Why Bother With Fracking?

Professor Chris Rhodes
Fresh-lands Environmental
Actions, Reading U.K.
Email: cjrhodes@freshlan...
Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
HUMPHREYJONES GIANT
GUSHER, KOSSE,
TEXAS,AUGUST
18TH 1922

Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
Oil Production.
• 30 billion barrels of oil are produced each year
(84 million barrels per day).
• The major producers are...
Oil Samples (Different North Sea Fields).
(Norsk Teknisk Museum, Oslo, February 2009).

Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
Oil Remaining?
• Much of the oil left is high-sulphur (sour) and
heavy (e.g. from Venezuela), needing more
costly processi...
Oil is needed to fuel tractors and combine harvesters to
grow food, and then to transport it around the world.

Created 20...
The U.K. imports 40% of its food and, whether imported
or home-grown, it is transported around the country.
• U.K. Farms u...
Peak Oil.
• M.King Hubbert (Shell) in 1956 predicted
mathematically that the peak in U.S. oil
production would come 40 yea...
98 oil-producing countries; in red, those past
their peak in oil-production.

Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
Peak Oil = 2012; 10 mbd short of demand
by 2015; half of conv. oil gone by 2030.

Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
International Energy Agency (WEO-2012)
– projected “oil” supply, to 2035.

Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
We Need to Find Alternatives to Oil.
• We are running out of cheap, light and easily
procured oil, thus we need to find al...
HYDROGEN!
•Hailed as the perfect “green” fuel:
2H2 + O2 → 2H2O
•You mix hydrogen with oxygen (air) in a fuelcell, which pr...
What about renewable energy: Wind power?
• Wind-power, say? We would still need the
equivalent of 61 GW worth of generatin...
Hence the band would need to be 40,667/2,033 =
20 turbines deep = 25 km (15 miles) wide!!

Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
Shortage of Rare-earth elements (REEs):
Wind Turbines and Hybrid Cars?
• Each MW of wind-power needs 1 tonne of REE magnet...
Sugar Beet
Biofuels.
•Bioethanol: grow sugar beet and ferment
the sugar into ethanol (ca 5 tonnes/hectare)
•However, we would need 12...
Biodiesel:
• Rapeseed, gives one tonne of biodiesel/
hectare, but we need 40 million tonnes of
it (all vehicles converted ...
Biodiesel from algae.

Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
.

• This can be grown in tanks at a yield of over 100
tonnes per hectare. Hence just 4,000 km 2 would
suffice to produce ...
Integrated algae plant, power plant (CO2),
sewage/wastewater treatment (N/P) plant.

Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
Hydraulic Fracturing (“Fracking”).

Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
New roads constructed to transport heavy equipment; levelling the site;
structures for erosion control; excavation of pits...
Hydraulic Fracturing (The Process).

Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
.

• Large quantities of proppant, water and chemicals are
injected into rock under high pressure (up to15,000 psi).
• A s...
Fracking outside the U.S.
• Rocks are different, e.g. in Europe, from those in the U.S.
therefore, an equivalent shale gas...
New “finds” of oil. World supply?
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

U.S. “tight oil”:
24 billion barrels (Gb) (9 months)
Jubilee Field (Gha...
Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROEI).
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

Conventional crude oil (1930): 100
Conventional cru...
Can Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Save Us?
• In part, Yes! But not entirely... Best for smaller scale use.
• All these methods ...
It seems extremely unlikely that we can replace
oil in the enormous quantity that we use it now.
• If the problem can’t be...
Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
We will need to work closer to home…
No more cheap foreign holidays!

Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
When JFK was assassinated in
1963, there were fewer than
half as many humans on our
planet as there are today.
And today t...
“Peak population” – then die-off?

Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
A Happy Ending?
• Maybe. “Transition Towns” aim to achieve resilient, more
localised communities which avoid the worst pot...
Do Universities Fit-in With the Future Plan?
Black comedy: http://universityshambles.com
Nominated for Brit Writers' Award...
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Why bother with Fracking?

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Presented by Professor Chris Rhodes to Cafe Scientifique Isle of Wight on 20th January 2014.

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Why bother with Fracking?

  1. 1. Why Bother With Fracking? Professor Chris Rhodes Fresh-lands Environmental Actions, Reading U.K. Email: cjrhodes@freshlands.com www.fresh-lands.com Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  2. 2. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  3. 3. HUMPHREYJONES GIANT GUSHER, KOSSE, TEXAS,AUGUST 18TH 1922 Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  4. 4. Oil Production. • 30 billion barrels of oil are produced each year (84 million barrels per day). • The major producers are Saudi Arabia and Russia at around 10 million bpd each. • Oil comes as “light” or “heavy”; “sweet” or “sour”, in reference to its viscosity and sulphur content, respectively. • Light, sweet oil is best for petrol and easiest to refine, and there are large quantities in Saudi, Iraq and Iran. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  5. 5. Oil Samples (Different North Sea Fields). (Norsk Teknisk Museum, Oslo, February 2009). Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  6. 6. Oil Remaining? • Much of the oil left is high-sulphur (sour) and heavy (e.g. from Venezuela), needing more costly processing. Not all of it recoverable. • “Ultra-heavy” oil is not liquid but is bitumen. • “Oil Shale” is neither shale nor oil (poor EROEI). • Oil not only fuels transportation, but it is the raw “carbon” chemical feedstock for plastics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and most other modern materials. Computers, cell phones etc. • Without oil and natural gas (fertilizers) modern agriculture could not exist. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  7. 7. Oil is needed to fuel tractors and combine harvesters to grow food, and then to transport it around the world. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  8. 8. The U.K. imports 40% of its food and, whether imported or home-grown, it is transported around the country. • U.K. Farms use 800,000 tonnes of oil for tractors etc. • Transporting food within the U.K. uses 2.9 million tonnes of oil. 650,000 tonnes of that for car journeys to shops! • Importing food from abroad uses 2.1 million tonnes of oil. • Growing the food to be imported uses 580,000 tonnes of oil. • Grand total of 7 million tonnes of oil/year to feed Britain. • Food sector in total uses 17% of our total energy, in terms of farming, transport, packaging, refrigeration etc. • Total oil used in U.K. for transport is 60 million tonnes/ year. 13 million tonnes of that for aviation alone! Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  9. 9. Peak Oil. • M.King Hubbert (Shell) in 1956 predicted mathematically that the peak in U.S. oil production would come 40 years after the year of “peak discovery” (1930). • Proved spot-on for U.S. production, which peaked in 1970. Now the U.S. imports half of its oil. • World oil discovery peaked in 1965; thus we should be close to world “peak oil”. • In 1980 we began to use oil faster than we found it: 4 barrels for every new barrel discovered. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  10. 10. 98 oil-producing countries; in red, those past their peak in oil-production. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  11. 11. Peak Oil = 2012; 10 mbd short of demand by 2015; half of conv. oil gone by 2030. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  12. 12. International Energy Agency (WEO-2012) – projected “oil” supply, to 2035. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  13. 13. We Need to Find Alternatives to Oil. • We are running out of cheap, light and easily procured oil, thus we need to find alternative fuels, and carbon feedstocks for industry. • Burning oil also contributes 3 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere every year (30% of all carbon emitted by humans), which may cause catastrophic global climate change. • Obviously as oil runs-out we will emit far less carbon, but civilization will collapse without alternative means for fuel to run it! Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  14. 14. HYDROGEN! •Hailed as the perfect “green” fuel: 2H2 + O2 → 2H2O •You mix hydrogen with oxygen (air) in a fuelcell, which produces electricity to run a “greencar”.... pure water drips out of the exhaust pipe. ....But where does the hydrogen come from? •Most of the world’s hydrogen is made by “steam reforming” natural gas: CH4 + 2H2O → CO2 + 4H2 (“carbon issues”!). •Alternative is H2O electrolysis, but most of our electricity comes from coal and gas → 3x CO2. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  15. 15. What about renewable energy: Wind power? • Wind-power, say? We would still need the equivalent of 61 GW worth of generating power (= 61,000 MW). • If we used 5 MW wind-turbines X 0.3 (capacity factor), so each actually delivers 1.5 MW on average. Hence we would need 40,667 of them • The coast of the UK mainland is 2,500 km. If we placed the turbines at the recommended “10 rotor diameters” = 1.23 km apart, a single band around the coast would occupy 2,033 turbines. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  16. 16. Hence the band would need to be 40,667/2,033 = 20 turbines deep = 25 km (15 miles) wide!! Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  17. 17. Shortage of Rare-earth elements (REEs): Wind Turbines and Hybrid Cars? • Each MW of wind-power needs 1 tonne of REE magnet: contains 0.27 tonne neodymium [Nd2Fe14B]. • Requires 135,000 tonnes of new Nd. • Need 5 x REE production to meet existing targets for wind-powered electricity: still take 50 – 100 years, assuming manufacturing capacity and other energy O.K. • Toyota Prius (hybrid),1 kg Nd, (plus 10 kg La, battery). • 97% of REEs come from China. • Chinese now keeping REEs for their own renewables use. • U.K. won’t be able to meet E.U. carbon emission targets. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  18. 18. Sugar Beet
  19. 19. Biofuels. •Bioethanol: grow sugar beet and ferment the sugar into ethanol (ca 5 tonnes/hectare) •However, we would need 125,000 square kilometres of arable land to grow it, and U.K. has only 65,000 km2 available. •Hence can only produce 50% of fuel as ethanol, even if we stop growing food crops. •Biobutanol: about the same. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  20. 20. Biodiesel: • Rapeseed, gives one tonne of biodiesel/ hectare, but we need 40 million tonnes of it (all vehicles converted to diesel engines). • That would take 400,000 km2 of arable land and we have only 65,000km2. • If we only grow rapeseed for biodiesel, we can still only meet 17% (about one sixth) of our annual fuel requirement. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  21. 21. Biodiesel from algae. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  22. 22. . • This can be grown in tanks at a yield of over 100 tonnes per hectare. Hence just 4,000 km 2 would suffice to produce 40 million tonnes of biofuel, which is only 1.5% of the total UK land area. • No need to use crop-land, hence foodproduction is unaffected. • Grows well on saline water or wastewater, so no demand on freshwater, unlike biofuel crops. • Can be “fed” nutrients from agricultural run-off water and sewage water, avoiding the need for mineral inputs of N/P fertilizers and cleaning the water/effluent to prevent “algal-blooms”. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  23. 23. Integrated algae plant, power plant (CO2), sewage/wastewater treatment (N/P) plant. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  24. 24. Hydraulic Fracturing (“Fracking”). Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  25. 25. New roads constructed to transport heavy equipment; levelling the site; structures for erosion control; excavation of pits to contain drilling fluids and drill cuttings; racks to hold the drill pipe and casing strings. Heavy traffic on neighbouring roads, as the drill rig, bulldozers, storage units, Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes pump trucks, water trucks etc. are transported to and from the site.
  26. 26. Hydraulic Fracturing (The Process). Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  27. 27. . • Large quantities of proppant, water and chemicals are injected into rock under high pressure (up to15,000 psi). • A single well can produce several million gallons of wastewater, containing a toxic cocktail of chemicals, and radioactive elements etc. - exhumed from the shale. • Shale gas/oil wells deplete rapidly by ca 80% in 2 years. “Drill, Baby Drill”: estimated that over one million new shale gas wells will need to be drilled by 2035. Huge investment. • There are concerns that the process can contaminate groundwater/air, though there is much dispute... need rigorous scientific studies to tie events to fracking. • Impact on infrastructure (e.g. roads, water) $ > $ (gas/oil). • Claimed that the U.S. has enough gas for 100 years… actual conv. + shale “proved” reserves: 12 years worth. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  28. 28. Fracking outside the U.S. • Rocks are different, e.g. in Europe, from those in the U.S. therefore, an equivalent shale gas “miracle” is unlikely. • Even in the U.S. it is the “sweet spots” that have been drilled, and other plays are likely to be less good (production peak in 2017). Not a long-term prospect! • Shale gas: methane (80-90%), ethane+, N2, H2S, CO2. • Report by The Royal Society: H-F can be done safely, but: “operational best practices must be implemented and enforced through strong regulation.” • Europe is not MAMBA-land, unlike the U.S! • It is highly uncertain how much recoverable shale gas there will be: probably far less than claimed (reserves not resources). Certainly much less oil than gas.... • Fracking cannot Created 2014the Chris Rhodes conventional oil! match Prof loss of
  29. 29. New “finds” of oil. World supply? • • • • • • • • U.S. “tight oil”: 24 billion barrels (Gb) (9 months) Jubilee Field (Ghana): 1.8 Gb (22 days) Chicontepec Basin (Mexico): 10 Gb (122 days) Kashagan Field (Kazakhstan): 11 Gb (134 days) Supergiants (Iraq, S.W.): 45─100 Gb (<3.3 years) Santos and Compos (Brazil): 123 Gb (4.1 years) Tupi Field (Brazil): 8 Gb (97 days) Orinoco Belt (Venezuela): 297 Gb (10 years)... Strip-mining, huge environmental costs, EROEI = 3! •$$ to be made, but oil-production “gap” remains. All above are energy-intensive and expensive to produce from: “The age of cheap oil is over.” Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  30. 30. Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROEI). • • • • • • • • • • • • • Conventional crude oil (1930): 100 Conventional crude oil (2014): 10─20 Ultra-deepwater (Gulf of Mex.): 4─7 Tight oil (“shale oil”): 4─5 Shale oil: 1.5─4.0 Oil (“tar”) sands: 3 (after “upgrading”) Extra-heavy oil (Venezuela): 3─5 Natural gas to liquids: 3─10 GTL (IGCC + FT): 6.0 Corn ethanol: 0.8─1.3 Sugar cane ethanol: 5─8 Biodiesel: 1.3─3.2 Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes Algae: 0.7─4.1
  31. 31. Can Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Save Us? • In part, Yes! But not entirely... Best for smaller scale use. • All these methods produce electricity. • Electricity - Liquid-Fuel - Heating mix: roughly one third each of the total energy budget. • Therefore, even if all our electricity could be made from renewables, that still leaves an additional and equal amount of energy to be provided in the form of heat, and to replace liquid fuels, derived from oil, whose supply is declining at a rate of -3.4%/year, leaving us with just 38% of current crude oil production by 2030. • Transportation is a major issue: there won’t be 34 million electric cars any time soon! • Limits: REs, In, Cd, Te, Ga, Ge, “hitchhiker elements”. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  32. 32. It seems extremely unlikely that we can replace oil in the enormous quantity that we use it now. • If the problem can’t be solved from the supply side, it must be addressed by reducing demand. • The upshot is that transportation will be cut, maybe by 70% in 20 years, and that means a return to a “ localised” society from the “global village”. This is called “Transition”. • Local food production will be necessary (imports far more restricted, even within U.K.). Electrical “tram systems” may provide local transport – but so will the foot and the bicycle! Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  33. 33. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  34. 34. We will need to work closer to home… No more cheap foreign holidays! Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  35. 35. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  36. 36. Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  37. 37. When JFK was assassinated in 1963, there were fewer than half as many humans on our planet as there are today. And today there are...? 7 billion Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  38. 38. “Peak population” – then die-off? Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  39. 39. A Happy Ending? • Maybe. “Transition Towns” aim to achieve resilient, more localised communities which avoid the worst potential of peak oil and climate change. • Energy Descent Action Plan – lower energy lifestyles. • Local initiatives, local food sources, community actions. Sustainable jobs – growing food, practical skills. • Total re-think of how we live. Quite a challenge! “In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” ―Eric Hoffer, in “Reflections on the Human Condition.” Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes
  40. 40. Do Universities Fit-in With the Future Plan? Black comedy: http://universityshambles.com Nominated for Brit Writers' Awards Published Writer of the year. My “First Novel”! Created 2014 Prof Chris Rhodes

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