Monday, April 16, 2012

Observations From the Back Row

By Rich Kozlovich

The all time top ten hit list comes from U.S., Germany, Canada, U.K., Russia, France, Australia, Netherlands, India, and Slovenia.

For a long time Canada and the U.K. were 2nd and 3rd by a long margin. Germany is now second on the all time list. However, the latest monthly listing it a bit different. Russia is 2nd, followed by Germany the U.K., Slovenia, France, Canada, Bulgaria, Israel and Brazil.

At this point if the trend continues my second and third biggest reading public will be in Germany and Russia…or visa versa, on all charts. And the answer to your question is …I don’t know!

Art Horn: We Live in Nineteen Eighty Twelve

In 1949 George Orwell published his now legendary book 1984 (Editor’s Note: For those who never read this book please follow the link, which takes you to the online publication.) The book told a story about a world run by three super governments. Those governments had complete control over the lives of the people who lived in them. In the county of Oceania where the story takes place “The Party” was the absolute ruler and made all laws and wrote all “truth”. The Party would simply write whatever it wanted to about anything so as to keep control over everything. All private property had been confiscated. There were no privately run companies. All of the so called truth was published and broadcast from the “Ministry of Truth”. In reality whatever truth was really out there was never published or broadcast. In effect there was no real truth, only convenient truth. The truth could be changed from day to day even hour to hour depending on how the Party wanted the “truth” to serve them.

Waterless fracking is Alberta firm’s answer to environment issues
By Dave Cooper

GasFrac’s propane technology an environmental winner - A rapidly growing Alberta firm has cornered the market for waterless fracking just as environmental issues begin to dominate the discussion of fracturing deep rock to free vast supplies of natural gas and oil.  Using propane instead of water, GasFrac Energy Services is able to inject a jelled-propane mixture under pressure that contains sand and chemicals into deep vertical and horizontal wells to open up cracks in a formation. When the pressure is off and the flow reversed, the propane changes to a vapour and moves to the surface with the reservoir’s natural gas or oil. At a separation facility, the propane can be removed and reused. Originally designed to improve the performance of low-pressure wells, the waterless process has become a winner in the environmental area.

“That has been the real surprise for us, an extra advantage,” said Doug McMillan, vice-president of GasFrac, which was one of several energy firms participating in NAIT’s Industry Day for its petroleum engineering technology students on Thursday.  “In areas of drought-stricken Texas, water is impounded and sold for traditional fracking,” said McMillan. “And in the eastern U.S., there are concerns about water disposal and population density, but we can work there and are even going to be in New York (which does not allow traditional fracking).”


Drilling method ignites environmental challenge
By Brian Nearing

Coalition opposes fracking technique that uses propane to extract natural gas - A coalition of environmental groups on Friday challenged state Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens over a new technique to extract underground natural gas using propane, rather than water. Amid reports that landowners in the state's Southern Tier have reached an agreement to allow a drilling company to use propane fracking, DEC has said it now could accept and review drilling permits, even as it continues to review its proposed guidelines for water-based hydrofracking. Propane fracking is a new technique that has had limited use in the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Alberta and in a smaller number of test wells in states that include Texas, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Its developer, Calary-based GasFrac, is seeking a U.S. patent. More than a dozen environmental groups that oppose hydrofracking sent a letter to Martens urging him not to approve the alternative technique without adequate environmental review.

Clouds on Solar’s Horizon
By Diane Cardwell

Late Wednesday night, BrightSource Energy, a start-up formed to build solar thermal power plants, was forced to make a humbling admission: Despite a year of hopes and efforts, it could not find the market it wanted for its stock. The company canceled its initial public offering of shares just hours before trading was to begin. Not too long ago, the prospects for BrightSource seemed so limitless that the company incorporated the word into its logo. It had raised tens of millions of dollars from leading venture capitalists, struck partnerships with corporations like Google, Siemens and NRG Energy and secured a coveted $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee for its signature Ivanpah plant in the California desert. Supported by state policy that encouraged utilities to buy lots of solar power, BrightSource had also signed long-term deals to sell much of its planned electricity output to two large utilities.

Then prices plunged for power generated by competing energy sources like natural gas and traditional photovoltaic solar panels. Government subsidies dried up. And investors who once clamored to get a piece of any clean-energy company started shunning all of them.

My Take - For the record; all this green clatrap is going down the tubes; solar, wind, biofuels....all of it! I would like to point out to the greenie faithful out there; this was predicted years ago by those on my side of the argument. Get over it! RK


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