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Natural Gas Mining in Alberta
Transcript of Natural Gas Mining in Alberta
The question now is - Is it worth it?
The answer, right now, is that it might not be worth all the damage it does, but it is the best fossil fuel we have and we have to make the most of it. Some of us, like Alberta, have already started while others wait. What many people don't realize that if we use Natural Gas alongside other fossil fuels or replace some damaging fossil fuels, we can all have a better future. Government is Involved! The Government of Canada and The Government of Alberta both have various political branches dedicated towards monitoring, regulating, and over-seeing the extraction, exploration, production, transportation, and distribution of Natural Gas in Alberta. These branches have a specific goal or a specific set of goals that they need to accomplish relating to Natural Gas in the province. They all work together in order to make the Natural Gas industry a profitable and successful one. How is it made? Natural gas developed over millions of years.
Organic matter, located deep underground, degraded into carbon and hydrogen molecules and formed Natural Gas. Where is it found? Natural gas is found around the world. It is usually trapped inside various natural rock formations. Though, due to the shortage of Natural Gas inside the usual rock formations, companies are trying for unconventional sources such as coalbeds etc. How Natural Gas is mined and transported To extract Natural Gas from under the earth, usually a method of digging called Hydraulic Fracturing, nicknamed Fracking, is used. Almost all the places in the world that use or trade Natural Gas use a pipeline or a system of pipelines to transport it. Alberta's Natural Gas Did you know, that Alberta is Canada's biggest Natural Gas producing province? Almost 75% of all natural gas in Canada comes from Alberta. And that's not all, because Alberta only uses up to about half of it's Natural gas, and the rest is used for other professions. The land Natural Gas is extracted by digging holes into the ground. And for that, you need ground to dig holes in. That land, a lot of land, is displaced when holes are dug into it. Also, the natural scenery is soiled for the people. The soil In today's world, climate change, erosion and pollution are big factors in our life. Soil erosion is one of those factors. When floods or heavy rainfall happen, they batter the soil directly and heavily. If the soil is compact and strong, it can withstand the assault and not be eroded very much. But, the extraction of Natural Gas displaces the land, and in turn, weakens, erodes, and displaces the soil on that land. If the floods or rainfalls hit the displaced soil, it has a very high chance to cave in and get dragged along with the very same flood and rainfall. This causes Leaching to happen rapidly and very effectively, meaning the water from the rain seeps into the ground and loosens the soil. Also, the weakened soil is unable to support the weight and structure of grown trees. Extracting Natural Gas considerably weakens the area of effect's stability. Groundwater When the ground is dug into, Natural Gas and oil is not the only thing that comes out, and not everything comes out either. Along with Natural Gas, other toxic matter also comes along for the ride. At the surface, the Gas is filtered from the other chemicals, but there is nothing stopping the chemicals under the ground. Also, the rocks are not the only thing under the surface. Groundwater. The reservoir of freshwater is also under the ground, and usually, it is inevitable for the toxins during digging to go into that reservoir. And then the freshwater is not that fresh anymore. The contaminants that Natural Gas drags along with it contaminate the groundwater. But that pool of water is connected to other groundwater reservoirs and the contaminants eventually spread, further increasing the damage. The Habitat Even as the land is affected, the extraction zone is not just barren land. There might be trees or wildlife living there, and those things are all gone by the time the dig site has been prepared. Pipelines Also, the land is used to put space for the building of pipelines for the transportation of the extracted Natural Gas. The system of pipelines across the province transports approximately 15,000,000,000 cubic feet every day of Natural Gas across North America. Government Branches Like... The Alberta Utilities Commission ... Along With... The National Energy Board ... Or... The Energy Resources Conservation Board YOU are also Impacted! Some Good News... FINALLY! Uses of Natural Gas Natural Gas is one of the cleanest fossil fuels on earth, and therefore is very widely used as a cleaner alternative to oil and coal. We use Natural Gas to heat our homes, cook our food and generate electricity. A lot of schools, offices, hotels and other commercial places use Natural Gas too. Also, a lot of the Natural Gas that is used in Alberta is mainly used in various industries like metal, food, chemical, glass, paper, transportation etc. industries. Extraction Dangers To get all of your wanted Natural Gas, other people need to extract it. But that extraction may not be as smooth as possible for them. There are many dangers for the workers out on the field. Cave ins, spills, pipe ruptures etc. are only some. Accidental fires on the dig sites can endanger the lives of the workers on the site. But those workers are not only the ones in danger. There is smoke, and other pollutants are released into the air and wind currents eventually carry them over to the rest of the world, putting us all in harms way. Sour Gas One of the most dangerous chemicals used in extracting Natural Gas is Sour Gas. Sour Gas is Natural Gas in its raw form, has many sulfur compounds, and is very prominent in the province of Alberta. It is toxic to humans and animals alike even in very small concentrations. The Hydrogen Sulphide(H2S) in the gas makes it very deadly in large concentrations. The presence of the gas in your body can put discomfort in eyes and nose, numb the sense of smell, and induce dizziness and many respiratory difficulties. Economy and the Global Market As you already know, that Natural Gas production is just one of the businesses in the world that affect almost everything that they have have a relation to.They affect the environment, people, government etc. But, aside from the environment, the biggest thing that they affect is our economy. You know that we extract Natural Gas, but the biggest reason for why we do it is MONEY. Yes, our government and the companies that extract the precious resource do it for money. And, we get a lot of it from doing this. But, to get something, you have to give something in return, so we put millions of dollars in extracting Natural Gas to get billions of dollars back. Plain and simple business. Contribution from Us Before we discuss what we get from the production of this fossil fuel, we need to know what we put into the business. Or more specifically, how much money we put into getting more and more Natural Gas. So, well, according to the Government of Alberta, they put about $90 billion in the oil and gas industry between 2002 and 2006 alone. It's been 7 years since, imagine how much they must be putting in right now. Yep, that is A LOT of money. Profit is well But if there is one thing that you can take comfort from, it's that all that money does not exactly go to waste. In fact, Alberta's government has succeeded in making the most of the money that they invested in this industry. Statistics show that there are about 3360 successful Natural Gas well in Alberta right now, all the fruit of our labour. Reaping the Rewards Remember the money that Alberta's government put in the oil and gas industry? Well, the rewards are being delivered right back to Alberta in full. Only from the Natural Gas industry, Alberta gets $1.30 billion every year from the sale of Natural Gas and its other by-products. And that's without counting the oil industry in Alberta. Pipelines Remember what pipelines are? You know, the system of pipes that transport Natural Gas all over Alberta, Canada, North America, and the World? Yeah, they cost money to build, maintain, and fix. And what does the public do? They ask for more and more Natural Gas. So what does the government do? They build more and more pipelines to transport more and more Natural Gas. Its some sort of a cycle. Build and ask for more and build again. On top of that, the usual rock formations that have Natural Gas are declining, so we go for the unusual and unconventional places, hard to reach places to get the gas, and we build more pipelines in order to transport that gas. and it does not come for free. Employment Now ask yourself, who does all this? And the answer of course is us. And by us, what is meant is the general population in Alberta that is employed by the oil and gas industry. Those jobs in the oil and gas industry and other jobs related to that industry are taken by over by 150,000 of Alberta's work force. So, 150,000 people in Alberta get food in their homes by working to get Natural Gas for us. Flaring The one problem in Natural Gas is that it not all usable. Some of it cannot be used and is usually flared (set on fire) to burn it up. That method is efficient and easy to do, but deadly to the air and environment around it. Natural Gas is highly flammable and if released into the air, one spark can ignite it. When it is flared, sulfur dioxide and methane, which is a more potent chemical than carbon dioxide, is released into the air as well. Wildlife The Natural Gas that we get, we get from digging holes in the ground. What the workers don't see is that the land that they use might already have been inhabited by someone else. Now, those animals have no homes. Consequently, the waste that comes from constructing a Natural Gas well or a Natural gas filtering facility, that waste is dumped in rivers, lakes and some other places where many animals reside. Now, the animals' food and water is contaminated and their natural habitat is tampered with. Also, causing this affects not only the animals, but the food chain too, affecting other animals as a result. Not only that, but the trees take their water from the ground and when the groundwater is contaminated, those trees don't get to live much longer. Water contamination Chromium-6 is a dangerous and toxic chemical that is used while drilling for Natural Gas. This toxic chemical, while digging for the gas, usually seeps into the groundwater and has contaminated Alberta's groundwater. According to Watershed Sentinel, "the drilling and fracking endanger the groundwater and deplete rivers and lakes all for a quick payoff to the industry...". Blowouts and fires Though very effective at doing so, flaring is not the only way to release chemicals from Natural Gas into the air. In fact, accidental fires, called Blowouts, inside processing plants, wells and pipelines can happen and can be very dangerous. In case of that, sour gas and carbon emissions are also released into the air, along with methane and sulfur dioxide. In fact, research shows that carbon emissions are one of the things linked to a lot of environmental crises like climate change, air pollution, natural disasters, health problems, etc. So, so far you now know how Natural Gas kills the environment, destroys our land, damages us, and leeches our economy, but you should also keep in mind that compared to other fossil fuels we can use, this is actually one of the best ones. Yep, there are advantages to using Natural Gas and since they are a better alternative to other fossil fuels, we use Natural Gas. We are becoming more and more aware of what Natural Gas does to us, our environment, economy etc. and we are asking for the government to lessen the damage if not remove it completely. The Jobs Done Not to ignore, the government is not shirking from its duty either, as recent news from the National Energy Board include:
1. Authorizing exports of liquified form of Natural Gas
2. Agreement of expanding the main pipeline in northwestern Alberta etc. Predictions As if the branches were not enough, the government has asked the opinion of several economists, surveys, and other branches of the Canadian Government in matters related to the Natural Gas industry.
One of the leading economists in Canada have said that this winter predicts the increase of prices of Natural Gas.
The Geological Survey has revealed nearly 500 trillion cubic feet of Natural Gas in Alberta's coalbeds.
Also, the Conference Board of Canada has told the public that Natural Gas production in Alberta is predicted to decline over the next 5 years. Other fuels Smog In urban cities today, one of their biggest environmental concern is smog. Smog is a thick layer of all the harmful gases in a city's air. The traditional vehicles used are one of it's biggest contributors. Our world, the earth can heal. If Natural Gas is used instead, it does not contribute to the smog. That gives time for the smog to disperse naturally or for the city to do something to remove it. Electricity In today's era, one of the most important things in our world is electricity. This precious power powers virtually most of the objects in the world. We try to get more and more of it with the least of impact on the environment and the least produced waste. That's when Natural Gas comes in. Compared to some other fuels, there is a lot less sludge produced when Natural Gas is used to produce electricity. As said before, compared to the other fossil fuels out there, this one is one of the best ones. Compared to the fumes oil and coal release, Natural Gas gives out 30% less, at the very least, of greenhouse gases. If used in a vehicle, Natural Gas produces 90 to 97% less carbon dioxide compared to the regular fuel used in our vehicles. Also, if you inhale the filtered gas for a small time, it is not harmful or poisonous to your body. Alberta's Efforts The thing is, when Natral Gas does have it's good side, that good side does not get to do any good unless we let it or help it. Following the principle, Alberta has reduced flaring Natural Gas by about 76% since 1996. Workforce A lot of jobs are created by the oil and gas industery to get workers to dig into the earth and get more Natural Gas. Right now, though, due to the declining of conventional Natural Gas, those jobs are losing their appeal and workers are really hard to come by. The workers already working are informed about the state of the industry and trying to find jobs elsewhere because of the imminent lost of their current job. The industry, facing the labor shortages, are trying to get more workers to take the place of the ones that are not there anymore. What We Can Do To be frank, Alberta or the government is not the only one that has to work to get some improvement in this industry and its relations. You play as big as a part in this as any other person or government. They are doing this for you and your needs, so help them do their work, not hinder them. There are a lot of ways to do that and it is not really that hard to do. The government is there for you. If enough people tell the government to look into the industry and monitor the consequences of Natural Gas extraction, they WILL look into it and they WILL do something about it. You need only write a few sentences and send them the message and you will have not have the environment, land, economy destroyed. You should do this because if you don't, they will only come back later to bite you back. What Else We Can Do Even though Natural Gas is the best fossil fuel we have, it is not the only energy resource in the world. There are a lot of alternative fuel sources we can get our energy from. Using some of them together or in conjunction with Natural Gas can make a big difference. Some of the alternative fuels include Geothermal, Water, Solar Power etc. and those are not the only ones as there are tons more that we can use and still be profitable while keeping our other resources safe. Global Warming If you have seen the news or read an environmental magazine recently, you will probably have seen the fuss about Global Warming and Climate change. And one of the biggest contriutors to that are greenhouse gasses and us. The most prominent components in greenhouse gasses are Carbon dioxide and Methane. Natural Gas has CO2 and Methane. While it does not release that much of CO2, one leak from the pipelines can release a LOT of Methane. So, while we do not burn as much of Natural Gas, every molecule that's burned contributes significantly to the increase of Greenhouse gasses in the air, and consequently to Climate Change and Global Warming. Ozone While Natural Gas is a clean alternative, there are several complications that endanger our environment when it is extracted by fracking. Mainly, the poisonous and toxic gases that the action releases into the air. That's right, when people extract Natural Gas, a lot of toxic gases are released, and most of them stay down to earth to make ground level ozone. Effects on the water Government's Role It's not like it is said that the government does not play a role in this, as it does, but it does not do the job that we need. While the government looks to regulate the trades and usage of the Natural Gas, the environment suffers from it's extraction and processing. None of the sources that have been giving the information has given any indication that the government ever had any role to play in the stopping or prevention of the harmful effects of Natural Gas extraction. In fact, if you did not know better, you might just think that they encouraged it. This NEEDS to STOP. YOU have to help stopping this. The fracking of Natural Gas has been tearing the environment, land, and us apart. Is writing an e-mail a really big deal to do to save the environment and your own life? Well, if you can e-mail a friend to ask for homework, you can certainly tell the government to investigate the dangers of fracking. Other fuel sources Have you seen your surroundings lately, breathed some fresh air, or drank water directly from a purely natural source? I know that you have not. How?
Well, that's very simple. If you seen your surroundings any time soon, you would be shrieking with indignation. There has not been fresh air for decades, and almost all the natural water sources are now contaminated to a degree, so, had you done that, you would be in a bed, sick. Natural Gas extraction is not a cause of this, but it IS a part of the problem. Did you know, geothermal heating takes less cost than Natural Gas and is a better heat source? Or that solar power has almost no bad sides while Natural Gas has more than 5X as more? Well, now you know, so do not just sit there like dumb fish, and do something about this. Natural Gas combined or replaced along with other fuels can help save the planet. Natural Gas mining in Alberta THE END