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A new angle on fracking

10:53 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

Fracking rig

Is support for fracking just another part of the cold war with Iran and US geopolitical strategy?

I had an interesting conversation about fracking today with a very knowledgeable Spanish executive in the energy sector.

We weren’t asking ourselves about the ecological questions that arise with fracking, but more about the geopolitical-strategic factors of this technology.

This person remarked that there seemed to be a contradiction between fracking being a sort of silver bullet that was going to make the USA totally independent in energy and reduce the influence of the major producers of natural gas, which just happen to be Russia and Iran and the curious fact that most of this business is being carried out by smaller companies.

Contradictory, this person said, because energy is economically, politically and militarily strategic and if fracking is going to be the key technology in the sector, it is going to have to be tightly regulated and the government wants to have a very clear idea of who to call for quick action in an emergency: chief executive officers, associations, lobbyists,  etc. This means big, multinationals, not a multitude of middle and small size outfits.

I asked what this might mean.

The executive replied that it might mean that fracking as America’s “secret weapon” was all some sort of bubble created for propaganda purposes for dealing with Iran and Russia and the rapid disintegration of America’s influence in the Middle East.

In this person’s opinion that would explain the multitude of small companies… because they are not “too big to fail”, and when the crisis abates the government can pull the plug on them and send them crashing with none of the consequences of doing something like that to the “majors”, whose leaders and shareholders would have the scalp of any politician that caused them to lose serious money in a geostrategic ploy.

This argument made a lot of sense to me and I thought I would pass it on to my readers.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com

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Is middle class renewal in any way based on cheap shale gas?

2:22 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

It seems to me that the challenge of rebuilding the American middle class: bringing back the jobs, ensuring good public education, health care and decent pensions is now to a great extent predicated on a very controversial “energy revolution”: the lowering the cost of energy by the method of hydraulic fracturing of gas and oil-bearing shale known as fracking.

fracking

Fracking Illustrated

Not only is this technique of breaking apart the shale with water mixed with chemicals supposed to lower the costs of energy for industry and reduce America’s dependence on imported gas and oil, thus producing more taxable income for social programs, but also to allow the United States to reduce its  armed “footprint”, the billions of dollars in military resources with which we police the troubled areas of the world where much of the energy we now import comes from. The idea being that the money saved in this way would be the money used to pay off the national debt, while simultaneously guaranteeing entitlements, etc..

It may be just my fevered imagination, but since fracking appears to be extremely dangerous to both human health and the environment itself, we might be looking at a future train wreck between social democracy and green concerns.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com