So frack already

Here’s the deal. We’ve said for like a hundred years and then some that G-d had a sense of humour when he gave the only tiny chunk of land in the Middle East to the Chosen People for their country that was devoid of any kind of natural resources. It didn’t seem like he chose too well for his chosen folks. Now, however, it turns out that we not only have the largest natural gas deposit, like ever found, on our coast but that our high and dry desert land is sitting atop the greatest shale oil resource practically on the planet. According to everything I’ve read, the amount of oil we are sitting on is more than Saudi Arabia has pumped or can pump before their wells run dry. We just can’t get at it with traditional oil wells but have to harvest it with a process called fracking.

Fox, Real Clear Politics, the NY Post and the Wall Street Journal have all run stories this week on our amazing shale oil deposit, fracking potential, and the idea that world-wide anti-Semitism is about to turn to dust over lust for our hidden oil. Dream on, folks. I’d say that they might fawn at our feet while grinding their teeth and feeling even more resentment below the surface. On the other hand, they may double-down on trying to make sure that we will lose our lands so that someone, anyone, other than us sits atop it, even if it means they don’t get any (because, hello, look at the neighbours who want to wipe up out and how well they manage their own countries/territories).

I don’t give a frack either way. If we do get fracking then if they fawn, well that will be nice for the couple hundred years it would last because at least we might even get treated equally to other nations for awhile; If they double down on the other option, well we’ve actually got a military that is the best in the world to make sure that is foiled. We should get fracking because folks here could use the economic uplift and, even more importantly, we can use the economic infusion to further research into the technological resources that will keep us afloat after the oil and gas are gone.

We’ve just signed a couple of important deals with Canada on fracking and we’ve just signed on the bottom line on a deal with Russia regarding sale of our natural gas. Ordinarily, at least in my lifetime, the U.S. would have been right in there ahead of everyone else and given preferential treatment but is now nowhere to be found — they didn’t even belly up to the bar. You might write that down as part of U.S. policy to stop new, and a large number of existing, traditional oil extraction domestic ventures, the x-naying of the Keystone pipeline, etc., but it doesn’t hold up well when you consider the government (tax-payer funded) investments in oil extraction south of the border in the last few years, with investments that don’t even give anything back to the U.S. What the frack?

Get fracking, already, I say.

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9 responses to “So frack already”

  1. tddpirate says :

    Fracking has been linked to earthquakes.
    Fracking has potentially adverse environmental impact.
    We should invest in renewable energy sources. Gas, shale oil and the like should be left in the soil for use only in emergencies.

    By the way, several years ago I read that Israel is surprisinly rich in minerals which have commercial value. Not the sexy ones like gold or iron. The commercially valuable minerals are mundane stuff like phosphates and the various minerals used for making cement and for building homes. Not to mention the Dead Sea, which is a treasure trove of bromine, magnesium, etc.

    • Lynne says :

      I have two close friends who are petroleum engineers and they say that ALL methods for extracting minerals, oil, shale,etc. have their dangers and some degree of negative consequences. All of them, traditional methods and all methods. But the reality is that there is still energy dependency and wind power and water power, and others all have their problems as well.
      It is a dilemma, isn’t it?
      I’m going to ask them specifically about fracking and I will let you all know what they say….

    • israeliminx says :

      I’m all for harvesting our incredible sun power here and even our kinda sorta variable wind power, especially since we don’t have a lot of birds — in the U.S. and Europe more birds are killed because of the wind turbine farms than all the wildlife combined for all the other ‘bad’ (e.g., traditional) sources of energy., including the fish that are killed with occasional oil spills, on a year-to-year basis.

      Fracking does have some environmental negatives as does ALL (including solar) collecting of energy resources.

      I was sad to see, btw, that Better Place is about to declare bankruptcy. I wrote a lot of posts promoting them. They provide the most advanced in the world electric cars and had a battery-change-out network and re-charging network better than any others offered. Unfortunately, they still can’t compete with an old clunker.

    • tddpirate says :

      Israel does have a lot of birds passing through it, due to the seasonal pattern of migration of birds between Europe and Africa. Including, for example, the storks.

      I believe that Better Place failed not due to competition but due to bad business model and mismanagement. They supported only one car model. There was no option to lease cars from them – silly as one leases batteries from them anyway. They also tried to corner the market on electric car charging services, so people here did not have an alternative way to acquire electric cars if they preferred a different car model even if they compromise on the battery exchange feature.

      • israeliminx says :

        Pirate — our wind farms shut down by law during the major migratory periods to protect the birds. In the U.S. that would mean the wind farms were shut down completely because they not only have migratory patterns to deal with but huge amounts of local birds that don’t migrate but do die in the turbines in large numbers. I was reading recently that an oil company was fined in excess of a million dollars because 8 birds died at their plant but a wind farm located not too far away had a bird death waiver (no fines imposed) despite more than 30,000 of the same birds having bitten the dust in their turbines in the same year.

  2. Shoshanna says :

    Yael, I have not posted in a long time. I haven’t been gone, though, just quiet.

    I am moved to post now because of the potential environmental dangers of fracking. It uses enormous quantities of water and has been known to poison aquifers. It is very controversial in the US, and there are many well-informed fracking opponents in my rural area. Given Israel’s fragile, water-challenged environment, fracking could be a serious mistake.

    • israeliminx says :

      Shoshanna yay glad to see you!!! We are in better shape for fracking than many places because of the technology for extracting it that has been developed here and will hopefully be bought by other countries that want to frack — it doesn’t require the use of enormous amounts of water (that we don’t have) and it doesn’t harm the environment. You can see a video about it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FvCR04fUlGo

      The mining takes place ‘in situ’ (meaning no mining in the traditional sense) and using only the water that is naturally in the organic material that makes oil when heated (and that water is then extracted and can be used as well as the oil — the separation process produces clean water!). The aquifer lying far below is never in any danger of contamination or harm. It is really a very elegant procedure. Check out the vid!

    • Lynne says :

      Shoshanna, definitely the way that we do fracking here in the US has caused problems, both immediate and apparently long-term. Fracking in the US has been linked to earthquakes, too, as Pirate points out.
      I’m going to check out the video that Yaeli links to and forward it to the two petro engineers that I know (they worry about oil and mineral extraction) and get their ideas, too. Most of all, I want to see the video and see what I think.

  3. Lynne says :

    I watched the video, and this definitely seems an improvement over any extraction method I know of. I remember when I was a child and I’d accompany my father to the oil fields as well as to many of the individual wells sprinkled around Louisiana and Arkansas at that time. It was a common sight to see oil all over the place—on the ground, standing in pools, in trees and on bushes. That certainly could not have been good for the environment. Later, many of those oil fields closed, because they lacked the technology to get the oil that was there out once it was depleted beyond a certain level. Perhaps ten years after their closure, water technology was used to extract more of it—and again, that was probably messy and not so environmentally sound. This new method proposed by the Israelis seems better by far. ( I hope that it is!) Anytime that any substance is taken out of the earth, it’s bound to make changes in the structure of the land above it, so whether that leads to earthquakes, or sinkholes, or other issues, remains to be seen.

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