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Discussion > The price of fracking

Now The Donald has been elected do you think he'll want the bits of Scotland which were once part of North America back again?

Nov 9, 2016 at 9:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

SandyS. It could be argued the other way. Caledonian Europe (much of Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia) could with equal justification claim back the Appalachians (from Newfoundland down to the Cotton belt).

On the other hand, perhaps her first ministership might approach the Donald to reunite, becoming the 51st state.

I also believe that Trump already owns tracts of Scotland already.

Nov 9, 2016 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterACK

It was that relationship which prompted the question. There is a long established link between the Scottish Highlands and North America, and Trump himself had a Scottish mother, born in Lewis so English probably wasn't her mother tongue.

Nov 9, 2016 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Scottish mothers have much to answer for.

Nov 9, 2016 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterACK

SandyS & ACK, the geological similarities are such that New England/Canada even have their own Loch Ness Monster, in Lake Champlain. He/she/it is known as Champ, or Champy, which is not as imaginative as Nessie.

It is a pity that primeval life was not spotted in nearby Lake Winniepesaukee, as some slightly more imaginative names could have evolved over a few centuries. Winniepesaukee reminded me of Loch Ness, but the water is warmer to swim in during summer.

Nov 9, 2016 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

GolfCharlie. Wikki suggests an exotic stone of Lake Winniepesaukee has holes drilled in it by ancient(?) power tools. Are we suggesting anything by this or do you just like the name of the lake?

I once heard a talk by a geologist professor from the Maritimes who had worked on rocks older than the split that tore apart the ancient mountains of the Canadian Appalachians from their eqivalents in Morocco. He "proved" this separation by first showing a slide of a rock slab from Nova Scotia with fossil of half a fish. His next slide was from Morocco - a rock slabe with seemingly the other half of the same fish. It brought the house down (although I suppose you had to be there) and he was attacked by paper darts. Some geology meetings were such fun!!!

Nov 9, 2016 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK

ACK, Southern States of the USA are going to need a lot of Fracking Gas, to fire the kilns, to make all the bricks, to build THAT wall.

Will it be visible from space? I am sure many Mexicans will be eager to help, and very enthusiastic about checking the quality of the pointing on the North face, as they go, especially how it looks from a few hundred yards away, or more.

Nov 9, 2016 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

ACK, I have swum in Lake Winniepesaukee! If my memory serves, it means "big lake in the valley between the wooded mountains". It is a beautiful area.

Nov 9, 2016 at 10:45 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

gC. I have swum in Loch Ness, but I wouldn't bring it up in polite society. Cannot tell if it were beautiful because of the rain.

Nov 10, 2016 at 6:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterACK

ACK, I have not actually swum in Loch Ness, but I did pull somebody out of Loch Ness, who had not meant to go for a swim. I have ended up swimming in Loch Tay, and have never tried to water ski again.

Nov 10, 2016 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golf charlie/ACK
Some of those Scottish Lochs can be a bit dangerous for the unwary. There are places in a lot of them where you can walk out in gently shelving water and then step off into very cold water hundreds of feet deep.

In researching the comment about water skiing on Loch Tay I looked at Loch Earn, which I'm familiar with and has had water sports since at least the 1960s. As a result I discovered that

Loch Earn is unusual in that it has its own apparent 'tidal system', or seiche,[2][3] caused by the action of the prevailing wind blowing along the loch. This wind pressure on the surface causes the water level to build up at one end of the loch. As with all damped mechanical systems, applied pressure can result in an oscillation, and the water will return to the opposite end of the loch over time. In the case of Loch Earn, this has a period of 16 hours and the effect can be measured, but is difficult to observe. The resulting currents can create complex turbulence patterns, as higher layers of warmer waters mix with the lower lying colder waters of the loch.

Thanks to Wikipedia

It's a bad day when you don't learn something new.

Nov 10, 2016 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

SandyS, in the non tidal Mediterranean I have seen sea level rise by 100mm in 10 minutes as a result of air pressure changes. I have also seen sea level rise and fall 600mm about every 20 minutes in a long thin inlet with a V shaped mouth. I was told this was due to waves with a long wavelength, like a series of mini tsunamis. It was initially scary!

I can well understand how legends amongst seafarers originated, and that lochs and lakes with no obvious flow of water can develop significant and potentially fatal currents.

Wikipedia refers to Scotland having the world's third largest natural whirlpool. I have never seen it.

Nov 10, 2016 at 11:39 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

SandyS, further to the above, I have just been googling!

The entrance to Vliho Bay, Island of Levkas, Greece was the 100mm sealevel rise in 10 minutes

Vrboska, Island of Hvar, Croatia was the sea level rising/falling 600mm. Zooming out on Google maps shows the topography. Vliho Bay is a bit like a corrie in shape, surrounded by mountains. It is known for very localised and strong winds and downdrafts. Vrboska has an entrance designed to trap and "funnel" long wave lengths.

Nov 10, 2016 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golf charlie
I've never seen Corryvreckan either, but film on TV is impressive. The world's an amazing place, thanks for the information.

Going back on topic I have come across a couple of references to re-fracking recently. I wonder if this is the latest ploy in the campaign against fracking?

Nov 10, 2016 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

SandyS. Re-fracking is not an uncommon practice for oil wells, although I'm uncertain if the economics are favourable for gas wells. Fracking opens up fractures that allows oil to flow toward the well more easily. Eventually, over time the oil that can be drained is produced but still may leave much oil near the well but undrained. Alternatively, the material injected into the fractures to keep them open (commonly sand) moves around and the fractures partially close. Semi-solid moving bitumen may also move towards the well clogging it up. If it is believed the value of any further produced oil will repay more than the costs of re-fracking, rocks around the well may be re-fractured by injected high pressured fluids again.

So communities that have experienced the downsides of fracking - noise, traffic and so on - could face it all over again.

Nov 10, 2016 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK

So communities that have experienced the downsides of fracking - noise, traffic and so on - could face it all over again.

Nov 10, 2016 at 4:29 PM | ACK

ACK, the noise and traffic for setting up a fracking site, and a windturbine site are presumably comparable? I have never done either, but site access, erecting drilling rig v foundations, drilling v construction/assembly. Drilling is through sedimentary rocks not granite. Etc etc.

How long does fracking itself actually last? One event? A series over a day or week or month? Thereafter a fracking well is just a discrete noiseless wellhead. A wind turbine is visibly more irritating when it is not working, and audibly irritating when it is.

Film footage of fields of noisy diesel engined "nodding donkeys" pumping oil out of Texan oil wells is what the anti-frackers want to convey, and I am not sure that the actual noise and traffic occurring again is really much to worry about.

Nov 10, 2016 at 6:14 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golfCharlie. You are not playing fair. I made no reference to wind turbines and to the relative inconvenience caused by fracked wells or turbines. The negatives of fracked wells are extended over several weeks or months when the well is being drilled. I have never experienced a modern fracking operation but suspect it would take no more than a few days at most. The main inconvenience would seem to be the heavy traffic needed to bring to the site all the water and other materials to be injected. This has been one of the main reasons for rejecting planning operations - the local narrow roads not being capable of withstanding the loads.

Nov 10, 2016 at 6:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterACK

ACK, sorry I was not trying to be unfair, merely trying to get some kind of comparison when "noise and traffic" are thrown into the equation.

Living on the South Downs, which has had Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty status (AONB) for a few(?) decades, but is now National Park, does not give immunity from wind turbines or possibly fracking.

The plant, machinery and tankers required for fracking will go on normal road going lorrys. Wind turbine blades will not. I have never seen a wind turbine tower in transit, to know how sectional it is, but I do have a bit of experience around road going mobile cranes.

If I had to have one in the next field, I would prefer a fracking site to a wind turbine, and there is no UK evidence to prove otherwise!

Nov 10, 2016 at 11:43 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Living in Texas, I see the rigs, fracking supplies, wind power blades, tower components, etc. I also see the fields in production and the windmills. The blades go on special long trailers. The pylons are sectional. The fracking is regular sized trucks, except for the portable rig. You can see the windmills from miles away. The finished wells are seen only if they are near the road. It must take some amazing mental gymnastics to contort one's thinking to rationalize wind mills.

Nov 11, 2016 at 5:38 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

golfCharlie. "The plant, machinery and tankers required for fracking will go on normal road going lorrys"
Yes, and that's the problem. Many of the drilling sites are very rural, served only by narrow and twisting minor roads that are totally unsuitable for "normal road-going lorrys". Roads will either have to be modified or will be damaged. The volume of traffic (although ephemeral) will be horrendous. If oil is produced, however, it may be transported away by road tanker - a continued source of local irritation and constituting a hazard.
If local inhabitants are given a small monetary over-ride, they probably deserve it.

Nov 11, 2016 at 7:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterACK

I was assuming that re-fracking didn't involve much re-drilling, isn't this the case?

Nov 11, 2016 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

I'm not sure what the situation in the UK is but in this part of France there is a fair amount of heavy traffic on very narrow rural roads. Mainly of an agricultural nature but even a modern tractor means a cyclist has to be aware of wheels over 6' high within a couple of feet and lorry loads of sheep round the next corner. I suspect rural roads in the UK aren't exclusively populated by two seater sports cars out for the afternoon and little old ladies getting the weekend shopping.

Nov 11, 2016 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

SandyS. You are now testing the limits of what I know. Modern fracking techniques were developed just after I left the industry and most of my contacts had little to do with this technology. I believe most re-fracking jobs involve minimal redrilling but I don't know what has to happen to any bottom hole casing or cement. The problem for local inhabitants is that during refracking large numbers of water tankers and the pumps have to employed at the well, causing additional inconvenience and noise.
I expect in some cases the bottom parts of the well might be redrilled, but the main vertical part of the well bore wouldn't need to be.

Nov 11, 2016 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterACK

SandyS, golfCharlie. Suggest you consult images of "Hydraulic Fracking Equipment on Site" on Google or Bing for an appreciation of the magnitude of the problem that local residents might face.

Nov 11, 2016 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterACK

ACK, coming from the sort of rural area that has had big lorries wedging themselves stuck around tight narrow bends on "sunken lanes", I do have some understanding of how things can go wrong. I have also driven tractors towing large trailers full of wheat, and very long trailers piled high with bales.

Things have improved a bit now, but the introduction of GPS Sat Nav actually made things worse, with some vehicles being taken on "short cuts" and detours.

The refurb/rebuild of one large house, construction of 2 more, and another major refurb of a cottage, have created a bit of havoc over the last few years, especially from articulated lorries bearing machinery and materials. The lanes are little more than successive layers of tarmac on chalk. The wheelbase width of some vehicles is the same as the roads, and even around gentle bends, the boundary between the edge of the tarmac, and the hedge, has become a crumbled mess. The last 2 winters have not seen much frost or snow, that would wreak havoc with the cracks in the tarmac. Very few roads are gritted or salted.

The internet age has actually INCREASED the number of vehicles doing deliveries, with all the specialist ceramic tiles, bathroom suites etc. People are no longer restricted to what is available to the builder, local builder's merchant or B&Q. As I was having to redirect a lot of delivery vehicles that had followed the wrong set of discrete notices, I have very personal and recent experience!

The worst damage may not be apparent until Spring, and it may have been caused by just one lorry driven badly or with an unusual load.

What steps are taken by the wind turbine developers to repair roads after they have damaged them? Environmentalists don't get worked up about Environmental damage or road traffic or noise that results. Double standards seem to be enforced by the Green Blob, when THEY say so.

Nov 11, 2016 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie