Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for December, 2013

Ecotech Systems shares how most of the world differs from the US on its view of coal.

It’s Christmas. That means it’s time for some bad kids to get a lump of coal from Saint Nick, but depending on what part of the world you live in, that “gift” can have a very different value.

Coal_anthraciteIn the United States, it’s tough to find a politician—red or blue—who’ll back the coal industry, but elsewhere in the world, that’s not the case. It’s not a matter of them not getting it either. The world is largely moving towards cleaner standards (though I’ve seen data that suggests that China today is polluting at an equivalent rate of where the US was in the 1970s), yet outside of the States, coal is still viewed as a valuable energy resource.

Senator Joe Manchin (D) noted in a recent interview that, worldwide, 80 billion tonnes of coal will be mined in 2014. Of that, the U.S. will only produce one. Despite being in decline, in 2012, Australia still exported A$48 billion in coal. Other large exporters include Canada, Columbia, Mongolia, Mozambique, Russia, and Indonesia (who is now the largest coal exporter in the world).

Coal demand is also expected to increase by 1.2 tonnes over the next five years, with 80% coming from China. By 2030, they’re set to double their current demand and India continues to rise as well. Apart from renewable energy, coal is the fastest growing fuel.

All of this cuts against the American notion that coal power is a dying energy resource. Maybe we need to get some more kids on the naughty list…

*     *     *

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).

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Vortex Tools discusses the idea of taxing states that benefit from technological breakthroughs in oil and gas (namely hydraulic fracturing/fracking) while limiting its use.

A few months back, I mentioned that Fort Collins, Colorado, was considering a five-year moratorium on fracking (initiative 2A). Well, in November, 2A passed and the ban is on. Unlike Vermont’s fracking ban—which was akin to a land-locked state making rules against the ocean—Colorado actually has oil and gas operations to hinder, and these moratoriums against fracking bring new complications.

We live in a meme culture where people attempt (and fail) to summarize complicated issues with a picture and an oft-scathing caption. Take this Twitter pic for example:

Twitter anti-fracking labels pic

It’s actually pretty funny—noting how this protestor’s camp gear was essentially enabled by oil and gas production (same goes for your smart phone, FYI)—but there are several fracking issues that are actually concerning: For example, the amount of water used in fracking. Some put that average at 3-5 million gallons per frack job. Multiply that by the number of wells drilled in a year and that’s hundreds of billions of gallons of water annually. Up until recently, the produced water from these frack jobs was largely not being reused (though innovative companies are starting to change). It got pumped back down and stored underground.

With our sister company, SpiroFlo, working in both water savings and water purification applications, we know the specifics of how wrong this approach is, but you don’t need to be an expert to realize that, with a water shortage looming in 2020, this—and frankly, a lot of our residential water use practices—are unsustainable.

I’ve noted before that many fracking issues are not about good science (along with valid reasons why oil and gas companies are hesitant to own up to mistakes), but there are parts of the fracking practice that need to change. I’ve been to enough oil and gas conferences to know that the industry isn’t opposed to regulation, just bad regulation. That may sound like a good public talking point, but the anti-fracking group has its own questionable statements.

I hear people talk about potential alternate energy use (read: absolute best case scenario / rabid fantasy for wind power and solar) as if it could replace oil and gas today. Others say they want to ban fracking, but won’t own up to wanting to ban oil and gas use, period. Many of them don’t know that a ban on fracking is essentially a ban on oil and gas in today’s world (some do and don’t want to publicly admit it).

And what about cities and states that want to ban fracking? What are the consequences for them? Right now, there aren’t really any. A co-worker of mine has over 30 years in the oil and gas industry. He’s seen a lot of what works and a lot of what doesn’t. His idea is to tax cities and states than ban fracking, because they’re hindering energy growth (along with bringing back up all those foreign oil dependency issues people don’t like) while benefitting from the energy-reduction perks that stem from these technological breakthroughs. Shouldn’t there be a cost to that?

According to recent polling, most New Yorkers are opposed to fracking. While the percentage of that majority can vary, on the opposite side, most of these same New Yorkers have embraced lower heating bills thanks to an abundance of cheaper natural gas from widely fracked areas like the Marcellus Shale.

Maybe you’ve noticed cheaper gasoline at the pump in 2013. In part, you can blame fracking for that, too.

Overall, there’s a need to educate people on both the pros and cons of fracking (and the practices of the oil and gas industry as a whole). It’s not a quick and easy debate, and part of the responsibility falls on the debaters themselves.

*     *     *

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).

Read Full Post »

Vortex Tools shares why search engine optimization (SEO) and other e-marketing shortcuts largely don’t apply to the oil and gas industry.

I spoke with a marketing group recently. Given that’s my role in this organization, I have at least three good ideas as to what works and what doesn’t, but hey, you never stop learning.

Anyway, this marketing group focused on search engine optimization. Basically it’s a way to increase your presence all over this here internet, so that when people type in anything minutely related to what you do, your company pops up in search engine results sooner rather than later. There are a number of ways to do this. Most involve time and/or money and only last as long as you keep investing time and/or money at a rate comparable to your competition.

These tactics include paying off search engines, abusing social media, and quickly writing several 200-word articles that basically all say the same thing about your company (without copying and pasting) and then placing them on dozens of sites that link back to your homepage. You can also go the longer route by writing scintillating original content (read: this here blog) that covers a broad topic while occasionally (overtly) promoting your company. If you happen to hit a popularity wave, said scintillating original content will become rip-off fodder for all those 200-word articles populating a search engine in some other company’s favor.

(Sadly, citing any term that can be remotely connected to porn also helps.)

I kid you not, this popped up when I searched for 'marketing'

I kid you not, this popped up when I searched for ‘marketing’

Really the goal is to have a bunch of arrows all over the internet pointing back to your product. As a result, larger companies do all the above while smaller companies flail the marketing work out of an unpaid intern, hire someone who can wear many additional hats, or give a marketing group just enough funds to put in some work that will keep you up to speed for three-to-six more months (or less, when search engines wise up on their criteria).

This marketing style works for a number of industries, but not oil and gas. I got to explain this in my response to the marketing group representative:

“I get the value of marketing and all that, but you need to understand something: The oil and gas industry is not about cutting edge tech. They’re largely using technologies from 50+ years ago—so it takes a long time to get technologies widely accepted here. With this in mind, I don’t think the CEOs and CFOs of large, multi-billion dollar oil and gas companies are going to make a decision based on what’s trending on Twitter this week. I say this because they’re the types of people I’d be willing to pay an outside group to help me get an in with.

“Even with smaller, independent oil and gas companies, drilling a well is very expensive. It’s an $8 million hole in the ground or a $30 million rig on the water if you’re going offshore, so again, I don’t think they’re going to be influenced much by what’s on page one of Google.”

Not surprisingly, our conversation didn’t go much longer, but if you happen to be on Twitter, I’m forced to cap my grievances at 140 characters here (@vortextools).

*     *     *

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).

Read Full Post »