Fracking watch: Argentina figures out what CA hasn’t

May 3, 2013

By Chris Reed

The “brown energy” revolution is under way and nothing is going to prevent it from transforming world energy markets — especially not childish denial and petulance by California greens. Fossil fuels will be the dominant source of energy around the planet for decades to come, and while renewable sources of energy will be part of the picture, even The New York Times regularly acknowledges the folly and stupidity of “peak oil” rhetoric — at least implicitly — with articles such as this April 24 piece.

Yet in California, this big-picture perspective is almost completely missing. Incredibly enough, the first coverage of the committee-level approval in the state Legislature of measures blocking hydraulic fracturing did not note that the Obama administration considers fracking just another heavy industry, not the devil incarnate.

argentina-flagFracking sanity chapter No. 7: Argentina

But this is the norm. And this is why that starting last Saturday, every morning I’ve been blogging about the nations around the world that are embracing hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as a way to create jobs and wealth and on economic competitiveness grounds. Shockingly enough, they think that it’s a good thing to have cheap energy. So far I’ve covered GermanyChinaRussia, Saudi ArabiaBrazil and Canada. Today it’s the turn of Argentina, the eighth-largest nation by land mass in the world. As I have written on several occasions, the point of this series of blog posts is that the fracking/brown energy revolution is coming, regardless of what greens in the Golden State want, and that California can either join in the party or get left behind.

This is from an NPR report last year:

“As the wind whips across the scrub grass in southern Argentina, a crane unloads huge bags of artificial sand for oil workers preparing for the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of a well.

“Water mixed with chemicals and tiny ceramic beads are then blasted underground at high pressure. This mixture helps create fissures, allowing oil and natural gas to flow.

“Energy analysts believe there are billions of barrels of oil and gas buried in a desert-like patch in Patagonia.”

This is from UPI last month:

“CALGARY, Alberta, April 9 (UPI) — Canadian energy company, Americas Petrogas, announced it made a shale natural gas discovery onshore in the Vaca Muerta play in Argentina.

“The company said it discovered natural gas by hydraulically fracturing the Los Toldos I block in the Vaca Muerta shale formation. It said it was able to produce as much as 3.2 million cubic feet of natural gas during initial production tests. … The U.S. Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration estimates that Argentina has 774 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable shale gas resources, the third most in the world.”

Taking back shale reserves from foreign ‘exploiters’

The map at this petroleum industry site shows huge swaths of Argenina sit atop shale resources. It also discusses how Argentina, much like Middle Eastern states in the mid-20th century, has expropriated shale resources from foreign firms — in particular, a Spanish company called Repsol — under the argument that to let foreign firms profit off Argentine natural resources would be exploitative of the Argentine people.

Halliburton, the U.S. company that pioneered fracking, is also active in Argentina but has yet to face the Repsol treatment.

In Argentina, as in the great majority of nations around the world, cheap energy whose downside can be addressed with basic regulations is seen as an obvious good thing.

Not in California.

Fracking watch: Previous posts

No. 1: Germany

No. 2: China

No. 3: Russia

No. 4: Saudi Arabia

No. 5: Brazil

No. 6: Canada

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