Monday, January 20, 2014

Lou Allstadt: We need a statewide ban!

For those that missed the NYC and Oneonta presentations
on "Shale Gas Potential in New York", a highlight for me
was hearing Lou Allstadt, retired VP for Mobil Oil Corporation
clearly call for a statewide ban on fracking.

Here is a little 1 min viral video and and a graphic "meme".
Music: This Land is Your Land (W. Guthrie)

Please share these on social media!

The attached graphic "meme" is unbranded.
Feel free to add your your groups logo to the image.
(email me if you want a custom version for your group)

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

Monday, January 6, 2014

1/6/13: Williams Compressor Station, Windsor NY is (again) on Fire.

Another Fire at Williams Company's
Windsor NY Compressor Station

Facility has been Plagued with Problems

Source: Bill Huston
We've just learned that the Williams Company owned-operated compressor station on Patterson Rd. off Dunbar Road in West Windsor NY is on fire.

This marks the seventh time in 2 years of a major accident at a Williams facility.
  1. Dec 3, 2011: Marengo County Alabama compressor fire/explosion
  2. Mar 29, 2012: Lathrop/Springville PA (Susquehanna Co. PA) compressor fire/explosion
  3. July 23, 2012: Windsor Compressor, lightening strike caused blowdown exhaust to catch fire  
  4. May 14, 2013: Williams Central Station, Brooklyn PA (Susquehanna County), explosion /fire. 
  5. May 30, 2013: Branchburg NJ, compressor station fire/explosion, 13 injured. 
  6. Jun 24, 2013: Geismer, Louisiana, Olefins Plant, explosion/fire. 
  7. Jan 6, 2014: Windsor NY Compressor Station fire
WBNG-TV in Binghamton will have a report on the 11pm newscast.

Williams Company has several current projects in the region, including looping the Laser Pipeline
(which connects to the Dunbar Rd. facility) which will approximately double the gas takeaway capacity of gas from NE PA on to the Millennium Pipeline.
This facility has been plagued with problems. In addition to the previous fire,
the facility has had constant problems with noise and other issues.

Williams previously bought-out a nearby homeowner who had complaints about the facility.
WPX (a drilling and production spin-off of Williams Company) officials have mentioned in recent
investor calls that their present production in Susquehanna County is limited due to
problems bringing the Dunbar Road, Windsor facility on-line.

For more info on the safety record of the Williams Company, see this video, or the Sane Energy Project page.

Source: WBNG
Source: C.R.O.W.
Panorama, taken 1-7-13 afternoon after fire

Source: Unknown

The Business/Safety Record of the Williams Company
Operators of the Windsor Compressor Station

2003-4 FINED $20 million in federal investigation for allegedly reporting false data to manipulate the California natural gas market. Williams pays California $417 million to settle case. Source: Los Angeles Times, 12/18/04

2007 Williams pays $290 million to settle a class action lawsuit filed by its own shareholders in 2002 for allegedly hiding “the firm’s plummeting fiscal picture.” Source: Securities Class Action Clearinghouse, Stanford Law School.

2008 (Sept) Natural gas explosion in Appomattox, Virginia [Transco] Two homes destroyed, damage to about 100 other houses and multiple injuries. • The pipe split at just below the maximum allowable operating pressure. There was a deafening roar and shaking that many people believed was an airplane crash or earthquake. • A 32-foot section of a 30-inch diameter pipe tore loose and came out of the ground, blowing gas. • A nearby power line came loose, and struck the ground, causing the spark that ignited the fire. Property damage exceeds $3 million. Source: WSLS, NBC-TV affiliate in Roanoke.

2009 FINED $925,000 for failure to monitor corrosion, which caused the Virginia pipeline explosion in 2008. Source: see above.

2011 (June) Williams subsidiary FINED $23,000 by PHMSA for failure to conduct  its own annual inspections of compressor stations in Texas and Louisiana. Source: US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

2011 (Dec) A Williams/Transco pipeline ruptured with an explosion in southwestern Alabama; the blast could be heard 30 miles away. Flames shot nearly 100 feet in the air for more than an hour. Source: Demopolis Times

2012 (March) An explosion at the Lathrop compressor station in Susquehanna County, PA, blows a hole in roof, shaking homes as far as a half-mile away and drawing emergency responders from nearby counties. Source: Times Tribune, Scranton, March 30

2012 (March) Transco/Williams FINED $50,000 by PHMSA for failure to follow own internal policies to control corrosion in natural gas pipeline in NYC-- Staten Island. Source: Natural Gas Watch.

2012 (July) A compressor station operated by Williams Companies in Windsor, New York, was venting gas in a “routine procedure”—during a lightning storm!—when the vent was ignited by lightning, causing an explosion and huge fireball.

2013 (March) Williams natural gas plant leaks benzene, which causes cancer, in Parachute, Colorado, contaminating groundwater. In some places, benzene level is 36,000 times greater than the level considered safe for drinking. Source: Denver Post, March 28, 2013

2013 (March) Williams 24-inch gathering pipeline ruptures in Marshal County, West Virginia. Source: Reuters, March 22

2013 (May) Fire in Williams compressor station near Montrose, PA. Bulging walls indicate an explosion “may have occurred.” Source: Times Tribune, Scranton, May 16.

2013 (May) Fire in Williams compressor at Branchburg, NJ, sends two workers to hospital.

2013 (June) Explosion and fire kills 2 people, injures 114 people at Williams Geismar natural gas chemical plant in Louisiana. 31,000 pounds of toxic chemicals released.  Investigation reveals 3 years of noncompliance with federal Clean Air Act. Sources: New Orleans Times-Picayune, CNN

2013 (July) Benzene levels in surface water double again near the Williams gas plant in Parachute, Colorado. Levels in groundwater remain much higher than the limit. Williams blames a mechanical failure. “It released more than 10,000 gallons of hydrocarbon liquids from a valve on a pipeline…” according to a newspaper report. Source: Denver Post, July13.

2014 (Jan) Fire at Windsor, NY, compressor station, second in less than two years.

This is a partial list of spills, explosions, fires and business dealings of the Williams Co.
For a more extensive list, go to Google and use this search term:

Williams Safety and Compliance Record

Williams Co. is asking the NYS Public Service Commission for permission to double capacity at the Windsor compression station. Meanwhile, the facility has been violating the Town of Windsor noise ordinance since it began operating. After two fires at the site, should the facility be allowed to expand?

Was the Shenango, Mercer Co. PA garage explosion caused by gas drilling?

Was the Shenango, Mercer Co. PA garage explosion due to gas drilling?
Published news reports:

According to published reports, on Jan 4, 2014, Thomas R. Kobielus, 43, of 659 Bedford Road, West Middlesex Borough, Shenango Township, Mercer County PA, and a friend were working on their snowmobiles in Kobielus' garage.

Suddenly, the garage exploded, killing Kobielus due to flash burns.  Kobielus' friend and son were also injured experiencing severe flash burns.

Was the cause a gasoline explosion and fire?

It is extremely rare for gasoline to explode like this, due to its low vapor pressure. Gasoline is extremely stable, especially in these bitter cold temps.

Was it a natural gas leak from a local distribution line?

Possibly. An investigation is still under way. However, gas from local distribution lines is odorized with mercaptin, so someone would have likely smelled the characteristic smell of odorized gas. (Methane in its pure state is odorless).  

Was the explosion from a leak from a local gas well?
Possibly. Here is an inventory of the gas wells within 2 miles.
  • Hagash-1 well -- Permitted April 2002, in production from 2003-2008. No production in 2010. Operator D&L Energy cited by PA DEP in 2003 (rat hole not filled) and in 2013 for failure to plug an abandoned well.
  • Milly-1 -- conventional/vertical gas well. Operator: BOCOR Holdings. Spuded July 2007. Still in production. 
  • Farkas-unit-1 -- conventional/vertical gas well. Operator: Wilkes Energy. Spuded Dec 2005. Still in production.
  • Holzshu-1 -- conventional/vertical combined oil+gas well. Operator: D&L Energy. Spuded Sep 2007. Still in Production.
  • Radkowski-3,4,5,6,9,10,11,12. -- Unconventional/Horizontal gas* wells. (* Radkowski 3H is listed as combined oil+gas).  Operator Hilcorp Energy. Spuded Sept-Nov 2013. Active/in production. 
There is also a gas transmission line running through the area (blue line) operated by National Grid.

Industry date from several sources has revealed that gas well casing failures are a pervasive industry problem leading to methane migration. (See: Ingraffea, )

A recent report by the Kevin Begos of the Associated Press reports that methane migration is a problem in many areas where gas drilling is occurring. (See: )

Shenango Garage Explosion, Local gas drilling.
NOTE: the Radkowski spacing unit is estimated based on 5,000' laterals
and a typical NW - SE orientation.

Is Shale Gas Fracking 60 years old? or 5 years old?

In this blog, I present three statements, all from people who are industry reps, or in the case of Dr. Ingraffea, who worked for the O+G industry for many years as an engineer and expert in rock fracture mechanics. 

First, let's present the position most repeated in the media:

ReasonTV's science correspond Ron Bailey:
"Fracking has been around for 60 years."

If we look into the background and qualifications of Ron Bailey
according to Wikipedia, he is a "libertarian" science journalist, and author,
and editor. Oh, also spotted this in the Wikipedia entry:
The Greenpeace project, "" identifies the Reason Foundation, the CEI (where Bailey is an adjunct fellow) and the Cato Institute (where he is an adjunct scholar) as receiving funding from the U.S. Petroleum industry.
So Ron Baily is not an engineer, but he is funded by the big O+G.

OK, Got it.  Next up is Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, who helped invent the process:
"They've been fracking for 60 years... So what?
That's just one part of the process. What's really new here?
  • First well was drilled in the Barnett Shale in 1991.
  • Slick water: 1996
  • Multi stage slick water: 2002
  • Clustered well pads: 2007. 
How old is this technology? It's 5 YEARS OLD."


Woah! From 60 years old to 5 years old. That's a big difference.
In case you want more details, check out Dr. Ingraffea's complete presentation,
the keynote at Marcellus Shale Exposed.
 So who's right?

In case you doubt Dr. Ingraffea's presentation, here's another industry spokesman,
this one from Encana:
Mark Taylor, team lead for Encana (Horn River Development):
"We never knew how to get gas out of shale

until about 10 years ago".

So I don't know about you, but I'm going with the experts

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Farmers: Beware of the Shale-Gas Bubble!

"It won't be long, before I'm gonna need somebody to lien on."
 -- Aubrey McClendon sings Bill Withers


A farmer signs a lease with Chesapeake,
but not yet in a spacing unit.

He goes to refinance his property (wants to buy a new truck)
and he gets a BIG surprise!

AS YOU KNOW if you've been reading my blogs,
there is ZERO cash in shale-gas exploitation

(cf. Chip Northrup1, Deborah Rogers2, David Hughes3  ... see footnotes for links).

None of the majors are making any money.
All of the drilling is being financed by Wall-St credit lines
("funny money").

Here's one way they do it:

  1. SIGN Farmer Bob whose property is an outlier--
    not in a "sweet spot", but near enough.
  2. Convince CitiBank, Goldman Sachs, Barclays, or CapitolONE, etc
    to underwrite a $500M line of credit based
    on Farmer Bob's FUTURE O+G production,
  3. Take a lien on Farmer Bob's property without his knowledge.
  4. Drill a few wells with the cash, but mostly acquire a bunch of new leases.
  5. Repeat until the bubble bursts.
With a video: