Oil / Gas / Fracking

Recent shale oil discoveries make it appear that we won’t see peak oil for decades to come.  It’s turning out that oil reservoirs known as seeps tend to contain relatively small portions of oil compared to the source rock below them and a combination of horizontal drilling and hydrological fracturing (fracking) has given us the ability to access the source rock oil and gas.

I knew it was likely there would be more hydrocarbons to be found somewhere simply by the amount and thickness of the carbon dioxide atmosphere on Venus.  Venus is a planet similar to Earth in size, but with an atmosphere of almost pure carbon dioxide 99 times as dense as Earth’s.  That suggested a similar amount of carbon is present on our planet and since it’s not in the atmosphere, it must be stored in some other form, as buried hydrocarbons or carbonates, and the latter, at sufficient temperature, pressure, and in the presence of iron, tends to become hydrocarbons.

For those of you who want to keep driving your SUVs and Hummers around it’s great news, for the rest of us that want to breath, drink water that is uncontaminated, and not persevere constant low grade earth quakes, not so good.  Natural gas supplies will be abundant, unfortunately they’ll be laced with radon gas.  If you smoke and figure on dying of lung cancer anyway, no big deal, but for the rest of us, not good.

The supplies of hydrocarbons may be huge, but the supply of atmosphere hasn’t increased one bit.  It would appear now that we are destined to find out truly how resilient the planet is.  Will the ocean warm enough for methane hydrates to release their methane and cause a runaway effect or not?  How much will increased plant growth sink the extra carbon dioxide we’re putting into the atmosphere?  We don’t know, but looks like we’re going to find out.

Those of you who enjoy shell fish, better get used to doing without because as the quantities of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere continue to increased, so does the percentage dissolved in the ocean forming carbolic acid which dissolves the shells of shellfish.

This creates a situation globally where only by mutual consent of all nations will we have a chance to do anything about it.  We all share the same atmosphere, that means the negative consequences of burning these newly accessible hydrocarbons will affect us all.  But only the nations that do so will benefit economically.  So if Germany, a country that recently has been relatively ecologically conscious, chooses not to access shale deposits in their country, they still suffer from what the US, England, and other countries that do produce oil from shale contribute to the atmosphere.  All they gain is not benefiting economically.  If history is any guide, we’ll not come to any sort of global agreement.

It does devalue oil as a commodity to the point where maybe we will be ever so less likely to attack Iran for it’s oil, so there is one minor benefit.  I was really hoping we’d come to some state of sanity by necessity, switch to sustainable energy sources as a matter of survival.  Now that looks unlikely.

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