Proper Assessment of Shale Oil

by Catherine Parsekian

According to the results of a study done in China by Li et. al (2016), there is no method for measuring oil potential in shale reservoirs that includes both residual oil contents in the rocks as well as hydrocarbon expulsion and migration conditions. Li and his colleagues developed soon an index for determining oil potential. If the index is greater than zero, then some of the oil has migrated to external reservoirs which means that it has poor shale oil potential. Li et. al. argue that because current methods include absorbed, as well as free hydrocarbons, they are overvaluing the shale oil and not looking at oil that can readily be used. The method developed in this paper has multiple parameters and is a more comprehensive measurement since it takes into account oil saturation, free oil content, and shale oil expulsion. Continue reading

Proper Assessment of Shale Oil

by Catherine Parsekian

According to the results of a study done in China by Li et. al (2016), there is no method for measuring oil potential in shale reservoirs that includes both residual oil contents in the rocks as well as hydrocarbon expulsion and migration conditions. Li and his colleagues developed soon an index for determining oil potential. If the index is greater than zero, then some of the oil has migrated to external reservoirs which means that it has poor shale oil potential. Li et. al. argue that because current methods include absorbed, as well as free hydrocarbons, they are overvaluing the shale oil and not looking at oil that can readily be used. The method developed in this paper has multiple parameters and is a more comprehensive measurement since it takes into account oil saturation, free oil content, and shale oil expulsion. Continue reading

Trump Moves to Continue Construction of the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline

by Lauren Bollinger

On his second weekday in office, President Trump filed an executive order to reopen construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a project that was formerly blocked by the Obama administration after months of protests by Native American activists. The 1,172 mile-long pipeline is slated to run through four states, from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota through Illinois, and transport around half a million (470,000) barrels of crude oil per day.

Originally planned for delivery by January 1st of this year, the project was stalled after widespread protests led by Native American activists which gained international attention. In the early stages of planning, the pipeline was proposed to run through Bismarck, North Dakota, but was rerouted to run adjacent to the Standing Rock Reservation, after concerns from Bismarck residents. Members of the Standing Rock Sioux oppose the project as they argue it threatens environmental safety and indigenous sovereignty, as the pipeline is slated to run only a mile from their tribal borders. Continue reading

Federal Leasing of Gulf Waters for Fossil Fuels Meet Protests

by Max Breitbarth

While the United States publicly seeks to shift its energy usage to greener sources, a recent New Orleans federal auction—and the protests created in response—demonstrate that the United States is far from over its oil addiction. CNN’s John D. Sutter details the scene at an auction at New Orleans’ Superdome, where environmental protesters objected to the government’s lease of federal property in the Gulf of Mexico for fossil fuel development. Continue reading

Samsø Inspiration

by Chloe Rodman

New York Times’ Diane Cardwell (2015) writes about the impact that Samso, a 44 square-foot island off the coast of Denmark, has been making in regards to clean energy production. A majority of the island’s 3,800 citizens decided that they no longer wanted to rely on foreign, costly fossil fuels. Rather, they made it their goal to become completely powered by green energy. This $80 million project has resulted in 10 wind turbines as well as solar, geothermal and plant- based energy systems. These four methods have allowed the island to thrive, producing more energy than it consumes. Samso, which used to be primarily dependent on coal and diesel, has become a role model for many other islands around the globe, which are also striving to wean off of fossil fuels. The Samso Energy Academy was created to educate others about new forms of green energy. Many individuals are sent to the academy to learn about the island’s methods and return home to teach their own communities about the changes they can make. Continue reading

Solazyme Agal Biofuel Production in the United States

by Mariah Valerie Barber

In early February 2014, in Galva, Iowa at the American Natural Products (ANP) facility and in Clinton, Iowa, at the Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), Solazyme, Inc., began its commercial production of algal biofuel and oil. Solazyme, a San Francisco based firm utilizes microalgae, which it refers to as “the world’s original oil producer,” in order to produce biofuel (Solazyme.com). Solazyme creates oil from microalgae by a process of industrial fermentation, during which the microalgae is not fed with solar energy, but with sugar, which results in the production oil. Using industrial fermentation speeds up the natural chemical processes, which algae undergo. Once the microalgae produce the oil, the oil is extracted and made ready for commercial use. Even before the facilities in Iowa opened, Solazyme has had facilities in both Peoria and Orindiúva, Brazil. Peoria has the capacity to manufacture 2,000 metric tons of oil per year whereas the new facilities now are each able to produce 100,000 metric tons of oil per year (Clean Technica.com). Solayzme, which claims to be the first oil producer, has potential to drastically transform the oil industry and its reliance on fossil fuels. Continue reading

Protecting Alaskan Wilderness At What Cost?

by Abigail Wang

As President Obama finishes his last term, he’s rolling full steam ahead with his environmental and energy policies. In a move that left environmentalists, oil companies, and politicians upset, the president announced the Interior Department’s plans to prevent future oil and gas production in major parts of Alaska, but support development along the East Coast. The Obama administration wants to designate 12.28 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), including the coastal plains in Alaska, as “Wilderness”. Wilderness is the highest level of protection available for public lands; it prohibits mining, drilling, roads, vehicles, and the establishment of permanent structures in select areas. Over seven million acres are currently managed as wilderness because of the National Interests Lands Conservation Act of 1980, but more than 60% of the ANWR is not listed as such. Continue reading

The 6 Myths of Divestment in Fossil Fuel Industries

by Chloe Rodman

Across the nation and the world, colleges, universities, churches and other foundations and organizations are participating in the divestment movement by withdrawing their investments from companies that contribute to climate change through carbon emissions. Currently, 50 corporations have committed $50 billion in divestments. Surprisingly, the major oil company Rockefeller has committed $860 million to the cause. A representative from the company reported that they felt both morally and economically inclined to do so. Not only does the divestment help the fight to reduce carbon emissions, but Rockefeller also previously had a large portion of their money invested in reserves that are now to remain in the ground, untouched. Continue reading