Monday, October 25, 2010

It's not a bug, it's a feature

I joked in a comment here some time ago that we were lucky nobody had discovered a way to mine uranium via hydraulic fracturing...  but sometimes my subconscious is quite prescient.  From the Univ. of Buffalo today:  'Fracking' Mobilizes Uranium in Marcellus Shale, UB Research Finds.

I can see the PR now on it all..  "New energy source to be mined in Pennsylvania".

4 Comments:

Anonymous The Wiz said...

Looks like a misleading headline as the report states that uranium "could be mobilized" and the research was done in a lab. They don't document any uranium in any actual frac water, as near as I can tell from this report.

I do know that used frac water has low level radiation from barium and strontium. No doubt that frac water is hazardous and must be handled properly.

This past Sunday in the PG; In Brian O'Neill's "Portfolio" writings on the gas tax he states that Chesapeake Energy has stated that their break even point on Marcellus gas is $2.45/MCF. That's a lot lower than the $3.50 that was reported just eighteen months ago. Wonder how low it will be in the next eighteen months?

Also, Glenn Meakem was interviewing a guest from Range Resources on WPGB 104.7 that said Oklahoma has CNG stations throughout the state for people to run their cars on CNG. He said that right now CNG is less than a dollar/gallon equivalency to gasoline. And it burns cleaner.

Lets get going on the change over.

Monday, October 25, 2010 4:25:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

hmm.. it says the testing was in the lab from samples taken from the field. What do you want them to do, haul the spectroscope across the backroads of Pennsylvania?

looks like the price picked up a small bit today, but hit $3.25 intraday. Might get to that $2.42 at some point.

It is an interesting question how long it would take to build out a natural gas infrastructure that would induce the average auto driver to even consider a natural gas powered car.

Monday, October 25, 2010 4:46:00 PM  
Anonymous The Wiz said...

To find out, Bank and her colleagues at UB scanned the surfaces of Marcellus shale samples from Western New York and Pennsylvania.

They scanned shale rock samples in the lab and then reacted samples in the lab with surrogate drilling fluids, .

Seems it would have been easy to get samples of actual frac fluid from several well sites and test them for uranium. Then we would know for sure if it happens during actual fracing. And we would also know what concentrations there are and how to better deal with the problem.

But my major issue was with the headline which makes it sound like uranium is actually being brought to the surface in frac fluids. They didn't test used frac water to see if it really happens. But I can see headlines all over the state screaming "Uranium in frac fluids!"

There are two CNG station being built in the Pittsburgh area now. Hopefully, more will come online soon.

I know that Marcellus gas burns too hot to be used in home systems. I wonder how compatible it is in vehicular use or will it need to be processed first. If it needs processed first, that may have major ramifications on how rapidly any system wide change would occur.

Monday, October 25, 2010 6:38:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

I thought the idea for CNG was always to switch the large fleets and the like. In my own case even saving 50% on fuel (if you save that much after they tax it) would only save maybe $1,000/year/car. Which is to say that even leaving aside extra hassle, I am not going to pay much for a conversion and I will be perfectly happy to wait for others move first.

Monday, October 25, 2010 8:47:00 PM  

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