As we transition over from Breaking Energy to the new Breaking Energy site on May 6, we will be offering a new feature that seeks to explain, in simple, accessible language, some of the terms that we throw around in our stories. We will also provide links to help direct you to resources that can offer more exhaustive detail.
There’s no reason an electrical engineer should be able to make the immediate mental leap from GTL to gas-to-liquids, the expensive process that can turn gas into liquid automotive fuel, or that an oil and gas lawyer will have any idea what ISO stands for (Independent Systems Operator). We aim to make our coverage accessible to as wide an energy audience as possible, and we also hope to offer a resource for newcomers to the energy industry who just don’t speak the language yet. Keep reading →
The Three Forks formation in North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana could hold more undiscovered, technically recoverable oil than the Bakken Shale that lies above it, according to the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) latest assessment.
The mean of the estimate for the two formations’ combined undiscovered, technically recoverable oil is 7.38 billion barrels, effectively doubling the 2008 estimate for the Bakken shale alone. The mean estimate for Bakken oil, at 3.65 bn bbls – the same as in 2008 – is just shy of the Three Forks’ 3.73 bn bbl estimate. Keep reading →
At last week’s launch of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, author and energy analyst Daniel Yergin talked about what he sees as today’s three big energy questions. Dr. Yergin recently released a new book entitled “The Quest,” which follows up on his Pulitzer-winning history of the global oil industry, “The Prize.”
1) Is there enough energy? Will we run out? A few years ago peak oil was a common topic and dark days were seemingly ahead – demand was concentrated in OECD countries and ROW (rest of world) was just the tail until about 2004 when demand in emerging markets exploded, said Yergin. But every time it seems we are running out of oil, he went on to say, technology helps find and develop more, like we have now with shale and tight oil & gas. However, while concerns about peak oil may not be as urgent as they seemed a few years ago, new challenges have arisen, and “it’s still sobering to look at these energy challenges,” he said. Keep reading →
Biodegradable polymers are a tiny slice of the broader bioplastics market, but they could offer a means for oil and gas drillers to go greener in hydraulic fracturing operations.
It is almost common knowledge these days that advancements in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, both decades-old techniques, have been the keys to unlocking vast gas and oil deposits in recent years that were previously considered too costly to develop. As hydraulic fracturing has become commonplace across large swaths of the United States – sometimes in areas in which oil and gas drilling is a relatively new phenomenon – it has sparked a range of environmental concerns. These include fears that the materials injected into the ground in the process, which include chemicals and proppants, may contaminate water supplies. Keep reading →
Last week I had the opportunity to attend and participate in LNG17, the largest global gas event of 2013. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a rapidly growing part of the larger natural gas industry and is especially relevant today because of the increasing global demand for transportation fuels. At the conference, it was clear to me that LNG is a priority for not only Shell, but also the entire industry because of its potential to provide real economic and environmental benefits to the transportation industry in trucks, trains and ships.
For around 50 years, LNG has been used as a source of energy for power generation in cities but new technology and increasing demand has inspired Shell to invest in LNG for transport. Resources around the world, especially in North America, are abundant but supply is growing far faster than demand. It is the industry’s responsibility to build the infrastructure and develop innovative technology to utilize this energy source to its fullest potential. Keep reading →
The drought that ravaged much of the U.S. in 2012 shows no sign of letting up. Spring rains have eased concerns in the Southeast and in some areas of the Midwest, but other sections are not so lucky.
“The western half of the country is bad and will probably get even worse,” said Richard Heim, a drought monitor expert at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Keep reading →
Shell has bet heavily on LNG over the past two decades and now has one of the world’s largest LNG portfolios with assets in every segment of the value chain from gas production and liquefaction to retail sales. The company is confident its investments will pay off as natural gas applications continue to move beyond the power generation and industrial sectors into land-based and maritime transportation. Keep reading →
Carnival Corp., whose customers suffered through a high-profile nightmare cruise in February, said it will spend between $600 million and $700 million to upgrade its fleet’s power systems.
Earlier this year, a fire aboard the Carnival Triumph caused the ship to lose power in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. It took five days to tow the ship to shore. During the ordeal, passengers said raw sewage from non-working toilets was sloshing through hallways and running down the walls of the cabins. They also reported stifling heat due to loss of air conditioning and limited food availability. A month later, another ship lost power when it was docked in the Caribbean, and Carnival had to fly all of its passengers home. Keep reading →
Power generation technology giant GE is getting into the combined heat and power game in Germany, where they are looking to maximize use and efficiency of intermittent renewable sources like wind and solar with the help of natural gas. However, burning natural gas to generate power generates lots of heat energy that is wasted by traditional gas power plants.
“Our flexible J920 technology offers both high efficiency and reliability levels, which makes it the ideal large gas engine distributed power solution for industrial and grid stabilization applications while also minimizing the customer’s carbon footprint,” said Karl Wetzlmayer, general manager of gas engines for power generation – GE Power & Water. Keep reading →
Enormous finds offshore Brazil have drawn global attention to the promise of sub-salt oil and gas, but Houston-based Swift Energy is seeking to attract partners to a sub-salt prospect much closer to home.
Swift is seeking deepwater players as future partners in a potential sub-salt find in the “onshore” US Gulf of Mexico, under its Lake Washington field, which lies in water depths of 10-15 feet just off the southeastern Louisiana shore. It says the sub-salt prospect could hold as much as 350 million barrels of oil equivalent. Keep reading →