Source: BOE Report
Source: BOE Report
Source: BOE Report
Tales of a Wyoming “tar spring” would inspire experienced Pennsylvanian Mike Murphy to drill a shallow well in 1883. He sold his oil to Union Pacific to lubricate train axles. Then came Civil War veteran Philip Shannon, who in 1890 explored oil seeps at Salt Creek outside of Casper. His discovery well revealed a 22,000-acre oilfield and was followed in 1908 by the headline-making gusher drilled by a Dutch company. But the story of Wyoming’s oil patch really began with Washington Irving, author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”
Irving, who also penned “Rip Van Winkle,” became fascinated with the American Northwest in 1834 while writing about John Jacob Astor’s fur trading empire. Irving met explorer Capt. Benjamin Bonneville and used Bonneville’s notes and maps to write “The Adventures of Captain Bonneville: or, Scenes beyond the Rocky Mountains of the Far West.” Eastern readers were spellbound by the account of the four-year exploration and detailed accounts of life on the fur-trapping trail.
In the unforgiving lands that would one day become the Wyoming Territory, Capt. Bonneville had traveled down the Popo Agie River in 1832. He observed the natural resource that would bring a new industry to the state of Wyoming. “In this neighborhood, the captain made search for ‘the great Tar Spring,’ one of the wonders of the mountains, the medicinal properties of which he had heard extravagantly lauded by the trappers,” Irving explained.
“After a toilsome search, his expedition found a tar-like substance at the foot of a sand-bluff, a little east of the Wind River Mountains, where it exuded in a black, sticky stream.
“The men immediately hastened to collect a quantity of it, to use as an ointment for the galled backs of their horses, and as a balsam for their own pains and aches,” Capt. Bonneville continued.
“From the description given of it, it is evidently the bituminous oil, called petroleum or naphtha, which forms a principal ingredient in the potent medicine called British Oil,” he reported. “In New York, it is called Seneca Oil, from being found near the Seneca lake.”
Exploring Tar Springs and Salt Creek
Tales of the “Great Tar Spring” would lead to Wyoming’s earliest hand-dug oil wells during the Civil War. “The first recorded oil sale in Wyoming occurred along the Oregon Trail when, in 1863, enterprising entrepreneurs sold oil as a lubricant to wagon-train travelers” explains Wyohistory.org. “The oil came from Oil Mountain Springs some 20 miles west of present-day Casper.”
Meanwhile, America continued to grow westward, encouraged by periodic, if transitory, gold rushes. By 1867, the Union Pacific Railroad reached the easternmost boundary of the Wyoming Territory, spawning new towns all along its route.
Because the right of way included substantial land grants on each side of the tracks, railroads were very much in the real estate business and promoted settlement in order to develop their property.
Still, by 1870 the pioneer population of Wyoming was just over 9,000 in a territory of 97,809 square miles.
The government owned almost half of the territory and encouraged development of mineral resources in these public lands through the federal Placer Act.
In the East, declining production from Pennsylvania oilfields in the 1880s prompted the young petroleum industry to look westward.
First Drilled Wyoming Oil Well
Mike Murphy was a Pennsylvania-born Irishman who had come to the Nebraska Territory in 1854 as a land surveyor. He served in the territorial legislature until being lured to Colorado in search of gold in 1859. Murphy later went to Montana for gold and in 1876, he was off to the Black Hills, still prospecting.
When he returned to Wyoming in 1883, Murphy and his brother Frank bought an oil lease from Dr. George B. Graff – on the very site of Capt. Bonneville’s “great tar spring.” The Murphy brothers drilled for oil and found it at 300 feet in what would become known as the Chugwater formation. The historic well’s oil was sold to the Union Pacific to lubricate railcar axles. News spread quickly and inspired others to stake their own “placer” mineral claims on promising sites. One of these sites was the Salt Creek valley area north of old Ft. Caspar, which would one day yield millions of barrels of oil.
Placer claims on government lands could be filed in 20-acre blocks by an individual or 160 acres by an “association” of eight individuals.
For the claimant to be granted a legitimate patent on the land, the law required drilling a well, at least $500 in improvements, “oil in commercial quantity” (often disputed) and a $2.50 per acre fee.
Complicating the process was the government’s inclination to withdraw lands from the public domain. Competing legitimacy disputes, claim jumping, litigation, and even gun play were the natural byproducts of placer claims.
More Black Gold Discoveries
In 1887, perhaps lured by tales of Mike Murphy’s oil discovery, a tenacious but unsuccessful gold prospector by the name of Cy Iba returned from California with his four sons, two daughters, and their families.
He began staking his own and “association” placer claims in Salt Creek. Iba and his family dug and timbered and staked and re-staked, eventually accumulating 30 claims in anticipation of one day selling valuable oil leases.
Meanwhile, Wyoming continued to grow with the railroads. The Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad pushed westward and delivered its first passengers to what would become Casper, Wyoming, in June 1888. Two years later, Iba came into conflict with a group of New York investors headed by H.D. Schoonmaker.
This group, “The Central Association of Wyoming,” had acquired its own placer claims. Iba sued and after several years of litigation, he settled for an 80-acre tract of the disputed “Jackass Claim.” Years later, the “Iba 80” would become one of the Salt Creek oil field’s best producers.
First True Wyoming Oilman
Noted Wyoming historian Mike Mackey says Philip Martin Shannon was Wyoming’s first “legitimate” oilman since, “he plans on coming to Wyoming, drilling wells, refining the product, and finding a market for it.”
Shannon was a Civil War veteran and successful Pennsylvania oil businessman who first visited the area in 1884, Mackey writes in – Black Gold, Patterns in the Development of Wyoming’s Oil Industry.
Shannon chose to drill for oil on the northeast side of the Salt Creek activity, and with a small group of investors, began shipping equipment from Pennsylvania to the new Casper railroad station, still a 50 mile wagon haul from the proposed site.
In August 1890, just one month after Wyoming became the 44th state, Shannon brought in his first well. Even unrefined, the new state’s oil proved to be an excellent lubricant. The producing zone will become known as the Shannon sandstone.
The Wyoming Derrick, Casper’s newspaper, enthusiastically announced, “Wyoming will become the greatest and wealthiest mineral producing state in the Union.”
Within 20 months, Shannon and his associates had two producing wells, one dry hole, and a fourth well underway. Their only market for this unrefined lubricating oil was the railroads. Shannon negotiated agreements with the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad as well as the Cheyenne & Northern.
Still, his oil had to be laboriously hauled in barrels by wagon to the railhead in Casper. The first delivery of 45 barrels took five days using a string team of 14 horses and three tandem wagons. In the distant East, a pessimistic Harper’s Magazine reported, “it is noticeable now that this oil excites little human interest, and interests still less capital.”
To expand their markets, Shannon and his Pennsylvania investors began building a refinery in Casper in 1894. Wyoming’s population had grown to over 62,000.
Within a year, the new refinery was able to produce 100 barrels a day of 15 different grades of lubricant, from “light cylinder oil” to heavy grease.
Soon thereafter, Shannon and his associates incorporated as the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Company with 6,000 shares of stock.
The company’s assets included the Casper refinery and placer claims on over 3,000 acres of the north perimeter of Salt Creek. By 1904, the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Company owned 14 small wells, each producing ten to 40 barrels per day – more than the Casper refinery or the market could accommodate.
Despite a growing population (1900 census counted 92,531) and improved railroad access, transportation costs meant that Wyoming oil could not successfully compete for the distant eastern markets. The Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Company struggled. By October 1904, the company was sold to French and Belgian investors – who fared no better. The Casper refinery was closed.
William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s legacy extends beyond his world-famous Wild West Show and straight into the Wyoming oil patch. In 1902 and and again in 1910, Cody formed oil companies and filed oil placer claims south of Cody. Although he promoted his “Bonanza Oil District” to potential investors, his efforts ended in dry holes. Read more in Buffalo Bill Shoshone Oil Company.
Troubles with Placer Claims
Early petroleum companies faced many challenges trying to develop Wyoming’s exploration and production industry. The legitimacy problems of placer claims remained problematical for many years to come.
By 1912, every individual or company in the Salt Creek oil field was either suing or being sued. Isolation from the petroleum-hungry eastern markets also endangered every oil venture.
Even with the advent of railroad tank cars, Wyoming oil could not compete in eastern markets because of transportation costs. These early problems eventually yielded to the tenacity of the stubborn oilmen who confronted them. In 1920, the “Oil and Gas Leasing Act” finally provided relief from the legal wrangling over placer claims.
First Major Wyoming Oil Boom
Wyoming’s first real oil boom would have to wait until the Dutch-owned Petroleum Maatschappij Salt Creek Company’s well erupted on October 23, 1908, bringing a new flood of entrepreneurs and investors.
Although Salt Creek was known to be productive, the central Salt Creek dome received little attention until noted Italian geologist Dr. Cesare Porro recommended the drilling site to Petroleum Maaschappij in 1906.
Drillers J. E. Stock and his father, working for an English corporation known as the Oil Wells Drilling Syndicate, completed the well at 1,050 feet with initial production of 600 barrels a day.
“Initial development of Salt Creek Oil field commenced in 1889 with the majority of primary development occurring between 1915 and 1930,” notes the U.S. Department of the Interior. “Early records indicate that oil was found at depths as shallow as 22 feet in 1911.”
By 1930, about one-fifth of all oil produced in the United States came from Salt Creek. More than 4,000 petroleum wells have since been drilled in the ten producing zones of the 22,000-acre field. In 2007 alone, Salt Creek produced almost three million barrels of oil.
An article posted by historian Tom Rea adds another aspect to the field’s story:
November 19, 1925 was a cold night for football in the oil boomtown of Midwest, Wyoming. “Don’t Miss It,” the Casper Herald had advised the day before. “Something New, Football at Night, Casper vs. Midwest.”
“Floodlights,” the advertisement continued, would be “assisted by open gas flares for light and warmth—the roads are fine…” Fine perhaps, but still dirt in 1925. Midwest is 40 miles north of Casper.
For the football game, Midwest Refinery Company electricians set up twelve floodlights of 1,000 candlepower each around the field, four more of 2,000 candlepower, and from the top of an oil derrick near the field, a huge searchlight swung its beam over the players and the crowd.
Electricity had come to the oil fields around Midwest earlier that year, when the company built an electric plant to power thousands of oil-well pumps.
Rea also notes in Boom, Bust, and After – Life in the Salt Creek Oil Field that new laws in the 1930s allowed companies to pool their interests and hire a single company to operate – drill, pump, and maintain – the fields.
Salt Creek Museum
Today, the Salt Creek oil field has produced more than 650 million barrels of oil over the last 100 years – and even more remains in the ground. Using advanced technologies, companies inject carbon dioxide into wells and the added pressure keeps oil flowing.
The Salt Creek Museum in Midwest displays artifacts and more than 4,000 photographs of the Salt Creek and Teapot Dome Naval Reserve No. 3 oilfields, illustrating the area’s history from 1889 to today, according to Curator Pauline Schultz. The museum holds a full set of Midwest Refining Company Books from 1920-1930.
The Salt Creek field, about 40 miles north of Casper, was once among the largest light crude oil fields in the world. It became famous for its gushers and a pipeline to a Casper refinery was built in 1911. Salt Creek was surpassed in the 1920s by the nearby Teapot Dome, the source of financial scandal during the Warren G. Harding administration.
Explorer Fails as Oilman
In 1917 the discredited Arctic expedition leader Dr. Frederick Albert Cook conducted geological explorations in Wyoming for his newly formed company, the Texas Eagle Oil Company of Fort Worth. Soon, the once famous controversial explorer’s fraudulent claims lead to several failed oil company ventures, a mail fraud conviction and jail time. Learn more in Arctic Explorer turns Oil Promoter.
The American Oil & Gas Historical Society preserves U.S. petroleum history. Support this AOGHS.ORG energy education website with a contribution today. For membership information, contact [email protected] © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.
The quest for speed perhaps began when Mrs. Karl Benz secretly took her husband’s car on the first road trip in 1882. Steam and electric vehicles would soon compete with the cantankerous combustion of gasoline engines.
As engine technologies evolved, high-octane but dangerous enhancers like tetraethyl gas were adopted for aviation. On the ground, as competition intensified for a land speed record, kerosene-based rocket fuel powered blistering, new milestones.
But in 1970, a sleek blue feat of engineering set the world record of 630 mph. The Blue Flame was powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). In recent years, a growing abundance of U.S. natural gas supplies promises innovation for applying what is often called the “fuel of the future.”
Racing for World Speed Records
Throughout the 20th century, land speed records were set with vehicles powered by steam, electricity, and all manner of petroleum distillates.
National pride was often at stake as British, American, French, Belgian, German, and Italian teams fielded competing machines. The world’s first land speed record was set by a Frenchman in 1898. Count Gaston De Chasseloup-Laubat, driving an electric-powered car, achieved 39.24 mph.
After decades of more traditional internal combustion fueled records, mainly by the British, by the 1960s, American innovation – at Utah’s famed Bonneville’s Salt Flats – took mankind’s need for speed to a new level. Jet engines began pushing the land record to previously unthinkable levels.
Jet Propellant 4 (JP-4), the U.S. Air Force’s primary jet fuel until the late 1990s, offered a powerful blend of kerosene and naphtha. On the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1963, the fuel proved to be as good on the ground as it was in the air.
In August of 1963, the Spirit of America, a radical new design created by Craig Breedlove, used a $500 surplus jet engine that burned this kerosene-based JP-4 to run 407.45 mph. Breedlove’s jet-powered machine brought the land speed record back to the United States from England after an absence of more than 30 years.
However, just nine months later, Art Arfons, a drag racer from Ohio, took the land record after clocking 434 mph with his Green Monster using JP-4 in an afterburner-equipped jet engine.
Not to be outdone, Breedlove soon returned to Bonneville with his Spirit of America and pushed to a new record of 526 mph. Arfons in turn responded with a run 10 mph faster. And so it went over three years of competition.
Breedlove’s Spirit of America Sonic 1 ultimately triumphed over Arfons’ Green Monsters and exceeded 600 mph to set a record that would not be bested until 1970 – when natural gas made its spectacular rocket fuel debut at Bonneville.
Rocket Science: The X-1 Dragster
The Blue Flame sprang from the imaginations of three Milwaukee, Wisconsin, men with a passion for speed: Dick Keller, Ray Dausman and later Pete Farnsworth.
In the summer of 1964 Keller, employed by the Chicago-based Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute, became friends with Dausman, who was working on a propellant research contract for NASA. “Around this time, a keen amateur hot rodder called Dick Keller had just got married,” notes a June 2011 article in Octane magazine. “As a condition of accepting his proposal, his new wife insisted he give up drag racing. But he didn’t lose his interest in fast cars.”
The article explains that Keller and Dausman often lunched together. After sharing many “wild engineering ideas” and concepts, “We were scribbling on napkins and stuff – then we thought we would look at a rocket-powered dragster,” Keller is quoted.
The pair designed, built and successfully tested a small, prototype rocket motor giving 25 pounds of thrust. As they prepared a larger version, Keller designed a chassis and “they drafted in part-time hot rod builder Pete Farnsworth to help,” notes the Octane article.
The speed enthusiasts also formed a company called Reaction Dynamics Inc.
In April 1967, their rocket propelled dragster, the X-1, was complete. Its motor delivered 2,500 pounds of thrust using hydrogen peroxide as the propellant. “This showed well on the drag strips and within a season was outrunning the top-fuellers and jet dragsters,” the article adds.
Over a two-month period in 1967, the X-1 raced every major turbojet-powered dragster in the nation – and had a lower elapsed time in each race.
Keller says the record-breaking success with the X-1 dragster and its 2,500 pound thrust rocket enabled Reaction Dynamics to consider scaling up to a 22,500 pound thrust engine using liquefied natural gas (LNG) and hydrogen peroxide.
It was about this time that the Institute of Gas Technology (IGT), then the research and development arm of a national association of natural gas companies, saw the potential of industry sponsorship of a natural gas fueled attempt at the land speed record.
“When the Breedloves and the Arfonses and so forth were setting records, they had to find a surplus jet engine to do the job,” Keller notes. “With us, we felt all we had to do was decide how much power we needed – we could build a rocket to do it.” Thus began the Blue Flame project in 1968.
Birth of The Blue Flame Project
Keller notes that following the X-1’s final run in September 1968 at the Oklahoma City Dragway, the natural gas industry began taking notice of their work at Reaction Dynamics.
The American Gas Association (AGA), headquartered in Washington, D.C., recognized an opportunity to educate the public.
“We had a big meeting – you can see the guys in the suits,” he says. “These are all gas industry executives there to see firsthand what we could do with the X-1. They agreed at this event to sponsor the Blue Flame officially.”
Keller notes that with the growing environmental movement, AGA executives saw the value of educating consumers. “The Blue Flame was really ‘green’ – it was fueled by clean-burning natural gas and hydrogen peroxide,” he explains. “It was the greenest world land speed record set in the 20th century.”
Although natural gas had long been considered an alternative fuel for the transportation sector, much of the public was unaware of this cleaner burning power source. “It was a promotion of the safety and usefulness of liquefied natural gas.” Pete Farnsworth explained in a 2007 interview.
“There were nine graduate engineers working on masters degrees for theses on various aspects of the design of the Blue Flame: structures, dynamics, aerodynamics, wheel design, all sorts of things,” Farnsworth added. About 70 Illinois Institute of Technology undergraduates would also become involved in the final design.
The 38-foot, 6,500-pound Blue Flame was powered by a rocket motor that combined liquefied natural gas and highly purified hydrogen peroxide. The motor could produce 22,500 pounds of thrust – roughly 58,000 horsepower. AGA originally budgeted $165,000 for the project. Although more than $250,000 was ultimately spent, on October 23, 1970, the Blue Flame rewarded its supporters with a new Federation Internationale de l’Automobile official world land speed record of 630.388 mph in the kilometer, 622.407 mph in the mile.
Remarkably, the Blue Flame’s world land speed record will stand for more than a decade before the British retake it in 1983 using the turbojet-powered Thrust 2 breaking the mile record. The Blue Flame’s kilometer record, however, will not be broken until 1997 by Thrust SSC.
The current record, set on October 15, 1997, is by the United Kingdom’s twin-turbofan JP-4-burning Thrust SSC – Super Sonic Car. Driven by a Royal Air Force pilot, Thrust SSC reaches 763 mph – and is the first land vehicle to break the sound barrier.
Today, a volunteer American team of engineers has converted a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter into the North American Eagle for a 2013 attempt to bring the world land speed record back to America.
With some adjustments, Keller says his LNG rocket car could still be a contender.
“It was built to go supersonic. We were sure we could get over 800 miles per hour,” Keller maintains. “We were actually operating at about 13,000 to 14,000 pounds of thrust and we had a 22,500 pound thrust capability. So we really had dialed it back for what was intended to be the first year of a multiyear project.”
Germany Museum Fate of the Blue Flame
The Blue Flame toured the country following its October 1970 world record. A fiberglass version is said to have toured Europe. AGA’s natural gas marketing aspirations were met thanks in part to the rocket car’s skilled (and photogenic) driver, Gary Gabelich of Long Beach, California. Gabelich appeared on news, talk and variety television shows – including “The Dating Game.”
However, when industry executives, racing enthusiasts and others made an effort to have the historic natural gas vehicle displayed in a U.S . museum, there were no takers.
“Pathetic, since Breedlove’s Spirit of America is in the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry and The Blue Flame’s roots were in Chicago, and it was built in Milwaukee,” laments Dick Keller.
“The car was purchased for a song ($10,000) by a private collector in Europe, then later acquired by the museum in Sinsheim (Germany),” he adds. “Because it was the first to exceed 1,000 kilometers per hour, it was a bigger sensation in Europe than in the U.S.A.”
Today, natural gas supplies nearly one-fourth of U.S. energy, according to the AGA. Most natural gas demand comes from electricity generators – because it is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel.
The historical society’s volunteer contributing senior researcher and editor, Col. Kris Wells, a retired USAF filmmaker, interviewed Dick Keller in 2013. Kris produced a 26-minute video from the Blue Flame creator’s original 16-mm color film.
Henry Ford’s 1904 Land Speed Record
The land speed record came to the United States in 1904 when Henry Ford wanted to prove to the world that his cars were built better than anyone else’s,” notes one speed-record historian in Australia.
On January 12 at Lake St. Clair, Michigan, near Detroit, Ford bounced his Ford Arrow across the frozen lake to reach an average speed of 91.37 mph. He remarked of the run, after retirement, that it had scared him so bad that he never again wanted to climb into a racing car.
“The No. 999, little more than a giant engine encased in a wood frame with a seat and a metal bar for steering, thundered across the lake,” reports historian Cameron Rogers in a 2013 article for Downshift Autos.
With the news of his record spread around the country, his new car company got a much needed boost at becoming one of the most successful automobile manufacturers in history. Learn more in Cantankerous Combustion – First U.S. Auto Show.
The American Oil & Gas Historical Society preserves U.S. petroleum history. Support this AOGHS.ORG energy education website with a contribution today. For membership information, contact [email protected] © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.
Colorado Rising, the group behind Proposition 112, has repeatedly insisted the measure is a local, grassroots effort that “is absolutely not a ban on the industry.”
But if there were any lingering doubts about Proposition 112’s true purpose – to completely ban oil and gas development in Colorado – and who is actually behind it – national anti-fracking groups – the fact that “Keep It In the Ground” celebrity activist Bill McKibben headlined a dinner and auction in support of Prop 112 tonight in Englewood should put those doubts to rest.
In case you’ve lost count, McKibben is the third major national “Keep It In the Ground” activist Colorado Rising has parachuted into Colorado in the past month alone. As EID previously reported, Gasland Director Josh Fox and New Yorkers Against Fracking founder Sandra Steingraber have also visited Colorado in recent weeks. But more on that in a minute.
To be perfectly clear, these national activists aren’t coming through town to advocate for grassroots efforts aimed at implementing common sense regulations. Their goal is to ban oil and gas development everywhere, plain and simple, and they know that passage of Prop 112 could create the national momentum desperately needed to advance that ultimate objective. The following promotional write-up for this evening’s “Night of Inspiration with Bill McKibben” clearly articulates that fact,
“Join us for a dinner party with renowned author and founder of 350.org Bill McKibben! Bill and local organizers of Proposition 112 will speak about the significance of this grassroots effort, which will protect all Colorado communities against fracking and creates a precedent for action across the nation. If Prop 112 is successful, this will be the biggest environmental action in the country this year. Don’t miss this special evening and opportunity to show your support!”
McKibben’s “Night of Inspiration” didn’t exactly go as planned, as #VoteNoon112 proponents crashed the party.
But McKibben is so passionate about Prop 112 that he’ll follow up tonight’s event with a “Prop 112 Pep Rally! Phone bank & Canvass!” Saturday morning in Colorado Springs.
For those unfamiliar with McKibben, he is the co-founder of environmentalist activism group 350.org. Among their top priorities is advocating for an uncompromising 100 percent renewable energy transition. McKibben has previously stated he’s on a mission to “kill” the oil and natural gas industry, and has compared the industry to “the crimes of slavery, totalitarianism, colonialism [and] apartheid” and Nazi Germany.
Suffice it to say, he is not a moderate.
McKibben proposed that the Democratic National Committee include a national fracking ban in its platform in 2016, which the party wisely rejected. McKibben is also known for launching the fossil fuel divestment movement.
Both 350.org and fellow national anti-fracking group Food & Water Watch ($190,000 as of July 20) have donated tens of thousands of dollars to Prop 112’s proponents at Colorado Rising.
These donations from national anti-fracking groups into a statewide Colorado ballot measure shows the disingenuous nature of claims that Prop 112 is a grassroots effort.
McKibben is just the latest in a parade of national anti-fracking activists to travel to Colorado and campaign in support for Prop 112.
Just last month, Josh Fox was in Boulder performing a one-man-show, “The Truth Has Changed.” Remember, Josh Fox is the director of the misleading and decidedly anti-fracking documentary, “Gasland.” EID has done extensive debunks of the claims represented in the film, available here.
After his performance concluded, Fox turned to the audience, spoke in support of Prop 112 and then said, “Let’s do this! Let’s ban fracking in Colorado!” He then tweeted this picture to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis:
Hey @jaredpolis– These great folks in Boulder last night at THE TRUTH HAS CHANGED want you to support the truth and vote yes on the fracking #proposition112 to keep our kids safe! #frackingharms. @RepJaredPolis @ColoradoRising @OurRevolution pic.twitter.com/UNB2AeiMAb
— Josh Fox (@joshfoxfilm) September 26, 2018
Who sponsored Fox’s performance? No other than Colorado Rising. The same group who portends that Prop 112 is simply a common-sense regulation aimed at health and safety, and not a ban on fracking.
But that’s not all.
The founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking was also in town recently singing Prop 112’s praises. Sara Steingraber was in Denver a few weeks ago promoting her new documentary entitled, “Unfractured.” She encouraged Coloradans to draw inspiration from her own successful fight to ban fracking in her home state.
“I want you to know you’ve captured the whole nation’s attention.”
“What you’re doing here now is being watched by everyone… That’s what we discovered in New York – that when you act heroically, you break a spell of other people who are so caught up in their self-defeatism and despair. And they begin to realize you only have one life – why not be the super hero that our kids think that we are, right?”
“What I discovered is I’m willing to go into jail.”
How did she go about banning fracking in New York? Turns out, she was the peer-reviewer of research that was promoted as “bona fide scientific literature” and used to justify the ban. Only problem is she failed to disclose the very clear and jarring conflicts of interest, violating various codes of conduct in the process.
Add Bill McKibben to the mix and you have three of the most prominent anti-fracking activists pushing for Prop 112. Tells you a little something about what the measure will actually accomplish if it passes, doesn’t it?
The post McKibben’s ‘Night of Inspiration’ Again Confirms Prop 112 is Really About Banning Fracking appeared first on .
Source: Energy In Depth
A new U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report this week finds the PJM Interconnection, which is the United States’ largest competitive wholesale electricity market, increased its natural gas capacity from 2013 to 2017 by about 18 percent – more than any other U.S. regional electricity organization. As EIA explains,
“Relatively lower natural gas prices – in part because of PJM’s proximity to Appalachian natural gas production – have been a primary driver for increasing natural gas capacity factors.”
PJM ensures the reliable movement of electricity across a wide range of states that include the Appalachian Basin shale plays in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia that currently produce about 29.4 billion cubic feet of gas per day. As the following map shows, in addition to the previously mentioned states, Appalachian Basin natural gas is now being used to help power PJM’s market in all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
The EIA report notes that from 2013 to 2017, PJM retired 14.4 gigawatts (GW) – about 19 percent of the market’s total capacity – of coal-fired power plants and 1.8 GW of natural gas-fired power plants, at the same time as an additional 11 GW of natural gas capacity was added.
That 11 GW of new capacity includes three plants that are running entirely on natural gas from the Appalachian Basin. The Panda Liberty facility in Bradford County, Pa., became operational in October 2016 and was the first power plant to be built to run entirely on Marcellus Shale gas. It was quickly followed by a second Marcellus Shale natural gas-fired plant, Panda Patriot, which began operations in Lycoming County, Pa. in November 2016. These two facilities each added 825 megawatts (MW) – a combined 1.65 GW – to the PJM market and are capable of supplying electricity to roughly two million homes.
Oregon Clean Energy Center (OCEC), located in Lucas County, Ohio, is an 870 MW natural gas-fired power plant that became operational in July 2017. OCEC is supplied with natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shales via the Generation Pipeline.
More Retirements and Natural Gas Capacity Coming
As EID’s recent report on power plant investment in the Appalachian Basin explained, there have been several recent announcements that additional coal and nuclear facilities will be closing in that region of the PJM market over the next few years. Those retirements will be largely offset by adding natural gas capacity, as PJM recently explained to E&E News:
“Any potential reliability impacts will be addressed by a combination of already planned baseline transmission upgrades and the completion of new baseline upgrades.”
In the PJM states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia alone, 26 power plants – representing more than 23 GW of natural gas capacity and nearly $23 billion in investments – began commercial operations in 2018, are currently under construction or are in the works. EID’s recent infographic offers more details on those 26 facilities, as well as Patriot, Liberty and OCEC:
As EIA’s analysis of the PJM Interconnection demonstrates, the Appalachian Basin’s record-shattering natural gas production is already being used to power states across the market region. And as EID’s report shows, this is only the beginning for regionally supplied natural gas power generation.
The post EIA: Marcellus, Utica Shales Driving Natural Gas Electricity Growth in PJM Market appeared first on .
Source: Energy In Depth
Source: BOE Report
Source: BOE Report