This is actually important

BP has started production at the Khazzan project in Oman, the largest of the new projects it has scheduled for this year, as the oil major attempts to export its US fracking experience around the world.

The $16bn gas project uses the same controversial drilling technique that has unleashed an energy revolution in the US. Fracking has been used to prepare around 200 wells that will tap gas three miles below the earth’s surface in extremely hard, dense rock.

Yeah, yeah, BP, engineering excellence etc.

And yes, I know, they’ve been fracking for oil in the UK for decades now.

However, there’s an important point about advances in extraction technology. Say that we’ve got a field or a well (Macondo? Sure, went wrong but….) in 5,000 feet of water and then deep under that. We work out how to drill and extract all the same. This does not then mean that we’ve got that extra oil from that one field or well. It means that we’ve, at least potentially, got all the oil that lies deep under the seabed in 5,000 feet of water.

Being able to frack gas in Pennsylvania does not just mean that the Henry Hub price goes down and the US chemicals industry booms. It means that we’ve the whole world to go explore again for gas deposits that can be fracked. Being able to process nickel laterites (something only worked out in the past couple of decades) does not mean that we’ve the nickel and cobalt output from Murrin Murrin. It means that all nickel laterites around the world are now potential sources of nickel and cobalt.

This is the bit about resource availability that the exhaustionists aren’t getting. Technical advance doesn’t just mean opening up the one deposit, it gives us a whole new world, another Earth, to go explore.

We can now hard rock frack three miles down? Great, so that’s the entire planet we can explore again for gas deposits in hard rock three miles down.

Or, as we might put it, technology creates new worlds for us.

12 thoughts on “This is actually important”

  1. As of a couple of year ago there had been three million fracking operations in the US alone, across forty or fifty years since the technique was developed. The number of groundwater contaminationcases proved by the EPA? None. Not a single one.

  2. “Or, as we might put it, technology creates new worlds for us.”

    Which is exactly what the fucking Marxian eco-freaks hate and why they very urgently need to be smashed and swept off the stage of history.

    Not infesting the schools so that young kids hardly get in the door before their ears are assailed with greenfreak “Saving the Earth” cockrot.

  3. @ Flatcap Army
    In the days before John Browne BP was the best in the world at finding and developing oilfields but had a reputation for “gold-plating” the developments. It’s only 22 years ago so there are probably a few (former youngsters) of its old engineering team left who will ask for an adequate budget, including provisions in time and money for unanticipated problems.

  4. I think the majority of enviro-doom predictions come from people who think that resource availability data already includes the various “new worlds” made available by advances in technology.
    Yeah, there are doubtless some who are in on the con, but I bet most of them simply naively trust the exhaustionists to know what they’re talking about and to communicate it faithfully.
    I say this, of course, because I used to think this before someone pointed out to me that it wasn’t so. And everyone in the world is exactly like me, right?

  5. FA,

    With three million US operations we expect that we will have some failures. At a minimum we should expect to have found minor contamination in a a non-zero percentage of sites inspected. If the EPA has indeed found zero I find that number very concerning.

    Is your argument that the EPA is failing to inspect enough, the inspections are not being done properly, or that something is being covered up?

  6. @Liberal Yank – no, more that there have been failures, but failures do not lead to groundwater contamination in the way that “Gasland” made out

  7. FA,

    Thank you for the clarification. Zero was an extraordinary claim. “Gasland” also made extraordinary claims. Neither extreme allows us to identify and fix fracking flaws.

  8. Four hundred years ago there was an energy crisis as we’d run out of trees to burn, and people were running around climaing the sky was about to fall. Then the deep mine pump was invented opening up a whole new world of coal deposits that previously were inaccessible.

  9. One hundred years ago there was a horse shit problem. Then we realized gasoline was good for something other then dumping in rivers.

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