Monday, January 28, 2013

Fracking North Dakota

A night-time satellite photo of the United States shows an unknown galaxy of lights in North Dakota, which turns out to be physical evidence of the new North American Oil Rush: it's the light from 100s of well heads flaring off gas. Here's the story by Robert Krulwich from National Public Radio, posted January 16, 2013 (edited by me):

"It's a little to the left, high up near the Canadian border. Just run your eye up that line of lights at the center of the country, look over to the upper left: There's a patch that looks like a big city — but there is no big city in that part of North Dakota. There's mostly grass. So what are those lights doing there? What is that?"

"What we have here is an immense and startlingly new oil and gas field — nighttime evidence of an oil boom created by fracking. Those lights are rigs, hundreds of them, lit at night, or fiery flares of natural gas. One hundred fifty oil companies, big ones, little ones, wildcatters, have flooded this region, drilling up to eight new wells every day on what is called the Bakken formation. Altogether, they are now producing 660,000 barrels a day — double the output two years ago — so that in no time at all, North Dakota is now the second-largest oil producing state in America. Only Texas produces more, and those lights are a sign that this region is now on fire ... to a disturbing degree. Literally."

"Only seven years ago, the U.S. was importing 60 percent of its oil. Now imports are down to 42 percent. The Bakken fields are helping to improve energy security."

"On the other hand, says Peter Lehner, blogger for the Natural Resources Defense Council, every day drillers in North Dakota 'burn off enough gas to heat half a million homes.....' "  

See the full story here.
Thanks to Craig Hankin for the link.

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