Vortex Tools talks about the Natural Gas Symposium and how the Colorado flood affected oil spills in the area.
This week I attended the Natural Gas Symposium at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
It was a bit of an odd crowd—there was a table full of anti-fracking retirees (especially as there’s a moratorium, Fort Collins Initiative 2A, to ban fracking for five years this November), a slew of locals who attend everything, then larger companies and politicians.
I should say former politician, singular, as several were stuck in DC with the partial government shutdown. In fact, a government worker told me that with the shutdown, government holidays go away, too, so if the shutdown had gone on, they would’ve been required to show up to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Anyway, former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, now that he’s retired (and I’m guessing paid per appearance), is everywhere these days, but he opened up the Symposium—read: a fancy word for a series of 75-minute speaker panels—with a discussion with the CEO of General Electric and the CEO of Noble Energy. Pretty fancy for a free conference.
I’ve had a couple of posts on the Colorado flood lately—how it didn’t help drought levels and how the oil and gas industry seems to be unfairly targeted in catastrophe situations—but I heard an interesting comment at the Symposium: one of the speakers noted that, with the deluge of water, the oil from damaged wells was essentially washed away.
It’s kind of like filling up a tenth of a glass with grape juice, then running it under a faucet. It doesn’t take long for the juice to dilute out. Sure, oil has more impact than grape juice, there isn’t a sink drain in nature, and maybe you’ve even heard that good ol’ notion that oil and water don’t mix—it isn’t just a metaphor, people—but right now, a) there are larger issues to address in the aftermath of the flood; and b) we’re stuck waiting for most of the oil to show up to treat… if it does.
However, I think the flood damage, coupled with the negative impression people have of oil and gas in Colorado, could lead to the fracking ban passing in November.
Let me be clear: I don’t like everything about fracking, and I don’t think it will exist in its current form in five years, but if you completely ban the practice, you basically shut down new oil and gas activity. While there are plenty who are happy with this notion, they’ll be surprised at the huge hit to the local economy. One Fort Collins council member went so far as to say that anyone who signs their name to the fracking ban should put up x amount to cover the financial loss. Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry will just move their operations to other states until it switches back.
Good luck getting the rest of the states to do the same, by the way. Call me crazy, but they might even welcome the revenues that Colorado would shoo away by passing 2A.
I think there’s a need to curb some of the energy use of fracking—especially as the industry is not required to reuse all that fracking water they then pump underground—but let’s talk compromise rather than local industry amputation.
A common statement I heard is that the oil and gas industry is not opposed to regulation, just bad regulation. Good regulation is necessary for safety, and when there isn’t enough, you get the kind of political move we’re seeing coming now.
However it goes, we’ll get a prediction of what 2014 will look like for Colorado oil and gas in November.
* * *
Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:
-SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home), industrial water purification (biofilm removal), and reduced water pumping costs.
-Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).
-Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, dairy waste, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).