About a month and two days ago I sat at a coffee house with a geologist working as an environmental consultant for local oil companies. While he has asked to remain anonymous, along with the names of his clients, he has been studying the field for the past 15 years and has been working for the oil industry for the past 3.5 to 4 years. The information which he presented was not hopeful, and rather unsettling.
To begin, his job consists of checking oil and gas turbines for emission levels prior to the EPA running their own checks. This allows for the companies to get on board and know what to expect from the EPA as far as regulations go. While this sounds good at first, this geologist believes that they only comply when in danger of being sued and after the checks are run, the emission levels are turned sky high again in order to produce as much oil as possible. Their goal is not only to produce enough for the US population energy needs, but create a surplus or at least 33% to sell to foreign countries like Central and South America.
The exact opposite of gaining our interdependence and saving for the future. And lobbyists are on board.
Not to mention a majority of our natural gas resources, which are being pulled up with the oil supply, are being burned off. Again, not saving for the future, as politicians promised. This is apparent all over North-Eastern Colorado with giant stacks flaring off everywhere you turn.
Why aren’t we saving the gas were supposed to be using? This geologist suggests it’s because there are no storage units, pipelines, or ability to treat the gas due to the lack of funding. Although the resources were burning off could be worth tons in the future as oil access is eliminated.
Currently, the regulations on oil are pathetic. When it comes to fracking fluids, even like the amazing new Clean Steam from Halliburton, the EPA does not require ingredient details from the companies.
The other issue is that these fluids are being pumped into the water supply without any testing over safety, and no filter system available either. And there wont be testing for sometime, as these chemicals are only about 5 years old, and through testing results need at least 10-20 years. Methods used in the Middle East never required fracking either, even if they did there wouldn’t be any EPA like overseers to the process.
The geologist interviewed also divulged some of his own experiences in Colorado.
One client of his was reported to have extremely high emission levels. When the geologist and his team went to investigate the reason, they were stunned to find a manufacturing error in the turbines the company was using. The turbines had not been equipped with catalyst converters which keep pollution under control. These turbines lacked converters for 4 months, and with four turbines turning out 1500 barrels of oil a day, that’s a lot of pollution.
When it comes to spills like the one faced in Windsor, lasting 30 hours, the companies might claim they’re cleaning up but if the fracking fluids are water soluble that’s another issue affecting our water.
In his opinion, even our attempts to transfer into green energy through solar and wind power are sketchy. The costs to keep these projects running add up to at least 300 million dollars and in order to keep them running, oil is involved. To build and transport equipment, oil is needed to power machinery to get us there.
But something needs to be done. In 50 years, the geologist predicts, oil supplies will have evaporated, but water will even be more valuable then energy if fracking is kept up. The Western side of the Mississippi is already too fragile to support our population, but with pollutions, we face a far scarier future.
He suggests we look toward salt water as an energy source. Though no one has mastered turning the salt into energy, it seems to be our only option unless we can pull a stunt seen in the movie Moon (2009), which would meaning pulling resources from other planets.
It’s a long road out of hell.
(Still working on uploading sound bites from the interview so that you can hear it from the man himself.)