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Nov-13-2013 14:18printcomments

Do We Need Water?
Halliburton's Elixir
And The Fracking Truth

I never saw a city boy yet who was worth a damn. - Ernest Hemingway

Drinking fracking water
Courtesy: ourbroomfield.org

(DAYTONA BEACH) - Ed. Note. - It's not generally known, but we maintain a hard-hitting investigative reporter (we call him a rapporteur for added class). Rap formerly distinguished himself when he was embedded as a mole in the famous RCMP Musical Ride, where he served undercover as shovel man. With this unique rear-view perspective, Rap produced a tour de force that narrowly missed winning him a Pulitzer Prize, disqualified only because the subject was of absolutely no interest to Americans and also because Rap is a dwarf.

Nevertheless, because of his experience north of the 49th Parallel, we dispatched Rap recently to do an exhaustive study on the controversial subjects of fracturing shale oil and gas and the related pipelines. This is Part I of his report.

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It was a warm day in Denver, just a little over two years ago, when a simple event took place that had enormous portents for the oil industry, which will be elaborated on later. Not realizing that he was a harbinger of a major movement to come, Dave Lesar, the CEO of Halliburton, the oil company made famous by a former CEO and somedel Vice-President of the United States, took a swig of fracking water during an oil industry convention, in defiance of industry critics and environmental alarmists. That is, the highball glass he brandished at the luncheon meeting looked pretty grubby, although one observer told Fox News that it appeared to have the same luminescent color and viscosity of Jim Beam White Label.

In any event, thus was launched a controversy that has raged throughout the industry and the North American public ever since.


Is the fracking process and the pipelines it rides out on the solution to our energy self-sufficiency, the economic future for our friendly Canadian neighbors, and the continued service to our nation by the likes of BP, Exxon and the aforementioned Halliburton? Or is it - as those lefty troublemakers maintain - a threat to our aquifers and the world's dwindling fresh water supply, not to mention being caustic, flammable and an explosive threat to the environment - as Al Gore might predict in his wildest daydreams?

According to industry analysts, 90 percent of all wells drilled in the U.S. are fracked. This from the Colorado Oil and Gas Association which sponsored the above-mentioned conference, the members of which were evidently impressed by Dave Lesar's surprising performance. Contrary to popular criticism by the unsophisticated public and the know-nothing media, the component of Halliburton's revolutionary fracking fluid accomplishes something much different, including killing bacteria and preventing corrosion.

Also, and perhaps more to the point, it doesn't taste that bad. Nor - as we will shortly demonstrate conclusively - is pure water either a right or a necessity in the modern technological world.

Halliburton lists their fracking fluid's ingredients as enzyme, exthoxylated sugar-based fatty acid ester, inorganic and organic acids, inorganic salt, maltodextrin, organic ester, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, polysaccharide polymer and sulfonated alcohol. Sounds yummy. And scientifically proven to be better for you than multi-vitamins.

In a word, Halliburton has pioneered with fracking fluids that are safer for the environment, and which may eventually make water obsolete.

Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” involves cutting-edge technology that basically consists of the injection of fluids into rock or shale formations, resulting in a breakdown of those formations, releasing trapped oil or gas into reservoirs from which they can be easily extracted. The implementation of the fracturing system has resulted in a huge increase - approaching 50% - in oil extraction, which has introduced a “golden age of gas” and a corresponding decline in prices because of expanded supply.

Increased domestic production has led industry analysts to speculate that the U.S. could become independent of all that wog oil from Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, which could cut our military budget in half. That's the good news. The catch is, both for domestic use and export, the necessary liquid natural gas pipelines, need to travel through a lot of country and so raise safety and environmental concerns, because man, this stuff is both like toxic and it burns easily. At least, that's what the critics say.


In addition, an even more important issue is that of water and air quality, both of which we've always assumed are necessary items to civilization. It's that simple fact that Halliburton and other innovators are calling into question.

Our investigative rapporteur has also focused on the pipeline issue, which is catching a lot of media attention in Canada, and in the middle-western States affected by shipping the stuff to our industrial centers, Texas and the Gulf. Rap has been particularly impressed by Northern Gateway Pipelines, laying a line from Edmonton through B.C. to Pacific ports.

A company dedicated to "giving something back" to the community and the environment, Northern Gateway is currently running an excellent ad campaign, mostly in Western Canadian media, depicting British Columbia's pristine forests, lakes and rivers, all of which have been none the worse for decades of clear-cut forestry, open pit mining, heavy coal extraction and heap leaching.

The pipe line will be even more beneficial, according to Northern Gateway. Under the slogan "making good things even better," their research scientists have established that, with the coated wrappings around the buried pipe, which are saturated with plant nutrients and fertilizer derivatives, the area surrounding the entire length of the pipeline will actually burst forth with more ebullient growth, to the consternation of the ignorant tree-hugging critics, spouting their usual line of environmental harm.

Northern Gateway, it's understood, engaged the same PR and advertising agency that produced those socko ads for British Petroleum in their superlative series extolling the Gulf of Mexico as "A Vacation Paradise," with the full support of the five (5) Republican State Governors that surround the Gulf, from Texas to Florida.

Needlessly, Rap rapports, the pipeline controversy in the States is mostly playing out at the State level. Uninformed environmental activists led by scapegraces such as Robert Redford and Bobby Kennedy, Jr., allege that the process has led to groundwater contamination resulting from the release of toxic chemicals found in some hydraulic fluids used in fracking operations. Other vocal environmental concerns include the greenhouse gas impact of air emissions resulting from the fracking process.


Critics complain that the potential exists to release methane gas, 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The fact is that already methane gas has proven to be quite manageable in the case of cow flatulence, which nobody takes seriously anymore, except for farmers in Kansas and maybe Nebraska who have to remain close to their cows during the milking process.

Incidentally, according to industry experts, surveys in Japan, ever since Fukushima, have proven that people who habitually wear face masks are 40% more resistant to all manner of diseases. As a result, in the area of the Central States, industry scientists are recommending that everybody wear Japanese-style masks, already popular among Chicago slaughter house workers and sewer employees.

With the Department of the Interior looking at alternatives and more regulation regarding air, surface water and groundwater discharges and the effects of rare pipeline leaks and explosions, the industry is rightfully concerned that Obama might ignore all the advice offered by carbon-related fuel advocates in Washington, selflessly lobbying in the public interest.

Central to the controversy has been the Keystone XL Pipeline, a huge humanitarian project designed not only to benefit the Canadian economy, but to bring a new era of prosperity to bummed-out farmers in the Midwest and starving former shrimp boat operators in the gulf of Mexico. This became a front-burner item during the recent debt ceiling debate, when the Republican Congress offered not to trash the American economy if Obama would get off his bully puppet and approve of the project. More recently, the President has compromised by offering a suggestion to halt the pipeline at Grand Forks, North Dakota and start it back up again at Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Hey, that's the kind of working together that has made America great.

Meanwhile, as mentioned earlier, Halliburton has not been resting on its laurels. Spurred on by Dave Lesar, the CEO who drank the fracking fluid in Denver, who was just recently released from hospital following an unexplained bout of severe dyspepsia, company scientists have come up with a new blend of appetizing orange-flavored fracking water.

I've tasted it and it's not that bad. Looks a little like pumpkin juice, but if adopted universally it could achieve mankind's age-old quest to make drinking water a thing of the past.

Footnote:

News item: Marion county, Kentucky. - The Sisters of Loretto Roman Catholic community south of Louisville, who normally content themselves with educating poor children, recently protested the construction of the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline, by singing during the presentation at a town hall meeting sponsored by a Tulsa oil company and a pipeline contractor based in Houston. The pipeline will carry pressurized natural gas liquids, which are flammable and have exploded in pipeline ruptures in the past. The nuns were told to be quiet.

During the intermission, after the nuns had left, still singing, those attending were served orange Halliburtonade.

In Part II of this Rapport, we'll indicate our support for the protest by opening with that classic joke "A nun walked into a bar."

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Bill Annett grew up a writing brat; his father, Ross Annett, at a time when Scott Fitzgerald and P.G. Wodehouse were regular contributors, wrote the longest series of short stories in the Saturday Evening Post's history, with the sole exception of the unsinkable Tugboat Annie.

At 18, Bill's first short story was included in the anthology “Canadian Short Stories.” Alarmed, his father enrolled Bill in law school in Manitoba to ensure his going straight. For a time, it worked, although Bill did an arabesque into an English major, followed, logically, by corporation finance, investment banking and business administration at NYU and the Wharton School. He added G.I. education in the Army's CID at Fort Dix, New Jersey during the Korean altercation.

He also contributed to The American Banker and Venture in New York, INC. in Boston, the International Mining Journal in London, Hong Kong Business, Financial Times and Financial Post in Toronto.

Bill has written six books, including a page-turner on mutual funds, a send-up on the securities industry, three corporate histories and a novel, the latter no doubt inspired by his current occupation in Daytona Beach as a law-abiding beach comber.

You can write to Bill Annett at this address: bilko23@gmail.com

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Christine November 14, 2013 4:34 pm (Pacific time)

Harvesting our nation's energy is a lot safer by fracking than almost any other method known at this time. We are a "human activity" mass of people, and we need energy to survive. Try living without it. Some 400 million years ago, much of the region between the western slopes of the Appalachians and the eastern slopes of the Rockies was covered by inland seas. In geologic time, sedimentary mud was compressed into thin layers of relatively impermeable shale rock, trapping decaying organic matter, which was gradually transformed into the multiple hydrocarbon compounds that humans burn for artificial light and heat. New horizontal drilling techniques and improved hydro-fracturing methodology, which in an older form has been around for 60 years, gives us access to previously unimagined amounts of natural gas and oil locked in shale rock formations. Most of the shale gas is thousands of feet below the surface, fully protected from shallow groundwater wells. Horizontal shafts may be driven miles into the shale, turning one degree at a time, as they move from vertical to horizontal. The shale is then perforated with small-spaced charges and fractured with high-pressure water containing sand grains and trace additives. The resulting fractures allow the collection of the trapped natural gas and oil. The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently forecast that by 2020 the United States will surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer, and Russia as the world’s largest natural gas producer, largely due to shale gas and oil. The huge benefits accruing to our manufacturing industries with the declining cost of energy, often giving us a three-to-one advantage in energy costs versus the countries from which we have long imported goods. The combination of rising American productivity and the new X-factor, the American energy advantage, offers huge opportunities. We can rebuild our middle classes, provide reasonable social safety nets and health care, shore up our sagging infrastructure, and get our national debt under control. That’s what economic growth can do. America’s new energy abundance provides a timely escape hatch for our ailing economy, if politicians will simply take the shackles off of affordable energy production.


Anonymous November 14, 2013 2:24 pm (Pacific time)

Bill, in the fullness of time, my guess is history will provide you an answer. Fortunately the Canadian voters have demonstrated, at this time twice, that the previous leadership ideology was harmful and needed expungement. I have noticed that more American engineering, and other specialized professionals, have been heading up there, so it's likely the well-documented "Yankee-know how" will get Canada on the right track to allow the "market" to set policy for many of the seemingly endless problems they have, not like some centralized government solution process, e.g., Obamacare, that we are experiencing under the current regime. BTW, McCain disgusts me. China is not too far away from developing some problems that their centralized government will be unable to deal with. They are simply about to fail, economically, so they will become very dangerous on the military front. Gen. Douglas MaCarthur's advice should have been followed by Truman. Fracking, pollution and number #4 at your local Chinese eatery will be the least of our problems.


Bill Annett November 14, 2013 1:20 pm (Pacific time)

Hey, great idea, Anon. Let me guess - I bet you voted for McCain, right? If he'd been elected President in '08 we would have invaded that nasty little Commie country a long time ago. Just one question - how do you square your diatribe about Canada's pinko history with the looney tune Conservative government rapidly selling out to China and fracking the whole Northern Hemisphere?


Anonymous November 14, 2013 10:33 am (Pacific time)

Pope Francis has already become a favorite of progressives with his fairly open-minded statements on homosexuality and birth control. But that adoration may go into overdrive, now that the Pope has adopted a new role as an environmental crusader, too. On Monday, the Pope was photographed with environmental activists holding T-shirts with anti-fracking slogans. From my perspective, as both a fresh and saltwater fisherman, it is far more important for Canada to get a handle on their out of control pollution that is adversely impacting America, where the writer of this article resides. I also assume he is not using the Canadian Healthcare system where many die waiting for simple operations, like removing the appendix. Back to pollution, the people in BC use their rivers and nearby Puget Sound, and other water bodies as their "septic system." Then our wonderful Columbia River is heavily contaminated by whatever they flush in that. Try drinking that right off the river bank. It seems that Canada, having been under far left leadership for so long never developed a national pollution-control methodology. Hopefully the current leadership is implementing a pollution control method now. Canada is the country that most adversely impacts us now, so time to deal with them on a military level if needed, and deport their far left loons who are spoiling our country with their presence.

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