the great frack forward china's coal addiction threatens the planet. but can it handle a natural gas revolution? - fitting a wall hung basin

by:KEDIBO     2019-09-08
the great frack forward china\'s coal addiction threatens the planet. but can it handle a natural gas revolution?  -  fitting a wall hung basin
Mom Jones: The story first appeared on mom Jones and was replicated here as part of the climate platform collaboration.
Early in the morning of last September, 144 US and Chinese government officials and senior officials
Top oil executives meet in an arched meeting room on a closed campus in southern Xi'an.
Terracotta Warriors and deadly smog
In 1958, the Communist Party built the compound called "Shaanxi Hotel.
This is part of the thread.
Before Chairman Mao's Great Leap Forward, the government built steel mills, coal mines, power stations and cement plants to surpass Western industrial achievements --
In the process, thousands of people were replaced, and a tenth of China's forests were cut down.
Despite its quaint name, the guesthouse is a huge group of concrete structures that stand out from the wide, neatly trimmed lawns and humans
Lakes dotted with stone bridges and pagodas.
The hotel also offers karaoke lounges, spa, tennis courts, shopping malls, beauty salons, etc.
Guests at the compound that week were preparing for another big leap forward: pushing for the export of the US fracking boom to China's vast shale fields --and beyond.
Attendees slide into the black leather chair behind the smooth rosewood table, facing the stage on either side of the large screen projector.
Chinese businessmen wearing high heels
Waist casual pants tied to the belly of the belt.
I looked at a business card with the logo Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon oil, and Burton.
Behind closed doors, a group of Chinese and American officials and executives held a "senior VIP meeting ".
"Outside, a group of People's Liberation Army guards advanced in tight formation. The US-
The China Oil and Gas Industry Forum, hosted by the US Department of Commerce and Energy and the China National Energy Administration, has been held for 13 years.
But the focus turned to shale gas in 2009, when President Obama and then-
President Hu Jintao announced an agreement to exploit China's vast resources.
The partnership laid the foundation for companies from both countries to reach deals worth tens of billions of dollars.
At 2013 Congress, the first American to reach the podium was Gary Locke, then US ambassador to China.
He wore a dark suit and a red stripe. and-purple tie;
His smooth black hair sparkled under the fluorescence.
"From Eagle Ford in Sichuan to Texas, from Bohai Bay to the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and Ohio, US and Chinese companies are investing and working together to increase energy production in both countries, he announced.
S. and Chinese companies are closely connected, and Air China has recently started offering direct flights between Beijing and Houston, "making business trips faster for many people gathered here.
"When young women in red vests quietly pass through each row and stop to pour tea, a soft, static voice of a Chinese translator penetrates through the headphones, and their pace is almost synchronized
The teacup on each table is filled with tiny steam, like a miniature chimney.
This seems appropriate, because behind all the discussions on new energy, there is an urgent need to get China out of decades of trouble --
Long-term addiction to coal.
Locke promised that shale gas would do this: "We can make further progress in improving energy efficiency, producing cleaner energy, increasing renewable energy and increasing supply ,"
"Unconventional natural gas, especially shale gas, has just started.
"There are two main reasons for China's new enthusiasm for natural gas.
As Michael Liebreich, founder of New Energy Finance, an energy market analysis company owned by Bloomberg LP, said, "One is to drive growth.
In order to continue to grow, there must be energy and it must be affordable.
But the other thing is they have to get the coal off the shelf.
Coal, which accounts for 70% of China's energy supply, makes China the world's second-largest supplier of energy.
The largest economy in decades.
However, coal burning has also caused irreparable damage to the environment and the health of Chinese citizens.
City officials were forced to close the road as drivers were blinded by soot and smog.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China has ordered pilots to learn to land aircraft at a low level.
Visibility conditions to avoid flight delays and cancellations.
Scientists wrote in the medical journal the Lancet that environmental particulate matter is mainly produced by cars and 3,000 of the country's coal.
One person died in a thermal power plant.
There were 2 million Chinese in 2010.
In 2013, an eightyear-
Analysis of confirmed cases of lung cancer in elderly girls in Jiangsu province
Her doctor thinks it's air pollution.
Earlier this year, scientists found up to 24% of air pollutants in sulfuric acid.
Causes of smog and heavy rain
In the western United States, Chinese factories produce export products.
"China's air quality has reached a critical point in public awareness," said Evan Osnos, a former Chinese journalist at The New Yorker and author of The Age of Ambition: Chasing wealth, confidence in new China.
"The political cause of the whole of China is based on bargaining: If you allow us to stay in power, we will make your life better.
"As more and more Chinese citizens need clean air and water, Chinese leaders and foreign businessmen have taken drastic measures to eliminate pollution.
Some local officials are trying to clear soot by seeding through clouds, during which chemicals are covered by rockets
The cloud makes it rain.
A company is developing a copper coil that will draw soot from the air with a charge like Hoover did.
Environmental officials in the northern city of Lanzhou tried to level the surrounding mountains and let the wind blow away the soot --
Do not confuse with the city's actual plan to demolish 700 mountains in order to expand its footprint to the Los Angeles area.
But China's efforts to withdraw from coal have also triggered a boom in developing alternative energy sources.
Natural gas deep in the shale formation is now the biggest competitor.
According to the latest estimates from the US Energy Information Administration, China's shale gas resources are the largest in the world.
7 times that of the United States.
So far, less than 200 wells have been drilled, but 800 are expected to be drilled next year.
At that time, China plans to extract 230 billion cubic feet of natural gas from underground shale every year.
Enough to support every family in Chicago for two years.
By 2020, production is expected to reach 4.
Six times the number.
As one energy investment consultant said, it is moving forward at "China's speed --
It took about twice as much time for the United States to reach that number.
However, as fracking moves from Pennsylvania and Texas to the Sichuan Mountains, questions about its risks and consequences follow.
If the fracking regulations in the United States are too weak, then in China, these regulations do not actually exist.
Tian Qinghua, an environmental researcher at the Sichuan Institute of Environmental Sciences, worries that China's hydraulic fracturing operations will repeat the patterns he has seen before.
"There is a phenomenon of 'pollution first, then clean up, '" he said '. ".
History is repeating itself.
"When my colleague James West and I traveled to China in last September, it didn't take long to see the consequences of China's coal addiction: James coughed badly the next day.
Train from Beijing to Xi'an
Probably the distance between San Francisco and Phoenix)
We cross some of China's most polluted areas at 150 miles an hour, including the northeastern city of Shijiazhuang, where smog reaches its third emergency level this year --
Twice as much as Beijing.
A thick mi hangs heavily on the corn ground, so low that it is difficult to see where the Earth has encountered a dark, gray sky.
Every few minutes, we pass by another huge coal.
The chimney of the thermal power plant continuously spews thick white smoke.
While we were traveling, villagers living near the fracking well had complained about the deafening noise of drilling machines, the smell of gas smoke, and strange substances in the water.
On the evening of last April, an explosion on a shale gas rig in a small town in the southwest of Jiaozuo caused residents to wake up and cause a fire, killing eight workers reportedly.
After the accident, an official from the Ministry of Environmental Protection said, "China's shale-rich areas are already ecologically fragile, crowded and sensitive to groundwater.
The impact cannot be estimated at this time.
The driver shouted to us in the back seat: "We call it shale state . "wheel-
Drive an SUV on a steep mountain in Sichuan province.
As we climbed up, the cloud had faded, revealing farmland with a bed dotted with flat or flattop houses.
We drove along a road with new hotels, small restaurants and hardware stores-
Logo for Boomtown.
About the size of Minnesota in the Sichuan Basin.
Where many experimental fracking wells are in China
There are 100 million people, many of whom are farmers.
This is not the only area in China that has shale gas, but fracking requires a lot of water, and this is also the case in Sichuan due to the subtropical climate and proximity to the Yangtze River, becoming the first fracking frontier in the country.
Every turn the road becomes more narrow and muddy until we stop in front of a gate with a tall red behind it --and-
The White rig is as high as the lush mountains around it.
The shale gas wells we own at China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC (CNPC)
One of the largest energy companies in the United States and a leading oil producer.
Since Mao Zedong announced the founding of New China, most people in China have been on holiday that week to commemorate 64 years, but there is no sign of rest here.
The workers in red jumpsuit drove past the heavy truck.
In search of shale gas, a drill rotates 3,280 feet underground, making a harsh sound while spinning 24 hours a day.
We asked an engineer from Li Wei to say hello to us and look out under the helmet. In his mid-
When he was in his 20 s, he received a brand new degree and worked for a Chinese energy company owned by Schlumberger in Houston --
Oil services.
On last July, Schlumberger opened a 32,000-square-
The foot lab in the area is dedicated to extracting hydrocarbons from shale gas resources.
Like many other engineers at Xinjing in China, Li has never worked on hydraulic fracturing before.
We watched him drive away the children nearby and they were playing next to a brick building that spans a pool marked "dangerous" as if it were their tree house.
In the beginning, Li said, the drilling here was not going well: "We had a leak and things fell into the well.
"So they have to slow down.
Still, the team plans to drill about eight more new wells in the area in the coming months.
Early hydraulic fracturing operations in China face many risks, but the motivation to continue drilling is too good to miss.
According to early sampling, Liebreich of Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that the cost of shale gas mining in China is about twice that of the United States.
Analysts expect these costs to fall as China gains experience, but even at current levels shale gas production is down 40% --
More ideal in geopolitics
Not imported natural gas.
As China's demand for natural gas continues to grow,
From 2012 to 2013, it grew 15 times as much as the rest of the world.
Liebreich said domestic reserves will become more and more important: if China can continue to mine shale gas at its current cost, it will be a game --changer.
The International Energy Agency announced in June that the "golden age" of natural gas rooted in North America is now spreading to China.
All these increases are accompanied by a steep learning curve.
Fracking requires well-trained engineers who use specialized equipment to mix a large amount of water with chemicals and sand and shoot it to the ground under high pressure to crush dense shale layers, and release a mixture of gas, water and other deposits to the surface.
That's why there are a lot of gains for service companies like schlenberg and Harry Burton: China needs technology and knowledge --how—
And willing to pay a considerable fee.
"Selling picks and shovels for the gold rush is an analogy," librich said . ".
Then, it's no wonder that the multinational oil and gas giants have won a big victory.
On 2012, Royal Dutch Shell signed a contract with PetroChina.
A company executive has pledged to invest about $1 billion a year in shale gas over the next few years.
BP, Chevron, Exxon and Hess have also signed joint ventures to explore the prospect of shale gas with Chinese energy companies.
In return, Chinese companies have invested in fracking technology in the United States.
Sinopec, China National Energy Corporation, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (2010 (CNOOC)And country-
Sinochem has spent at least $8.
7 billion acquisition of shares in shale gas operations in Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Russia, Texas and Wyoming.
Chesapeake Energy alone gets $4.
In the deal with CNOOC accounted for 52 billion.
"The reason why Chinese oil companies have been chasing Chesapeake in the past year is because they want to apply this technology to tap the world's number one.
"China's shale gas reserves," Laban Yu, an investment analyst in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg News.
Whether China can replicate the shale gas revolution in the United States is clearly determined.
On a wet and rainy night, James and I came to Chongqing. Chongqing is a hilly city on the Yangtze River with more than three times the population of New York.
GDP growth in Chongqing is staggering.
3% in 2013, 4.
6 percentage points higher than the runaway Chinese economy as a whole.
Its skyline looks like every major city in the world is hit into one
Including nearly full-
A replica of the Golden Gate Bridge and Empire State Building.
There are also castles in the area that imitate the Castle of the Loire Valley in France, as well as the 24/7 theme park "Foreigner Street", where visitors can stroll the Egyptian pyramid haunted house and play mahjong along the Venice canal, or sing the card song under the leadership of the Rio Christ Redeemer.
There are 1,000 foreigners Street.
The world's largest public bathroom for toilets.
Chongqing is one of the fastest cities
Half of the world's growing cities are highly and spreading.
Millions of new residents arrive every year.
It is the gateway to China's vast, relatively underdeveloped western region, booming like Chicago at the end of the 19 th century.
Its per capita consumption rate of natural gas is one of the highest in the country and is now rising by 8.
According to a report by the US Environmental Protection Agency, 5% pounds per year.
Most of the natural gas produced in Sichuan oilfield is produced here.
City officials expect the city to need 530 billion cubic feet of gas by 2015. 2.
Five times that of 2011.
The city center of Chongqing is only 200 miles from the mountainside fracking field we visited, but it may also be a different planet.
From our hostel, we followed the neon lights until we arrived at the Liberation Monument, a dazzling shopping district named after the tower it surrounded, built in the 1940 s to commemorate the victory over Japan during World War II.
Today, banks, hotels and skyscrapers dwarf the monuments, whose façade flashes in the night sky, and their tops fade in the clouds.
People with umbrellas rushed through the shops of Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Gucci, where giant bulbs gathered.
At the same time, the wealth gap in Chongqing is expanding and corruption is rampant.
This is a place, boss-bosses—
Book a table for $100 and drink $200 of moett and money ton wine at the nightclub, just a few pennies from shops where porters ship clothes or steel from the river bank to the steep hills of the city.
It was also occupied by the Triad.
The Chinese Mafia is sometimes deployed as a backup force by the government.
When the city cracked down on crime in 2009, a crime expert estimated that at least 77 officials had been arrested for colluding with gang members and protecting them from legal sanctions.
Since 1979, the idea of "making some people rich first and others will follow suit" is to promote China's economic reform.
But the gap between the rich and the poor has become so big that at a meeting of China's top political advisers earlier this year, one participant believed, the quality of life of 90% of farmers is no better than 40 years ago, in part because of the heavy burden on medical expenses and limited access to education.
On April, researchers from the University of Michigan calculated that in 2010, China's Gini coefficient --
Measure of income inequalitywas 0.
55, contrast 0.
There are 45 in America.
The United Nations thinks anything is more than zero.
Threaten the stability of a country.
"You have this 'Damn torpedo 'development strategy that lists a variety of quotas, expectations," said Sophie Richardson, director of Human Rights Watch China program: "The goal of productivity is not bound or balanced by environmental protection or public participation and people cannot be held accountable. ".
You will see a toxic combination that has led to unprecedented social unrest, she added.
According to the latest official estimates, China has an average of 270 "mass incidents ".
Informal rallies of over 100 protestersevery day.
In a 2014 study of mass incidents, researchers at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences found that these incidents were often triggered by pollution, land acquisition, labor disputes and forced demolition.
Fracking technology may soon be on the list.
The protests have blocked drilling operations in Sichuan.
According to The Wall Street Journal, from 2010 to March 2013, Shell lost 535 days of work in its 19 shale gas wells due to a villagers' blockade or a government request to stop operations.
"There are a lot of people in China who don't want to take political risks --
"They are in too much danger," Osnos said . ".
"But when it comes to basic issues like their health, that's the real reason for pollution, then they're willing to take risks.
"Despite being touted as a cleaner alternative to dirty coal, fracking in China has caused a lot of environmental problems.
The country's shale gas is located deep underground, with a more complex geological structure than the plains of Pennsylvania, North Dakota or Texas.
As a result, the researchers estimate that China's oil well reserves will require twice as much water as the United States.
In fact, researcher Tian Qinghua pointed out that it is hard to imagine that there will be enough water to support an American.
In countries where the per capita water consumption is lower than Namibia or Swazi, fracking technology is booming, where the land area is twice that of New York City and becomes desert every year.
Today, the United States has more than a quarter of population depletion, equivalent to the third quarter of the United States mainland.
Tian, an engineer who designed a cigarette factory in the 1990 s-
He was in his 50 s, with pointed hair, rectangular glasses and Professor's air --
He went back to training a group of technicians from Myanmar at a sugar factory in Yunnan province.
If they build a factory like this at home, they will ask him, will their river turn black like Kaiyuan River?
"I'm starting to doubt my career," he told us while drinking hot green tea from a glass of beer.
"All the factories I designed were heavy polluters.
He quit his job and started working on environmental research.
"I want to choose a career that I can be proud of when I retire," he said . ".
Anatomical injection height of hydraulic fracturing field drilling rig
The pressure fluid in the fracking well causes a slight crack in natural gas to be released in the shale.
The wastewater returned with the gas is then delivered to the disposal well, where it is injected deep into the porous rock.
Scientists now believe that the pressure and lubrication of wastewater can cause faults to slide and cause earthquakes.
Illustration: Leanne Kroll.
Animation: in addition to worrying about the huge appetite of fracking for water, Tian is also worried about its waste: Chemicals
Water filled with natural gas taken out of the rock.
In the United States, it is usually stored in steel containers or open pit wells, which are later injected into underground oil and gas sewage wells.
In early Chinese wells, sewage was often discharged directly into streams and rivers. If fracking—
Most of them happen in Chinese bread baskets.
Tian believes that contaminated water or soil may endanger the country's food supply.
In earthquake-active areas like Sichuan, leakage is a major problem: even a small earthquake --
New evidence suggests that wastewater injection may trigger
Could damage the reaction of a well.
More pollution is caused.
In the past year alone, more than 30 earthquakes have occurred in Sichuan.
In 2012, Tian and his team from the Sichuan Institute of Environmental Sciences proposed the environmental standards for hydraulic fracturing in the province.
Due to the lack of financial and political support from the government, the proposal stalled in bureaucratic proceedings and never became law.
On June, Beijing officials announced that China would adopt new shale gas development standards by the end of this year.
But without proper implementation, the standards may not necessarily prevent China's growing fracking industry from discharging waste and pollution, Tian said.
He was worried that the environment could not afford the cost.
One night, returning to the hotel compound in Xi'an, after a day of adjournment of the meeting, we sat there for a sumptuous banquet with salty braised vegetables, fried eggplant, steamed fish and roasted
A thin layer of soot is attached to marble floors, tablecloths and curtains.
I shared a table with Ming Song.
Hair man in his 60 s, a member of Asia
Chief Pacific representative of Boston Clean Air Task Force
Partnership between environmental advocates and the private sector working to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Song, who has worked as an engineer and manager at Shell for 25 years, now distributes time between Texas and China to help oil and gas companies in the United States and China reduce emissions.
Song told us that although shale gas is a clean fuel, it may become a huge pollution problem if the technology is not properly handled.
For example, he said that methane would leak if it was "not properly sealed.
"While natural gas can generate electricity equivalent to half of coal's carbon dioxide emissions, methane is 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, more than 20-year-period. (
Some scientists believe that carbon dioxide lasts longer than methane in the atmosphere, and methane lives in the atmosphere for 12 years. )
The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the emissions of drilling natural gas are 0. 04 to 0.
In the United States, 30 grams of methane per well per second is equivalent to the greenhouse gas of 24 million cars per year.
But in addition to the mechanical risk of fracking, there is a more fundamental problem: shale gas may not even significantly reduce China's dependence on coal.
In the United States, supporters of fracking believe that natural gas is critical to helping move from the dirtiest fossil fuels to renewable resources.
But the debate broke down in China.
Unlike the situation in the United States, the Energy Information Agency's future forecast of China's energy demand shows that coal will continue to dominate in 2040 and natural gas will continue to dominate, only 8% of the demand will be met.
"The whole pie grows so fast that you can still see a lot of carbon
"Intensive mixing," said Rachel ckett, a senior economist at the relevant league of scientists.
As China's economy continues to grow and its cities continue to expand, China will need all kinds of resources.
Coal, gas, solar, wind, water and electricity and nuclear power.
James Faros, a senior correspondent for The Atlantic, spent many years covering China, noting that the Chinese government is "working harder than any other government on Earth on more fronts" to develop energy other than coal.
"The question is, will they catch up?
Between the bad things and how they try to deal with them, who will win the game?
"Even though these are unknown, the Obama administration is now encouraging other countries to develop their shale reserves.
A year after Obama and Hu announced their shale gas deal, the State Department launched the Global Shale Gas Initiative in 2010 to promote global energy security and climate security, as one researcher said.
As a research memo from JPMorgan said, "unless public attention to the environment is so extreme, most countries with resources will not ignore [shale gas]opportunity.
"At the end of the trip, we visited a village near Luzhou, a port city along the Yangtze River with a larger population than Los Angeles.
We met a man in the middle.
An elderly woman named Dai Zhongfu told us that in 2011 Shell and PetroChina set up a shale gas well next to her house.
Dai Xianglong stood in the shade of plum trees, cut her hair and wore a dark blue trench coat. She said that occasionally someone would come here and take a water sample from her well.
They never identified themselves or came back with results.
When we arrived, Dai and her neighbors became more and more alert to tourists outside;
When we first met, her neighbor mistaken us for a water tester and advised her not to bother talking to us.
Dai said her groundwater began to dry as drilling continued, and now only rain has replenished it.
She wondered if the water was suitable for drinking.
"After you use it, a white scum is stuck on the jar," she said . ".
They can't even make rice with it.
"Let me know if there is an impact!
"When I asked Dai why she didn't protest with her neighbors, she said," You know we rural people really don't have recourse. ".
The drilling is over and now the well is in production, with only a few surveillance cameras and a concrete wall left.
"Now they don't have a chance to focus on us --
Where do we get drinking water and how do we use it . "
"The people here are so abused that they are afraid.
"The story was funded by the midbury College environmental news Fellowship and the environmental news Fund.
Supplementary research by Wang Lei.
Evan yarrubia, Y. Z. , and friend.
The camera icon designed by Thomas Le Bas from The Noun Project.
Video production by James West.
Network production of Jaeah Lee.
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