February 04, 2012

Shale gas - giant Ponzi scheme

The idea that the fracking-driven shale-based natural gas boom might be a giant Ponzi scheme surprises me not a bit. Having previously lived at the edge of the Barnett Shale in Dallas-Fort Worth, I have some degree of knowledge about exploration costs for shale gas, so I know it's often a marginal venture on dollars-and-cents right now, at least.

And, this is NOT the answer:
Federal and state lawmakers are considering drastically increasing subsidies for the natural gas business in the hope that it will provide low-cost energy for decades to come.
Yes, its cleaner, in terms of emissions, than coal. But, so are wind and solar, so let's give them more subsidies instead. They're cleaner than natural gas. And in the case of solar, at least, it's not that far from high population densities in the Desert Southwest and Texas.

And, there's the hypocrisy of hard-right Republicans in red states wanting to subsidize gas fracking in Wyoming and Texas, too.

And, that's not the only problem. Production estimates in many fields may have been overstated. That definitely appears true for the Barnett.

Then, there's the environmental issues. If most fields have a quick peak then quickly drop after that, there's a lot of "sunk" longer-term environmental costs for short-term gain, not even counting possible migration of fracking fluids.

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