Flare the Gas and The Fat Pipe

Water hoses For Fracking OperationSo take a look at the hoses in the photo. Big gage hoses. That’s enough water to blow your face off and then some. This is fracking. It’s also fracking in the desert. Take a look on the map in Flickr to see just where this fracking is happening: in what was once called the Mustang Desert. They’re pulling the water out of the Frio River. At a time when the Rio Grande Valley is in extreme drought (this is where all your grapefruit is grown, among other crops). My previous post, just down the road from this one, was about flaring natural gas. So within a few miles of each other you’ve got absolutely tremendous waste.

What’s even worse is some folk who own these big ranches that can prove they’ve taken an agricultural bath so to speak, can get their loans written off. 


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Sean Paul Kelley

Traveler of the (real) Silk Road, scholar and historian, photographer and writer - founder of The Agonist.

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  • The oil activity in South Texas has big bank/government enabler written all over it. Same in the Bakken shale.

    I have long decried the waste of flared natural gas. Not only is this a waste, but the practice also ensures large amounts of potentially recoverable oil will never be retrieved. The gas coming off of this oil is like the CO2 in a coke. In the case of oil, the pressure it creates forms the driving mechanism that moves oil from the formation to the well casing. Once released, you are left with “dead oil”.

    I suppose the sane thing to do would be for all of us to stop driving so much. Short of that, the gas could be reinjected into the formation, or used for something. If piping it elsewhere is not feasible, then run an engine on it and produce something with that energy.

    All a lesson in futility. Fracking shale is the only economically viable game in town (aside from deep water). When it’s done, unless collapse has come, we’ll start in on the Colorado bitumen….

    • I suppose the sane thing to do would be for all of us to stop driving so much.

      Yep. That would largely fix the petroleum supply crisis, and it would also largely fix the most hellish qualities of our cities– which are by a wide margin the most resource-efficient places for us to live at the moment.

      I just got back from riding my bike to the homebrew supply 11 miles away in freeway land. It’s a very feasible outing, but all the goddamn self-entitled drivers make it so unpleasant and harrowing that most folks just wouldn’t have the guts to do it on a bike.

      Those who lack the guts to live right will eventually learn to do it because they have no other choice– but by then they’ll have screwed things up much worse than necessary for all of us.

  • Ten Reasons High Oil Prices are a Problem

    And one quibble. The farm loans are loans for small businesses that support farms. I do think farmers qualify as well, but the article you provide does not say that.

    One thing for sure–most of those with farms and ranches sitting atop oil reserves are becoming instant millionaires and care not one whit about the consequences of oil activity.

    Another observation–the money comes in–and the money leaves. About the only benefit to local economies is increased tax revenue and low paying service related jobs for oil field workers passing through.

    These workers live in modern shanty towns–RV camps. As in past oil booms, they come, penniless, and someday, probably much sooner than most expect, they will go, still penniless.

  • Re the New Mexico vs Texas lawsuit: I say let them fight it out and a pox on both their houses.
    Colorado sold off most of its Rio Grande water rights decades ago, reputedly at fire-sale prices in under-the-table deals. There are dams on the upper Rio but one seldom has water and the other has seen water only once in my lifetime – cattle graze the bottom all summer. Yet downstream around Alamosa, the river overflows extensively every Spring and wastes the water.

    As noted in the article, the link between rivers and aquifiers is sometimes hard to pin down precisely, so whether NM pumping reduces the river flow to Texas is going to be had to prove. Suspect it will be a matter of opposing expert witnesses.

    Long term, the issue of who gets the water will be moot simply because there won’t be enough to satisfy anyone or do anyone much good. I’ve traveled the Rio Grande from it’s source well into Texas; once in the 1950s and once in the 1990s and I was stunned by the difference. Texas and New Mexico better get used to a diminished waterflow.

    Texas at least knows that and is casting covetous eyes on other Colorado water:

    More than 25 years ago, I was informed by the Texas Commissioner of the Rio Grande Compact that the people in the Lower Rio Grande Valley could produce 2 to 3 times the amount of crops produced in the San Luis Valley—with the same amount of water used in the valley. He further stated that he was going to spend the rest of his life “going after that water”. There is little doubt that the water resources of the San Luis Valley will continue to be sought by entities outside the valley — both within Colorado and elsewhere.

    Hydrogenology Of the San Luis Valley.

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