­si­ble for any water con­t­a­m­i­na­tion in the area and that Cabot’s stud­ies showed that the gas seep­age into the drink­ing water was occur­ring naturally.

    “All the test­ing we have been able to con­duct show the water meets fed­eral safe drink­ing water stan­dards,” Mr. Stark said.


    Hmmm...so the indus­try says there’s no prob­lem based on their stud­ies but the landown­ers appear to have poi­soned drink­ing water. It’s a good thing the EPA has stud­ied this issue before. It’s a bad thing they appar­ently for­got they stud­ied it already and found aban­doned wells to be prime cul­prit for group water con­t­a­m­i­na­tion. So it looks like the EPA might need to look into this again:

    EPA Study Prob­a­bly Won’t Prove That Frack­ing is Unsafe, Though It May Be

    by The Intersection

    This is a guest post by Jamie L. Ver­non, Ph.D., a research sci­en­tist and aspir­ing pol­icy wonk, who recently moved to D.C. to get a taste of the action

    Recently, EPA Admin­is­tra­tor Lisa Jack­son stated that there is no evi­dence that the “frack­ing” process has lead to con­t­a­m­i­na­tion of ground water. In response to a ques­tion from the U.S. House Over­sight Com­mit­tee, she said,

    “I’m not aware of any proven case where the frack­ing process itself has affected water, although there are inves­ti­ga­tions ongoing.”

    The term “frack­ing” refers to a process of extract­ing nat­ural gas from wells drilled deep below the Earth’s sur­face. The tech­nique is offi­cially known as hydraulic frac­tur­ing and involves pump­ing a water-based fluid into a well under high pres­sure so as to cause the for­ma­tion of cracks in deep rock lay­ers. The cracks and the chem­i­cal ingre­di­ents in the frac­ture fluid facil­i­tate more effi­cient extrac­tion of the nat­ural gas.

    Crit­ics of the process have made claims that hydraulic frac­tur­ing has con­t­a­m­i­nated aquifers and other water sources with ingre­di­ents from toxic frack­ing fluid in areas where nat­ural gas drilling is occur­ring. A doc­u­men­tary enti­tled “Gas Land” recently sen­sa­tion­al­ized the story by show­ing scenes in which drink­ing water had become flam­ma­ble. Here’s a famous scene from the movie: [video]

    The prob­lem with the crit­ics’ argu­ment is there is insuf­fi­cient evi­dence to prove that the con­t­a­m­i­nated water is indis­putably due to frack­ing. The process has been used for many years and has not been scru­ti­nized until recently. Despite the scrutiny, no one has car­ried out thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tions to deter­mine whether the process is likely to lead to water con­t­a­m­i­na­tion. Sure, there have been cases where it is sus­pected that the process has con­t­a­m­i­nated ground water. Indeed, I have blogged about it here at The Inter­sec­tion, but with no analy­sis of the ground water prior to drilling, one can­not be sure that the con­t­a­m­i­na­tion is directly caused by the frack­ing indus­try.

    Per­son­ally, even though the evi­dence is sparse and incon­clu­sive, I still believe the risks of con­t­a­m­i­na­tion are too high for us to con­tinue drilling for nat­ural gas with­out sig­nif­i­cant over­sight and reg­u­la­tion. A recent blowout in Brad­ford County, Penn­syl­va­nia has con­t­a­m­i­nated the imme­di­ate sur­round­ing areas and three pri­vate wells with chemical-laced water. I feel strongly that frack­ing is unsafe as it is cur­rently being car­ried out.

    For­tu­nately, the Obama admin­is­tra­tion has made it a pri­or­ity to take a look at the hydraulic frac­tur­ing indus­try. On Thurs­day, the EPA announcedthe seven nat­ural gas drilling sites where it will con­duct case stud­ies. The inves­ti­ga­tions will look at the impact of hydraulic frac­tur­ing on local drink­ing water.


    Here are my con­cerns about the EPA’s plan:

    First, there is lit­tle or no evi­dence that the toxic ingre­di­ents in frack­ing fluid have con­t­a­m­i­nated drink­ing water directly from the below-ground wells. Dan­ger­ous chem­i­cals like ben­zene and acry­lamide are known to be part of the frack­ing mix­ture, but leg­is­la­tion has pro­tected the indus­try under intel­lec­tual prop­erty rights from fully reveal­ing the con­tents. There­fore, inves­ti­ga­tors have been unable to do proper test­ing for all the chem­i­cals con­tained in the mix­ture. Regard­less, it seems that the frack­ing fluid and, in fact, the frack­ing process is not the problem.

    There are numer­ous phys­i­cal argu­ments against the pos­si­bil­ity that frack­ing fluid will find its way into drink­ing water dur­ing the hydraulic frac­tur­ing process. The pres­sures at those depths are so high it is unlikely the chem­i­cals will be able to flow upward into the aquifer. Also, the per­me­abil­ity of the shale is so low it seems unlikely the chem­i­cals will pen­e­trate the rock. Of course, there is the pos­si­bil­ity that the cracks cre­ated by the process could con­nect with nat­ural cracks in the rock for­ma­tions lead­ing to a direct con­nec­tion between the well and the aquifer, but this is sta­tis­ti­cally unlikely. My point is that if the EPA focuses on the frack­ing process alone it is unlikely that they will find a con­nec­tion between drilling and con­t­a­m­i­na­tion at the 7 selected sites.

    As described in the PNAS paper, the prob­lem of con­t­a­m­i­na­tion is most likely due to leaky gas-wells, not the hydraulic frac­tur­ing itself. The EPA inves­ti­ga­tors will need to look at the wells as well as the frack­ing process. How­ever, because the sites have been announced ahead of time, the drillers can take spe­cial pre­cau­tions to ensure high qual­ity wells are drilled and that the con­crete is poured prop­erly so as to avoid any leaks or spills. If so, inves­ti­ga­tors may not find any contamination.

    Sec­ond, there are mil­lions of nat­ural gas wells across the coun­try. Very few of them have been linked to any con­t­a­m­i­na­tion. Sta­tis­ti­cally, for the EPA to choose only 7 wells, I believe it is highly unlikely they will find a cor­re­la­tion between drilling and contamination.


    Oh dear, so the EPA may have designed the safety study to specif­i­cally not look at likely sources of water con­t­a­m­i­na­tion (cracked wells)? Well, at least one would hope there’s a mora­to­rium on new drilling while the study is com­pleted. And hope springs eter­nal:

    EPA says fears about frack­ing mora­to­rium unfounded

    By JENNY MICHAEL | Bis­marck Tri­bune | Posted: Tues­day, Novem­ber 29, 2011 11:00 pm

    The Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency said fears a mora­to­rium will be placed on hydraulic frac­tur­ing are unfounded.

    The agency is in the process of con­duct­ing a congressionally-ordered study of hydraulic frac­tur­ing, also known as “frack­ing.” Hydraulic frac­tur­ing is used to retrieve nat­ural gas and oil and is widely used in North Dakota’s oil fields. Pres­sur­ized flu­ids, which can include small amounts of diesel, are forced into frac­tures to extract the wanted substances.

    Sep­a­rately, the EPA plans to issue guide­lines for states such as North Dakota to issue per­mits for use of hydraulic frac­tur­ing involv­ing diesel. The EPA has author­ity under the fed­eral Safe Drink­ing Water Act to make sure hydraulic frac­tur­ing oper­a­tions do not pol­lute drink­ing waters when diesel fuels are used in the processes, the agency said.

    The guid­ance doc­u­ment is not intended to be a reg­u­la­tory doc­u­ment and would not itself require any state to change its reg­u­la­tions,” Jim Mar­tin, EPA’s regional admin­is­tra­tor in Den­ver. said in a state­ment to the Tri­bune. “In fact, it is based on exist­ing best prac­tices in use by the indus­try today.


    Cyn­thia Dougherty, EPA’s direc­tor of the Office of Ground Water and Drink­ing Water, said in the call that the agency is work­ing on a def­i­n­i­tion of diesel. Mar­tin, in his state­ment to the Tri­bune, said the EPA will pro­vide addi­tional oppor­tu­ni­ties for states, the pub­lic and other stake­hold­ers to com­ment on its draft guid­ance as soon as it is ready.

    “The Amer­i­can peo­ple do not have to choose between secur­ing an avail­able energy resource and pro­tect­ing its drink­ing water from pol­lu­tion,” his state­ment said. “They can have and deserve both.”

    Umm, so the EPA’s flawed study is merely a “guid­ance doc­u­ment” that will be based on exist­ing indus­try best prac­tices? My hope for some change in pol­icy isn’t feel­ing too springy right now. At least it sounds like we’ll have a new def­i­n­i­tion for diesel soon. That should be useful.

    Oh well, it’s still bet­ter than coal. At least it doesn’t pol­lute the air!

    Fracturing-Pollution Rule to Bur­den Gas Pro­duc­ers, API Says
    By Katarzyna Kli­masin­ska — Dec 1, 2011 4:02 PM CT

    Air-pollution lim­its pro­posed by the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency for U.S. oil and gas pro­duc­tion, includ­ing hydraulic frac­tur­ing, will be costly and waste time, the Amer­i­can Petro­leum Insti­tute said.

    The EPA’s plan to cut emis­sions of smog-forming volatile organic com­pounds by about a quar­ter, with an almost 95 per­cent reduc­tion from new and updated gas wells using frac­tur­ing, or frack­ing, will require too many tests and reports, said Howard Feld­man, API direc­tor of reg­u­la­tory and sci­en­tific affairs.

    “These require­ments will be overly bur­den­some,” Feld­man said today on a con­fer­ence call from Wash­ing­ton. “They will waste time and resources of the indus­try and the EPA.”

    Frack­ing is a tech­nique used by com­pa­nies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), Chesa­peake Energy Corp. and South­west­ern Energy Co. that injects chem­i­cals and water into rock for­ma­tions to free trapped gas. It has been tied to an increase in smog pol­lu­tion in rural areas such as west­ern Wyoming.

    The emis­sion lim­its, incor­po­rat­ing four air reg­u­la­tions issued on Oct. 28, will trig­ger too much mon­i­tor­ing, and per­for­mance test­ing, and might cause a short­age of equip­ment nec­es­sary to abide by the rules, accord­ing to the indus­try group.


    The choice is clear: clean air test­ing or clean air test­ing equip­ment short­ages. I think the *cough* proper *cough* approach is obvi­ous *cough *wheeze* *gasp*. Breath in, drink up and taste the free­dom Amer­ica! And that diesel taste? That’s the freedom.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 1, 2011, 11:28 pm
  6. Happy frackin’ New Years everyone!

    North­east Ohio rocked by 11th earth­quake linked to Youngstown injec­tion wells

    By Bob Down­ing
    Bea­con Jour­nal staff writer
    Pub­lished: Decem­ber 31, 2011 — 05:51 PM


    The 4.0-magnitude quake was cen­tered near Youngstown, reported the U.S. Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey and the Ohio Earth­quake Infor­ma­tion Center.

    The earth­quake at 3:05 p.m. was felt as far away as Michi­gan, Ontario, Penn­syl­va­nia and New York, reported Michael C. Hansen, state geol­o­gist and coor­di­na­tor of the Ohio Seis­mic Net­work, part of the Ohio Depart­ment of Nat­ural Resources’ Divi­sion of Geo­log­i­cal Survey.


    The quake was the 11th over the last eight months in Mahon­ing County, all within two miles of the injec­tion wells, he said. Saturday’s quake was the largest yet.

    A quake on Dec. 24 mea­sured 2.4.

    There is “lit­tle doubt” that the quake is linked to injec­tion wells that the state and the owner agreed on Fri­day to shut down, Hansen said.

    James Zehringer, direc­tor of the Ohio Depart­ment of Nat­ural Resources, announced the clos­ing of two injec­tion wells in Youngstown Town­ship owned by North­star Dis­posal Ser­vices LLC and oper­ated by D&L Energy Inc.

    The order to close came despite the fact that the state has been unable to prove that the wells, which are 9,000 feet deep, are the cause of the earthquakes.

    The wells were used to dis­pose of salty brine wastes from gas and oil drilling by pump­ing them under pres­sure into rock for­ma­tions deep underground.

    The wells are among 177 in Ohio. Drilling wastes from Ohio and Penn­syl­va­nia are being pumped in increas­ing vol­umes into the wells for per­ma­nent disposal.

    Geol­o­gists have long sus­pected that inject­ing liq­uids into under­ground rock for­ma­tions can trig­ger earth­quakes along fault lines. The liq­uids allow rocks to flow more eas­ily past each other.

    Earth­quakes have been linked to injec­tion wells in Arkansas, West Vir­ginia, Col­orado and Texas.

    The Ohio clos­ing order took effect at 5 p.m. Fri­day but there would still have been pres­sure inside the two wells that could have trig­gered the quake, Hansen said.

    The lat­est quake appears to have been located about two– thirds of a mile from the injec­tion wells and about 1.2 miles below ground, he said.

    This quake shows all the sim­i­lar­i­ties of the 10 pre­vi­ous Youngstown quakes in 2011, he said.

    Ohio also worked with sci­en­tists from Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity who had installed four seis­mo­graphs near the site.

    The first two Youngstown earth­quakes occurred on March 17 and mea­sured 2.1 and 2.6.

    The state became sus­pi­cious of the injec­tion wells after the ini­tial quakes, which are unusual events in the Youngstown area, he said.

    Earth­quakes smaller than 4.0 gen­er­ally do lit­tle dam­age. A 4.0-magnitude quake would release 40 times the energy of a 2.7 mag­ni­tude quake.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 31, 2011, 7:09 pm
  7. It looks like the New Years fes­tiv­i­ties are already kick­ing in...here’s the cor­rect link to the above article.:-)

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 31, 2011, 7:10 pm
  8. Oh well, I’m sure we’ll find other rea­sons to poi­son the ground water:

    Mar­cel­lus Gas Reserves Esti­mate Cut by 66% on More Drilling Infor­ma­tion
    By Chris­tine Buurma — Jan 23, 2012 11:04 AM CT

    The U.S. Energy Depart­ment cut its esti­mate for nat­ural gas reserves in the Mar­cel­lus shale for­ma­tion by 66 per­cent, cit­ing improved data on drilling and production.

    About 141 tril­lion cubic feet of gas can be recov­ered from the Mar­cel­lus shale using cur­rent tech­nol­ogy, down from the pre­vi­ous esti­mate of 410 tril­lion, the depart­ment said today in its Annual Energy Out­look. About 482 tril­lion cubic feet can be pro­duced from shale basins across the U.S., down 42 per­cent from 827 tril­lion in last year’s out­look.

    Drilling in the Mar­cel­lus accel­er­ated rapidly in 2010 and 2011, so that there is far more infor­ma­tion avail­able today than a year ago,” the depart­ment said. The esti­mates rep­re­sent unproved tech­ni­cally recov­er­able gas. The daily rate of Mar­cel­lus pro­duc­tion dou­bled dur­ing 2011.

    The esti­mated Mar­cel­lus reserves would meet U.S. gas demand for about six years, using 2010 con­sump­tion data, accord­ing to the Energy Depart­ment, down from 17 years in the pre­vi­ous out­look.

    The Mar­cel­lus Shale is a rock for­ma­tion stretch­ing across the U.S. North­east, includ­ing Penn­syl­va­nia and New York. Shale pro­duc­ers use a tech­nique known as hydraulic frac­tur­ing, which involves pump­ing water, sand and chem­i­cals under­ground to extract gas embed­ded in the rock.
    Geo­log­i­cal Data

    The U.S. Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey said in August that it would reduce its esti­mate of undis­cov­ered Mar­cel­lus Shale nat­ural gas by as much as 80 per­cent after an updated assess­ment by gov­ern­ment geologists.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 23, 2012, 3:20 pm
  9. Well, there’s a first for every­thing:

    Live Sci­ence
    Rare Earth­quake Warn­ing Issued for Okla­homa
    By Becky Oskin, Senior Writer | May 05, 2014 03:30pm ET

    Mile for mile, there are almost as many earth­quakes rat­tling Okla­homa as Cal­i­for­nia this year. This major increase in seis­mic shak­ing led to a rare earth­quake warn­ing today (May 5) from the U.S. Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey and the Okla­homa Geo­log­i­cal Survey.

    In a joint state­ment, the agen­cies said the risk of a dam­ag­ing earth­quake — one larger than mag­ni­tude 5.0 — has sig­nif­i­cantly increased in cen­tral Oklahoma.

    Geol­o­gists don’t know when or where the state’s next big earth­quake will strike, nor will they put a num­ber on the increased risk. “We haven’t seen this before in Okla­homa, so we had some con­cerns about putting a spe­cific num­ber on the chances of it,” Robert Williams, a research geo­physi­cist with the USGS Earth­quake Haz­ards Pro­gram in Golden, Col­orado, told Live Sci­ence. “But we know from other cases around the world that if you have an increas­ing num­ber of small earth­quakes, the chances of a larger one will go up.” [Watch 2500+ Okla­homa Earth­quakes Since 2012 (Video)]

    That’s why earth­quakes of mag­ni­tude 5 and larger are more fre­quent in states such as Cal­i­for­nia and Alaska, where thou­sands of smaller tem­blors hit every year.

    This is the first time the USGS has issued an earth­quake warn­ing for a state east of the Rock­ies, Williams said. Such seis­mic haz­ard assess­ments are more typ­i­cally issued for West­ern states fol­low­ing large quakes, to warn res­i­dents of the risk of dam­ag­ing after­shocks, he said.

    The geo­log­i­cal agen­cies took action after the rate of earth­quakes in Okla­homa out­paced that of even Cal­i­for­nia for the first few months of 2014. (Cal­i­for­nia regained the lead in April.) [The 10 Biggest Earth­quakes in His­tory]

    “The rate of earth­quakes increased dra­mat­i­cally in March and April,” Williams said. “That alerted us to exam­ine this fur­ther and put out this advi­sory statement.”

    While Oklahoma’s build­ings can with­stand light earth­quakes, the dam­age from a magnitude-5 tem­blor could be wide­spread. Oklahoma’s last major earth­quake was in Novem­ber 2011, when a magnitude-5.6 earth­quake cen­tered near Prague, Okla­homa, destroyed 14 homes and injured at least two people.

    “Build­ing own­ers and gov­ern­ment offi­cials should have a spe­cial con­cern for older, unre­in­forced brick struc­tures, which are vul­ner­a­ble to seri­ous dam­age dur­ing suf­fi­cient shak­ing,” Bill Leith, a USGS senior sci­ence adviser for earth­quakes and geo­logic haz­ards, said in the joint statement.

    While sci­en­tists haven’t ruled out nat­ural causes for the increase, many researchers sus­pect the deep injec­tion wells used for the dis­posal of frack­ing waste­water could be caus­ing the earth­quake activ­ity. Frack­ing, short for hydraulic frac­tur­ing, is a method of extract­ing oil and gas by crack­ing open under­ground rock.

    Ongo­ing stud­ies have found a link between Oklahoma’s high-volume waste­water injec­tion wells and regions with an uptick in earthquakes.


    Woohoo! The first earth­quake warn­ing east of the Rock­ies and we just might be able to thank frack­ing for that grand accom­plish­ment. What other fracking-facilitated accom­plish­ments are in store for us? We’ve seen a ‘first’. How about some ‘lasts’?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 8, 2014, 10:14 am
  10. Finally, a feel good frack­ing story that we can all cel­e­brate: sci­en­tists find that the earth­quakes caused by frack­ing don’t cause nearly as shak­ing as those cause by nat­ural earth­quakes. It appears to be due to the fact that the fracking-induced earth­quakes occur at much shal­lower depths than nat­ural earth­quakes, lim­it­ing the dis­tance that the shock­waves prop­a­gate. It wasn’t all good news, how­ever: the shal­low­ness also meas that you live close enough to the syn­thetic quake to feel it the energy can reach your homes and build­ings more eas­ily. So it’s really only good news for peo­ple that are liv­ing rel­a­tively far from a frack­ing site and don’t care about the struc­tural integrity of the homes and build­ings that aren’t so lucky. Maybe it’s more of a feel bad story:

    The Grid
    Did You Feel It? Frack­ing Earth­quakes Are Less Intense
    By Bebe Raupe Aug 20, 2014 2:39 PM CT

    Bloomberg BNA — Earth­quakes and tremors from hydraulic frac­tur­ing shake the ground less than nat­u­rally occur­ring earth­quakes of the same mag­ni­tude, there­fore caus­ing less dam­age, accord­ing to new U.S. Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey research.

    USGS seis­mol­o­gist Susan Hough ana­lyzed 11 induced earth­quakes in the cen­tral and east­ern United States from 2011–2013, eval­u­at­ing the ground tremors these events generated.

    Using a USGS data­base known as the “Did You Feel It?” sys­tem, Hough said the obser­va­tions of those who expe­ri­enced the quakes were “very straightforward—in every sin­gle case the inten­si­ties are low.”

    Hough’s study, pub­lished online Aug. 19 in the “Bul­letin of the Seis­mo­log­i­cal Soci­ety of Amer­ica,” con­cludes that the haz­ards of these quakes are lower than what might be expected, chiefly because induced events are 16 times weaker than nat­ural earth­quakes with the same magnitude.

    The earth­quakes asso­ci­ated with frack­ing also tend to lose energy about six miles from their epi­cen­ter, Hough said, pre­sum­ably because the fault is lubri­cated by the injected waste­water, mak­ing it eas­ier to slip.

    Earth­quakes have become a con­cern for states expe­ri­enc­ing hydraulic frac­tur­ing, or frack­ing, of their shale reserves, with some report­ing a sig­nif­i­cant increase in seis­mic activ­ity, pos­si­bly due to deep water injec­tion asso­ci­ated with this type of drilling

    Hough’s study looked at fracking-related quakes in Arkansas, Col­orado, Okla­homa, Ohio and Texas using data from the “Did You Feel It” ques­tion­naires com­pleted online by peo­ple who felt the earth­quakes and went to the USGS site to report them.

    She com­pared the induced quakes to 10 tec­tonic earth­quakes from 2002 to 2011. The nat­ural earth­quakes had mag­ni­tudes between 4.0 and 5.8; the mag­ni­tude of the induced earth­quakes was between 3.9 and 5.7.

    Sys­tem Pro­vides Shak­ing Inten­sity Characterization

    While instru­men­tal record­ings of injection-induced quakes are scant, the DYFI sys­tem pro­vides an “excel­lent char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of shak­ing inten­si­ties caused by induced earth­quakes,” Hough said.

    The way an induced quake felt was equiv­a­lent, on aver­age, to a nat­ural quake that was of a mag­ni­tude 0.8 or less, Hough said.


    Based upon the USGS scale, a drop in 0.8 mag­ni­tude trans­lates to about 16 times less strength or energy released, she said.

    Force of Energy Called Shallow

    Along with lower energy lev­els, Hough said the data sug­gest that the force of energy is shal­low, per­haps due to the pres­ence of frack­ing flu­ids, and the tremor’s force tends to dis­si­pate at around six miles from the quake’s epicenter.

    Hough’s results sug­gest that dam­age from injection-induced earth­quakes will be espe­cially con­cen­trated in the imme­di­ate epi­cen­tral region.

    Induced earth­quakes may have lower stress drops than nat­ural ones because the flu­ids injected into the ground lubri­cate geo­log­i­cal faults and allow them to slip more smoothly, Hough said.

    Well that was some good news. Or bad news. It depends on where you live. And accord­ing to some researchers, you may not need to live par­tic­u­larly close to a frack­ing site in order to feel an earth­quake. Why? Because the injected waste water appears to flow along fault lines, caus­ing earth­quakes as far as 22 miles away from the injec­tion site accord­ing to the research. And as we keep inject­ing more waste water into those fault line, that area of lubri­cated fault lines keeps grow­ing and grow­ing, along with the prob­a­bil­ity of trig­ger a major quake:

    stands to get strongerThink Progress
    Okla­homa Gets Hit With 20 Earth­quakes In One Day

    by Emily Atkin Posted on August 20, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Oklahoma’s Geol­ogy Sur­vey recorded an unprece­dented 20 small earth­quakes across the state on Tues­day, high­light­ing the dra­matic increase of seis­mic activ­ity that has occurred there as the con­tro­ver­sial process of hydraulic frac­tur­ing — oth­er­wise known as frack­ing — has spread across the state.

    Though 18 out of the 20 earth­quakes that occurred Tues­day were below Mag­ni­tude 3, ren­der­ing them mostly imper­cep­ti­ble, the largest one reg­is­tered as a 4.3 near Guthrie, a city of more than 10,000 res­i­dents. And while U.S. Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey sci­en­tists have said that Okla­homa is his­tor­i­cally known as “earth­quake coun­try,” they also warn that quakes have been steadily on the rise; from 1978 until 2008, the aver­age rate of earth­quakes reg­is­ter­ing a mag­ni­tude of 3.0 or more was only two per year.

    “No doc­u­mented cases of induced seis­mic­ity have ever come close to the cur­rent earth­quake rates or the area over which the earth­quakes are occur­ring,” the Okla­homa Geol­ogy Sur­vey said in a recent pre­sen­ta­tion address­ing the alarm­ing increase in quakes. By “induced seis­mic­ity,” the OGS is refer­ring to minor earth­quakes that are caused by human activ­ity, whether that be frack­ing, mass removal min­ing, reser­voir impound­ment, or geot­her­mal pro­duc­tion — any­thing that could dis­rupt exist­ing fault lines.

    One of the most researched human activ­i­ties that could be caus­ing the dra­matic increase in earth­quakes is frack­ing. The process that could be caus­ing the quakes is not the fuel extrac­tion itself, but a process called “waste­water injec­tion,” in which com­pa­nies take the left­over water used to frack nat­ural gas wells and inject it deep into the ground. Sci­en­tists increas­ingly believe that the large amount of water that is injected into the ground after a well is fracked can change the state of stress on exist­ing fault lines to the point of fail­ure, caus­ing earthquakes.

    Cor­nell Uni­ver­sity geo­physics pro­fes­sor Katie Ker­a­nen is the lat­est researcher to pro­duce a sci­en­tific study show­ing a prob­a­ble con­nec­tion between earth­quakes waste­water injec­tion, find­ing in July that the more than 2,500 small earth­quakes that have hit Okla­homa in the past five years can be linked to it. Keranen’s study ana­lyzed four pro­lific waste­water dis­posal wells in south­east Okla­homa City, which col­lec­tively inject approx­i­mately four mil­lion bar­rels of waste­water into the ground each month. The research showed that fluid from those wells was migrat­ing along fault lines for miles, and Keranen’s team deter­mined the migra­tion was likely respon­si­ble for earth­quakes occur­ring as far as 22 miles away.

    The link between earth­quakes and waste­water injec­tion from frack­ing is not defin­i­tive. As Jen­nifer Dlouhy in Fuel Fix notes, the research lacks nec­es­sary data on sub-surface pres­sure, which is rarely accessible.

    The OGS says that as it is now, the chances of a large, dam­ag­ing earth­quake hap­pen­ing in Okla­homa are small. How­ever, some sci­en­tists have warned that seis­mic activ­ity stands to get stronger and more dan­ger­ous as frack­ing increases.

    I think ulti­mately, as flu­ids prop­a­gate and cover a larger space, the like­li­hood that it could find a larger fault and gen­er­ate larger seis­mic events goes up,” West­ern Uni­ver­sity earth sci­ences pro­fes­sor Gail Atkin­son said at a Seis­mo­log­i­cal Soci­ety of Amer­ica con­fer­ence in May.


    Enjoy the fracking-related exports. And imports.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 23, 2014, 6:16 pm

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