Thursday, May 30, 2019

GWPF Newsletter: George Mitchell, Hero To The World’s Poor

Preventing Shale Gas At Home, UK Govt Hands Out Aid To Boost Fracking In China

In this newsletter:

1) George Mitchell, Hero To The World’s Poor
Global Warming Policy Forum, 29 May 2019
2) Fracking Saves Low-Income Americans’ Lives
Pasadenas Star-News, 28 May 2019

3) Preventing Shale Gas At Home, UK Govt Hands Out Aid To Boost Fracking In China
Sunday Express, 26 May 2019
4) German Government Deeply Split On How To Deal With Climate Hysteria
Handelsblatt, 29 May 2019
5) And Finally: Striking "Fridays for Future" Pupils May Have To Repeat Year 
Die Welt, 29 May 2019 

Full details:

1) George Mitchell, Hero To The World’s Poor
Global Warming Policy Forum, 29 May 2019
By Chris Wright

George P. Mitchell was the founding father of the Shale Revolution. On the occasion of his 100th birthday we asked Chris Wright, who developed some of the original hydrologic fracturing technologies and worked with George’s team on the first commercial shale gas wells, to recap Mitchell’s legacy.

George P Mitchell, the father of the Shale Revolution, 21 May 1919 – 26 July 2013

Savvas Paraskevopoulos was a goat herder in Greece who migrated to the US at age 20 in search of opportunity.  His son, George Mitchell, expanded opportunity for the whole world, most dramatically for the world’s poor.

I only met George Mitchell once when he was around 80 years old and his resolve to crack the shale code was manifest.  My company (Pinnacle Technologies) and I had the good fortune to work with Mitchell’s team for four years testing and refining radically different hydraulic fracturing techniques.  Ultimately those new Frac techniques were combined with advances in horizontal drilling to enable massive shale gas production from the Barnett Shale that underlies Fort Worth, Texas.

Mitchell Energy had a strong, innovative technical team of engineers and geologists who had been working for years  to unlock shale gas, most notably Nick Steinsberger, Kent Bowker and Dan Steward. They were as committed as Mitchell himself to crack the shale code and harvest the enormous natural gas resources in the Barnett Shale which rapidly became the largest natural gas producing field in the US. I don’t think that any of us at the time realized that these innovations would quickly upend the global energy landscape.

We have just hit the centenary of George Mitchell’s birth. It is hard to overstate the impact of the American Shale Revolution.  Energy consumers of the world now save over a trillion dollars annually due to lower energy costs resulting from surging US production.

In the last decade both US oil production and natural gas liquids production have more than doubled. The United States rapidly transitioned from the world’s largest importer of natural gas to one of the largest exporters. The same is true for oil as the US is now the world’s fourth largest exporter of crude oil. Lower petroleum prices enrich all consumers, but most dramatic is their impact on lower income folks for whom energy costs are significant part of their total income.

In China alone two hundred million people no longer cook with wood, dung or coal, which is among the largest sources of preventable death in the world killing an estimated three million folks annually. The rapid spread of low-cost Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) around the world replacing indoor wood burning has already saved millions of lives. The World Health Organization estimates that three million people still die annually from indoor cooking with solid biofuels, so there are millions of more lives that will saved by the continued growth in LPG and LNG exports from the United States that continue to push down global prices.

While US exports of oil, LNG, and LPG have pushed down global prices dramatically, the domestic prices of all three commodities are even lower within the US. Lower priced petroleum products and electricity in the US has led to a surge of manufacturing, petrochemicals, and other energy intensive industries in the United States. The result is strong demand for blue collar workers who are the most penalized by high energy costs.

Today blue collar wages are rising faster in the US than white collar wages, something that has not been seen for a long time. History will likely view George Mitchell in the same light as Norman Borlaug, the founding father of the Green Revolution. Both men ultimately saved millions of lives and increased the quality of life for all, most dramatically among the world’s poor.

Chris Wright was the founder and CEO of Pinnacle Technologies from 1992-2006 and later cofounded and serves as Chairman / CEO of Liberty Oilfield Services, one of the world’s leading hydraulic fracturing companies, and Liberty Resources, a shale oil & gas producer in North Dakota’s Bakken shale. 

2) Fracking Saves Low-Income Americans’ Lives
Pasadenas Star-News, 28 May 2019
Ron Williamson

Fracking helped save the lives of roughly 11,000 Americans each winter from 2005 to 2010, according to a recent National Bureau of Economic Research paper. How? By driving down energy prices and helping them affordably heat their homes.

Demographers have long observed that low-income people die at higher rates during the winter months. This “excess winter mortality” has a simple, heartbreaking cause — people keep their dwellings uncomfortably cold to reduce their heating bills.

Constant exposure to chilly temperatures makes it more likely that people will contract and succumb to respiratory and heart disease.

Many low-income Americans also skimp on food and health care to afford their heating bills.  Thirty-one percent of households struggle to pay energy bills.  About 17 percent of U.S. households spend more than 10 percent of their total income on energy costs, mostly on heating.

A staggering share of the U.S. population lives on the edge. Forty million Americans are unsure whether they’ll have enough money to buy food.  As many as 40 percent of older adults sometimes fail to adhere to their prescription regimens due to cost concerns.

Even relatively minor changes in heating costs can dramatically affect these Americans’ health. A $20 per month fluctuation in utility bills could determine whether seniors can afford to refill a prescription or stock their pantries.

Fortunately for these low-income households, energy companies began perfecting hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” in the 2000s. This drilling technique involves pumping water and sand into underground shale rock formations. The water creates tiny cracks in the rock, and the sand props open those fissures, enabling companies to extract immense quantities of oil and natural gas. In 2018, energy companies produced about 50 percent more natural gas than they did at the turn of the century.

The boom in shale gas production caused prices to plummet. The cost of heating a home with natural gas fell 42 percent between 2005 and 2010, relative to the cost of using electric heat.

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