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Vol. 15, No. 6 Week of February 07, 2010
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Greening of Oil - Latest from Mac Ackers

SPEAK SLOWLY, IN SIMPLE SENTENCES … On Feb. 1 Financial Times’ Energy Source blog ran an article that said natural gas producers “have started to contemplate exporting natural gas from the US.” The only actual producer quote supporting the reporter’s claim came from a 174-word statement by Russ Ford, Royal Dutch Shell’s executive vice president for onshore gas. Ford said that Shell wants to export shale gas expertise developed in North America to other places in the world. However, only 50 words were actually quoted from his 174-word statement: “I consider the Haynesville one of our core areas. Shell has placed a big emphasis on North American gas; it’s an area of growth for us. We’ve invested something like $15bn since 2004 in the onshore. What you develop here, you’d like to export to the rest of the world.”

Whoever said, “less is more”?

KITCHEN REMODELS MAY GLOW IN THE DARK … Among the concerns about drilling in the Marcellus Shale is the possibility that drill cuttings bring radioactive material to the surface. Drill cuttings are mostly small rocks brought up during drilling.

During a summit on the “Science of Marcellus Shale” at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa., on Jan. 29, someone in the audience asked, “Is there any regulation on that or is it just so low that you don’t have to worry about it?”

Michael Beattie, a senior geological advisor for Anadarko Petroleum Corp., said the cuttings are radioactive, but he also offered some context: “We sample it routinely,” Beattie said. “I wanted to know myself, because I know it does have a uranium content. Every rock, every natural material, actually has a radioactive content. It is higher than some rocks but lower than others. I actually found, when we tested, that the granite countertop I had in my kitchen is more radioactive.”

HOW ABOUT THOSE HAPPY COWS … Contrary to other reports, California's plan to measure methane emissions involves more than just cows. The state is actually installing a network of computerized monitors to measure methane emissions from regions that are home to dairy ranches, farms, landfills and other sources. It will be the first network of its kind in the United States and will help California move closer to reducing emissions of gases related to global warming. By May, seven PC-size devices developed by California-based Picarro Inc. will be placed across the state where methane emissions are believed to be the highest, including the farm fields of the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys and landfills in the Los Angeles basin.

Stanley Young of the California Air Resources Board told Mac Ackers that the goal of the network is to measure methane from all sources, not just the cows, with very high accuracy and precision at high frequency, which will provide researchers with important data expected to inform state regulators charged with implementing the state’s landmark global warming law. Known as AB32, the law requires the state to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by about 25 percent over the next 10 years.

IT’S ABOUT MORE THAN COWS… The international Methane to Markets Partnership is putting the finishing touches on plans for a second Partnership Expo. The event is to be held in New Delhi, India, March 2-5. The first expo, held in Beijing, China, in 2007, attracted 750 attendees from 34 countries and showcased 91 methane recovery projects from 11 countries. India, with the world’s second-largest population, is the second-largest emitter of anthropogenic, or human-related, methane. Methane to Markets said India’s rapid economic growth, increased urbanization, and rising energy consumption create a perfect balance of opportunity and demand for methane recovery and use.

Editor’s note: Mac Ackers is Greening of Oil’s social net worker. Her weekly column is posted in both Petroleum News and’s Buzz page.

Editor's note: Visit Mac Ackers at one of her following social sites.

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