The following is a chapter from my book not yet available. It discusses fighting the oil and gas industry in trying to stop the future rush to ever
more offshore extraction of methane hydrates. Though Japan is the only country that claims to be now in the process of extracting MH for commercial
operations, extraction has most likely been going on for sometime in the Gulf of Mexico, and possibly other sites around the world. The O&G industry
knows that tight gas (shale etc) produced through fracking is not going to last much longer, and the offshore extraction of MH holds unlimited
prospects as well as the potential straw that will break the camels back. ON EDIT: Sorry about the formatting, I keep forgetting ATS changes it
Methane Hydrates and Whole Earth Collapse
The story of methane hydrates is an incredible story, and for me the most fascinating story of all. It is also the most important story
of our times. Gas locked up in ice under intense pressure with the potential to wipe out life as we know it. Methane is the one thing on
earth that can, (and probably will someday) kill all life on this planet. Methane is the hidden dragon, the monster in
disguise, and we had better start taking it serious or we'll be saying too late that it's getting too late.
This is what we know. Everything that our government and industry is saying about methane is a lie. It is a lie that methane is
23 times more powerful than CO2. In truth it's at least 100 times more powerful, and probably much more. It is
also a lie to call it a bridge to renewables, and the biggest lie of all, that it is clean fuel and better for the environment than oil or
coal. All of this is nothing more than industry doublespeak, the same type of illogic reasoning that they've used for years to confuse
people and get toxic projects past review. They're playing a numbers game like a con man plays a shell game.
Once we get past the lies and the propaganda that was formulated in corporate think tanks to prepare the world for calling methane the fuel of the
future, the dangers that lay ahead become obvious.
When they use the figure 23 times more powerful than CO2, they are speaking about it's degraded state, or non-existent
state, 100 years from now. Methane only lasts 10 to 15 years in the atmosphere before degrading into CO2
and water vapor. It's true that the CO2 and water vapor left after methane degrades are also greenhouse gases (GHG),
and their effect will be felt for many years, but talking about it's potency long after it's degraded, especially when one considers
that we may only have 10 years left to turn things around before we go off the edge, isn't important.
I have never seen a figure given for the 1 and 5 year periods. The closest scientific data I've seen is for
10 years after release at which time it is over 100 times more powerful than CO2. If you extend the graph line back to day
one it increases substantially, over 200 times when first released into the atmosphere. But it doesn't really matter the exact
figure, as all we need to know in this mad dash towards extinction is that methane is far worse than CO2, and being released all over the
planet in ways not recorded.
Calling it a clean fuel that's better for the environment and can be seen as a bridge to renewables is another world class con job.
First, as Obama's lust for fracking has shown, they have no intention of slowing down the extraction of methane, and in fact are
retooling the entire transportation fleet and infrastructure used by both the military and government to run on natural gas, and encouraging
other countries to do the same.
Second, when methane is burnt it produces slightly less CO2 than oil, and half that of coal. But it's not the burning
stage that produces the greatest harm. It's the methane that is released beforehand, while still in gas form, and over 100
times more powerful than CO2.
Unlike oil or coal, methane is a gas that is constantly escaping during extraction, transportation and storage stages in amounts that
stagger the mind. From the second oil or gas drilling reaches a certain depth methane is being released into the atmosphere. If they hit a
pocket of gas under pressure, they get what's called a kick, a gas surge that releases a large amount of methane. If the kick gets
out of control and a blowout occurs, the amounts of methane released can be off the charts.
After drilling and fracking, if only oil is being sought, the gas that comes up is usually flared off. These flares run
continuously, and reduce the amount of methane escaping, but all gas isn't ignited, and estimates vary over a wide range as to how
much methane enters the atmosphere from the well and unburnt flare gas.
If the well is for natural gas, the gas is usually stored and then transported via pipeline. During this stage the methane is
constantly leaking out and in most cases it's cheaper to let the leaks continue than to fix them. Since methane is invisible and odorless,
no one knew the difference until recent years when specialized equipment, an FLIR camera that could capture a visible gas cloud, became
available. There are now hundreds of videos on the net that show gas clouds pouring out from storage facilities, compressor stations,
pipelines etc. Fugitive emissions that have been poisoning the atmosphere for years, while government regulators kept us in the dark
while refusing to admit the full extent of the problem.
Climate scientists have been pointing out for sometime the importance of quantifying the amount of leakage from fugitive emissions before declaring
natural gas a bridge fuel. Now they are waving huge red flags, screaming for us to pay attention, trying to make us aware that we
are doing the worst thing possible by switching to methane.
The reason for their anxiety is because research has shown that even small leakage rates would negate any benefits in the switch from coal.
A 2011 study concluded;
….”unless leakage rates for new methane can be kept below 2%, substituting gas for coal is not an effective means for reducing
the magnitude of future climate change”.
A 2012 study found that if the total leakage exceeds 3.2% “gas becomes worse for the climate than coal for at least
some period of time.”
If the entire system leaked a small amount here, a small amount there, you might be able to stay under 2%. That is,
however, not the case. Not only are FLIR videos showing us that massive amounts are leaking from transport and storage
infrastructure, we are now seeing emissions everywhere, even places and stages we didn't think were emitting.
These latest findings are the reason scientists are worried sick as two recent research projects show that the amount of gas being released as
fugitive emissions is way past 3.2%, and far worse than anyone estimated.
edit on 21-3-2015 by zworld because: (no reason given)