Comments by swimmer

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Posted on April 17 at 9:45 a.m.

How in the world does Das Williams know what is and what is not a conventional technique? He has no training in drilling engineering, well completion technology, fluid flow dynamics, or rock physics, and he has not one single day's experience in the technology he claims to be an expert on.

He seems to believe that, because a given technology is unfamiliar to him, it must be experimental. Another guy that mixes science with politics, in his case applying more weight to the latter than the former.

On Fracking Freak-Out Justified?

Posted on April 11 at 12:01 p.m.


Such a convenient philosophy! Somebody is making you pollute, so just go ahead and do it! Oh, the world is so easy to explain, isn't it? :) Bad guys make us good guys do bad stuff. Does that summarize it correctly? If there's a process or phenomenon you don't like…. the bad guys did it!

Pony, can you explain to me why, if the oil industry is forcing oil on us….
The renewable energy industry has grown by about 20% annually for over a decade.
Hybrid sales have grown from zero in 1999 to well over 3 million in 2013.
GDP per barrel consumed in the wealthy western nations is down by 50% since the early 1970's.
Tesla shares have increased 11-fold in the past 5 years.
Googling "renewable energy subsidies" will yield thousands of programs at all government levels in just about all countries.
The state and federal government gave me a tax incentive on the solar installation estimate I got recently, reducing my out of pocket expenses by 50%.
The state with the highest wind energy installation base is Texas.
Some countries, like Germany and Spain, and states like California, have set aggressive renewable energy targets.

And finally, if it's well known that the oil industry is doing this, why do major oil importing powers like China, Germany, Japan, and France allow this situation to occur? They're spending billions annually importing oil, which, according to you, is unnecessary. Or perhaps only you, pony, an anonymous writer reading an obscure American publication, know about this awful conspiracy.

Anyone who actually runs a business (and I assume you haven't) knows that trying to prevent a better mousetrap from reaching the market is a hopeless strategy. History shows that companies who cling to an obsolete technology fail, and companies who innovate succeed.

Tell me pony, if Exxon could develop and alternative technology that could give them a patent, and and increase their profits substantially by taking global energy market share from OPEC and Russia , why wouldn't they do it?

I suppose you also believe doctors are forcing cancer on us to increase revenues on treatment, and the mighty airlines have secretly suppressed light speed travel, and that all powerful shipping industry has prevented the rise of rail and air transportation (oops, I guess it didn't).

You have no expertise. You just believe stuff. So, not understanding much of anything about the topic you discuss here, it's easy for you to just say whatever you want. You have no information to constrain you.

But what the heck. Let's all stand in a circle, join hands, and sing in the sunset, declaring an end to fossil fuels by a week from next Tuesday. When that $30,000 all electric car hits the showroom next week, you'll ditch your car buy one, right?

On Enviro Group Kicks Off Fracking Ban Effort

Posted on April 11 at 11:48 a.m.


The reality is knowing the geology of the subsurface and the depth of the aquifer. It's knowing how to drill a well, how to set the casing, and how to set the cement. It's knowing whether the cement seal is adequate by sending sophisticated logging tools down the well, and by conducting sealed pressure tests. It's also knowing what fluids are in the subsurface already, how deep they are, and what fluids you're injecting. It's knowing what the brittleness of the host rock is, modeling the rock elastic properties using high resolution dipole sonic data, and recording the fracture propagation and measuring the fracture dimensions using microseismic techniques. And it's knowing how much of the fluid you inject and how much returns, and observing whether any escapes the borehole. Finally, it's about understanding all of the above variables and technical procedures, and, using historical data, quantifying the risk of contamination and understanding how to prevent and mitigate.

Fantasy is assuming you have something to contribute to the conversation. You don't. You have no expertise. You just believe stuff.

On Enviro Group Kicks Off Fracking Ban Effort

Posted on April 11 at 11:44 a.m.

This public frenzy over fracking has parallels with controversy over evolution and climate change. Each of these three topics is highly technical, yet most people have strong positions on them. If you randomly surveyed 1000 people and asked for their opinions on these topics, you should find no correlation to their political or ideological beliefs. The existence of evolution, the nature of climate change, or the risks of tracking, should have nothing to do with beliefs and everything to do with data and evidence.

Yet there is a strong correlation. Even though 97% of climate scientists agree that the climate is warming and that this has been induced by human activity, many on the right refuse to believe it.

The evidence for evolution is overwhelming and the scientific consensus is probably even higher, yet by one census I saw only about 60% of Americans believe that it's real. Most of these people are conservatives ideologically.

And so we come to fracking. Here, we have the left opposing fracking in a very strongly felt emotional way, even though, as with conservatives in the above cases, they know little about the subject. What does the scientific community say?

The first people I'd ask are hydrologists. These are professionals trained in geology, chemistry, biology, and the dynamic of fluid flow charged with protecting the nation's aquifers. They work for government agencies and environmental consulting firms. They are unaffiliated with the oil industry and have diametrically opposed interests. What do they say? The hydrologists' s professional society, the National Groundwater Association, has a position in paper on hydraulic fracturing. It states that it is not aware of any cases where tracking has damaged an aquifer. After 60 years and over 1 million wells.

Or read the report "Shale Gas Extraction in the UK: A Review of Hydraulic Fracturing" prepared by the UK Royal Academy of Engineering. This report reviewed fracture propagation in hundreds of wells in four major US areas of operations. Their conclusion was that cracked wells posed no more of a risk to aquifers than conventional wells.

Two heads of the EPA have said in testimony to Congress that they were not aware of any cases where fracking has damaged an aquifer.

Steven Chu, former head of the DOE, a Ph.D. physicist and Nobel Prize winner, is on record as saying that fracking could be done safely.

But most people want to hear what Yoko Ono has to say, or some artist, or some uninformed journalist. It's no wonder that 60% of Americans don't believe in evolution. We are not being taught how to think critically. We are being overly influenced by some sort of celebrity/media driven consensus and form opinions on ideological bases.

Forget about conservatism, liberalism, and ideology. Study the data. If you find cases where contamination has occurred, what are the circumstances? We don't ban the airline industry when a plane crashes, we seek to improve safety.

On Enviro Group Kicks Off Fracking Ban Effort

Posted on March 3 at 11:57 p.m.

Kessler is an artist. He has none of the technical education, experience, or expertise that would be required to determine what the impact of acidizing is, and what the risks are. Is it any more dangerous than delivering the gasoline he buys in tanker trucks, for example? What, quantitatively, is the risk that this acid will leak into the ocean? He doesn't know. He's not making conclusions based on evidence and experience, he just believes stuff. This is a textbook example of prejudice. People who would take their scientific and engineering advice from an artist are thinking with their glands.

The extent of Kessler's confusion can easily be seen in his inaccurate statements. He claims that acidizing is a new technology, that it's underdeveloped. It isn't: it has been around for decades. His lack of knowledge of the technique is not the same thing as it being "new" or "underdeveloped." I wonder if he sees the difference? Nor is acidizing similar to fracking. Acidizing does not "dissolve rocks", nor does it end up in the oceans. Kessler seems unaware that the rock that the acid is being injected into is already polluted: it's saturated by oil.

I suggest that before Kessler starts throwing people in jail, he first establishes exactly what the crime is. Where is the damage he can point to? By what physical mechanism would this acid escape from a wellbore into the ocean? SInce he has no expertise, he can't do that, and instead takes his guidance from his ideology.

The Independent damages its credibility when it publishes such buffoonish articles. What other scientifically illiterate purveyors of junk science will the paper give space to? Will we have columns by climate deniers? Flat earthers? Moon landing conspiracy theorists? Crop circle specialists? No. I suppose the only junk science we'll get to read is the politically correct variety, such as artists (!) who believe they can pontificate on well completion technologies and the dynamics of fluid flow in porous media.

On Acidizing Disgust and Fear

Posted on February 20 at 11:32 a.m.

Imagine a given minority group that was subjected to the same level of scrutiny as the oil industry, where their every action was the subject of a headline.

Imagine further a public that was overtly hostile to that group, and that this hostility was publicly acceptable and indeed even politically correct. Imagine that the public assumed this group to be guilty until proven innocent on every charge brought against it.

Imagine further a public and press that knew very little of the technical details behind the groups actions, and was content to go with assumptions based on emotion and not science or engineering realities.

This is the state of the oil industry in the US today.

Briana Mordick has 6 years experience as a petroleum industry geologist. As a relatively green geologist, Mordick would probably at best have had only a superficial appreciation of well completion and stimulation technologies, and no formal education or on the job training in these areas. It's almost certain that she never actually ran an acid or hydraulic fracture job herself, and that she would not know how to do so if asked. She has a vested interest in presenting alarmist scenarios as that increases her job security, confers recognition (what would happen to her career if she determined that the risks of these procedures were low?), and increases funding for the EDC. Yet she is presented as an unbiased industry expert by journalists who don't know any better.

On Questions Remain Over Offshore Acidizing

Posted on February 14 at 1:33 p.m.

One problem is cost.

The authors write on page 64 that "the overall construction cost for a WWS system might be on the order of $100 trillion worldwide, over 20 years, not including transmission."

Where's that capital going to come from, in a world many of whose countries are poor or currently awash in debt?

Another problem is timing.

Suppose we take your advice and start phasing out fossil fuels such that none will be produced any longer by 2030. This means that companies currently in that industry will stop investing in large long term projects now. It means that oil production will start to decline relatively quickly. If the timing works out perfectly, then that's great! But what if the authors are off by 10-20 years and the new technologies aren't developed and/or affordable until say 2050? We will have decades of fuel supply shortages and energy crises, due to underinvestment in fossil fuels that would ensue once the policy was in place. This situation would cripple the world's economies and probably hurt the poor more than anyone else. It would be a disaster.

I think the transition needs to be made responsibly, with an eye to the implications and possible unintended consequences of any enforced policy of global scale.

On Venoco Denies Acidizing Off Goleta Coast

Posted on August 2 at 2:52 p.m.

"here's about the only place we can concur: "The dumbing down of the US continues apace." Think about it."

DrDan, you have no expertise. I have a Master's degree in geology. I've thought about it, thank you very much for your advice though. Can you also give me advice on other topics you know nothing about? Your knowledge of geology, fluid flow in porous media, and well engineering are about the same as your knowledge of subatomic particles. Why should I listen to your views on either? Think about it, indeed. What hubris.

When you have a body of of knowledge without any evidence to support it, you have a belief, a religion. Not a conclusion.

On Fracking Report on Santa Barbara Channel

Posted on August 2 at 2:36 p.m.

"Yet you still keep this ridiculous proposition out there since you need it to make your weak case: [what] "would happen to the poor (and everyone else) if fossil fuels were shut off tomorrow." No one is suggesting that, get off that point."

This is not a point that I place any particular evidence on. In your original post you disregarded the benefits that oil has brought to the world. You claim that a major spill once every generation far outweighs the benefits.

Many people think that the only benefits oil provides comes only in the form of gasoline. They don't realize that oil permeates the modern world, providing benefits that enable such things as fertilizers; crop raising; food processing and delivery; power to extract and deliver raw materials used in construction; product assembly and delivery; transportation in all forms; feedstock for plastics, etc. Everyone uses all of these products directly and indirectly on a daily basis, but they want to criticize those who provide them the materials that make their lifestyles possible.

Why do they do this? I don't know. Perhaps you can explain it to me. I have heard lots of criticisms of the industry by people like yourself, but have never heard anyone back it up with rational, well thought out arguments backed by data. The thought process seems to go like this: "I don't like high gas prices... someone must be guilty.... I remember some big spills.... someone must be incompetent or causing them intentionally.... they make big profits in some years..... therefore I hate oil companies." It's a sort of nationally tolerated, even encouraged, prejudice.

The URL's are easy to find if you were really interested in learning.
Try googling "Royal Academy of Engineering hydraulic fracturing"

Here it is:

You could have also found the NGWA's position paper quite easily.

Here it is:

I normally don't supply URL's to people with ideologically based views on science, because I know they won't be read. These people are not interested in analyzing facts, data, or evidence, usually because they don't have the skills or inclination to do so. Maybe you're different.

If you're going to supply websites, make them objective and appropriate sites. Personally, I don't seek my medical news from Car and Driver Magazine, and wouldn't go to activist fringe sites, whose writers are strongly biased and have no requisite expertise, for information on geology and well engineering.

Most of the public gets their information on fracking from celebrities and activist groups that have no expertise, or from politicians who, aware of this and seeking votes, issue more of same. The dumbing down of the US continues apace. We take positions on technical issues like climate and tracking based on political persuasion. We ignore evidence.

On Fracking Report on Santa Barbara Channel

Posted on August 2 at 1:57 p.m.

"Wow, quoting a couple of hacks like Stephen Chu and Lisa Jackson on the "safety" of fracking? You're joking, right?"

Your ad hom attacks on Chu and Jackson are based on.....?
Interesting concept, to call a Nobel Prize winner a hack. I suspect, spiritwalker, that Dr. Chu understands the physical concepts relevant to fracking far better than you do.

Of course, you ignore the Royal Academy of Engineering's report and the NGWA position. The report is too complicated for you to read, and the NGWA conclusions violates your political persuasion. So why not ignore them... what else can you do, debate the issue on technical merits? You have on expertise to do that, so... ad hom attacks. Impressive!

On Fracking Report on Santa Barbara Channel

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