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The Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013 tENERGY EXPO & FORUM

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Why an Energy Forum & Expo?

HOSTED BY:

Energy usage, demand and source development will be the deďŹ ning issue of this century.

FREE ADMISSION! WHEN: Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 FORUM: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EXPO: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. WHERE: Two Rivers Convention Center, 159 Main St., Grand Junction, CO (970) 216-8657

Bureau of Land Management

Western Colorado has an abundance of traditional, renewable and sustainable energy resources and will continue to play a major role in the energy solutions for our century. The Energy Forum & Expo will once again bring to our region the latest technology and the most visionary participants to discover together how we might meet the energy needs of our children and grandchildren. Join us for the Eighth Annual Energy Forum & Expo in Grand Junction for a stimulating educational look at the energy industry — today, tomorrow and in the future. National energy strategies for Colorado may include: t.PWFNFOUCFZPOEFYUSBDUJPOJOUPUIFEFWFMPQNFOUPGOFXmFMETBOE technology t'PSNBUJPOPGDPNNVOJUZXJEFTUSBUFHZUPXBSEJODFOUJWFTGPSBTVTUBJOBCMF and environmentally friendly industry presence t$SFBUJPOPGQVCMJDSFTFBSDIBOEEFWFMPQNFOUGBDJMJUJFTJOXFTUFSO$PMPSBEP as it relates to new energy uses and resources t(SPXUIPGFYJTUJOHQSJWBUFCVTJOFTTFT t.PWFNFOUCFZPOEFYUSBDUJPOJOUPUIFEFWFMPQNFOUPGOFXmFMETBOE technology t'VMMVUJMJ[BUJPOPGFYJTUJOHGBDJMJUJFTBOEMBCPSBUPSJFTBMSFBEZJOUIFSFHJPO t(SFBUFSJOUFHSBUJPOPGFEVDBUJPOBMSFTPVSDFTUPNFFUUIFMBCPSOFFETPGUIF industry t.PSFFGGFDUJWFVTFPGFYJTUJOHHSBOUTBOESFTPVSDFT t&TUBCMJTINFOUPGBOFXEFWFMPQNFOUQBSBEJHNUIBUJTOPUTVTDFQUJCMFUP heavy uctuations in the business cycle, focusing on breadth of services and sustainability

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ENERGY EXPO & FORUM tThe Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013

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MAIN ENTRANCE

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Accutest Laboratories .................................................................................. 36 Airgas Intermountain .................................................................................... 42 American Petroleum Institute ....................................................................... 17 Arch Western Bituminous Group .................................................................. 21 Atlasta Solar Center ...................................................................................... 41 Altus Environmental, LLC ............................................................................... 4 Bill Barrett Corporation ................................................................................ 33 Brady Trucking, Inc. ..................................................................................... 118 Bureau of Land Management ...................................................................... 26 Calfrac Well Services .................................................................................... 18 Canvas Products ........................................................................................... 35 Chevron .................................................................................................. 38, 40


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Colorado Mesa University ............................................................................ 45 Colorado Mountain College ......................................................................... 50 Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission ....................................... 48 Colorado State University .......................................................................... 120 Community Counts Colorado ....................................................................... 44 Complete Energy Services ......................................................................... 107 Compressor Products International / CPI Service ........................................ 7 Don’s Directory, Inc. ...................................................................................... 30 Eastern Reservoir Services ............................................................................ 4 ECCOS Environmentally Conscious Consumers for Oil Shale .................... 28 Emtech, Inc. .................................................................................................. 12 Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. .....................................................................1, 2, 3 Enserca Engineering & Land Services ......................................................... 27 Enterprise Products .................................................................................... 116 ESC Lab Sciences .......................................................................................... 47 FCI Constructors, Inc. ................................................................................... 23 Grand River Hospital District ...................................................................... 105 Halliburton Energy Services ............................................................... 103, 104 HRL Compliance Solutions, Inc. .................................................................... 34 Intertech Environmental & Engineering, LLC ............................................ 115 John McConnell Math & Science Center .................................................... 114 MCC Drug & Alcohol Screening, Inc.............................................................. 22 Mobile Water Technologies ......................................................................... 117 National Oil Shale Association ..................................................................... 28 Occidental Oil and Gas Corporation (Oxy) ..................................................... 5 Olsson Associates ........................................................................................ 51 Oxbow Mining LLC ........................................................................................ 46 Pace Analytical .............................................................................................. 20 PMI (Production Management Industries).................................................. 106 Renewable Energy Specialists .................................................................... 102 Rockwater .................................................................................................... 110 Rocky Mountain Hats and Boots ................................................................ 113 Safety, Inc. ...................................................................................................... 14 Shell ............................................................................................................... 39 Simplicity Solar ............................................................................................. 32 Souder, Miller & Associates .......................................................................... 43 Sound Earth Strategies ................................................................................ 119 Summit Services Group, LLC ...................................................................... 108 Sunsense Solar.............................................................................................. 37 Tri-State G & T Assoc., Inc. ............................................................................ 13 Wagner Equipment Co. ........................................................................... 15, 16 Walsh Environmental Scientists & Engineers, LLC .................................... 111 Wells Fargo Bank .......................................................................................... 25 Western Colorado Community College ....................................................... 29 Western Metals Recycling, Inc. ...................................................................... 6 Willams............................................................................................................. 8 WPX Energy .........................................................................................9, 10, 11

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6

Note: All of the answers can be found in this publication. See page 8 for the answer key. 1. Money set aside in the completion fund in Rio Blanco county is: a. A fund supported by producers and used to mitigate road damage caused by heavy trucks b. A fund supported in part by energy companies to reward children who complete 4-H projects c. A guarantee required by the federal government to do necessary reclamation work after energy development is complete d. A fund supported by oilfield service companies who do well stimulation and completion which is used to promote hunting 2. Encana Oil and Gas plans to add two additional drilling rigs in the Piceance Basin in 2013 because: a. Gas produced in the Piceance is wetter and more profitable than gas produced in Texas b. Activity in the Bakken formation is not growing as exponentially as it was once projected c. The company has formed a partnership with an end user that locks in a guaranteed price for 20 years d. As a former geologist, Gov. John Hickenlooper has worked behind the scenes to influence the Democratic-controlled General Assembly to soften arduous regulations 3. The new cryogenic processing plant in Parachute represents a large investment and commitment to energy development in Garfield County. The estimated cost is: a. $150 million b. $115 million c. $200 million d. $185 million 4. Natural gas liquids (NGLs) make up part of the mixture in much of the natural gas found in the Piceance Basin. Common NGLs include: a. Propane, butane and chlorane b. methane, butane and sulfate c. ethane, butane and propane d. butane, ethane and acetane

5. Guar gum, one of the key ingredients in fracking fluid, is also used to make: a. gluten-free baked goods b. explosives c. laxatives d. all of the above e. none of the above 6. Guar gum is made from: a. the horns and pelt of a wild ox native to southeast Asia b. a byproduct of coal combustion c. a marine algae found in the South Pacific d. a bean grown in India 7. Prior to joining the Colorado School of Mines, Dr. Jeremy Boak worked as a research scientist at: a. Hanford Nuclear Reservation b. Rocky Mountain Arsenal c. An Estonian energy company that pioneered oil shale use, Eesti Energia d. Los Alamos National Laboratory 8. Exploration and production companies with a booth at the 2013 Energy Forum and Expo include: a. Shell, Bill Barrett Corporation and WPX b. WPX, Williams and Encana Oil and Gas c. Halliburton, Rockwater and Shell d. all of the above 9. The Keystone Pipeline was rerouted through what state for what reason? a. North Dakota, to avoid the drilling areas near the Bakken formation b. Nebraska, to avoid the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills region c. Nebraska, to avoid traversing the Ogallala Aquifer d. Montana, to avoid seismic activity near Yellowstone 10. One drilling rig creates how many direct and indirect jobs? a. 25 b. 50 e. 75 d. 100 — Compiled by Penny Stine

ENERGY EXPO & FORUM tThe Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pop Quiz


WELCOME

The Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013 tENERGY EXPO & FORUM

7

Expo looks at future of the ‘energy economy’ INSIDE SPONSORS

See page 2

BOOTH MAP & LIST OF EXHIBITORS

PAGES 4-5

ENERGY QUIZ

PRODUCTION JOBS

Drilling activity has fallen, but that doesn’t mean all the jobs have disappeared. PAGE 16

ENERGY SUPPORTS 4-H

How much do you know about energy? Take our quiz and find out. PAGE 6

Where would junior livestock sales be if it wasn’t for the generosity of energy companies? PAGE 18

SPEAKERS

ENCANA PARTNERSHIP

Find out who will speak at the forum and what they’ll be talking about. PAGES 8-10

WHO’S WHO

A breakdown of the vendors at the Energy Expo and what they do. PAGE 11

Nucor Steel agrees to pay for drilling to lock in natural gas prices. PAGE 20

ROCKWATER

New fluids management company partners with producers. PAGE 22

If you’re a regular reader of The Daily Sentinel, you know that energy issues often make headlines in this region. That’s because competing interests often clash over the management of the area’s vast natural resources, many of which are located on public lands. And those natural resources — coal, natural gas, oil shale, uranium, and so forth — can be used to produce energy. Energy is the ultimate commodity. It makes the world go round. Energy companies have what everyone needs to run any business, whether it’s a car assembly plant in Detroit or the convenience store down the street. Whoever can supply energy the most cheaply with the least environmental impact will come out ahead in the new energy economy. The organizers of the Energy Forum & Expo, now in its eighth year, established this event with an eye on the future. “We never wanted the expo to be about any particular type of energy,” said

event co-founder Kathy Hall. “The focus of the expo has never changed. We’ve always been about looking to the future of energy and positioning ourselves to develop western Colorado’s vast natural resources in an environmentally sensitive way to secure a strong economic base and a safe, prosperous future for our children.” Western Colorado has a variety of resources to meet the country’s demand for more energy — coal, natural gas, oil shale, uranium, solar, geothermal and biomass — whether they’re clean or conventional. The forum draws the country’s top researchers, advocates and policy makers, giving area residents access to a luminous discourse on one of the planet’s most pressing needs. The expo organizing committee approves all speakers and vendors to ensure that the information provided to attendees is relevant and represents best practices, cutting-edge technologies or promising research.

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Energy Forum Speakers

Penny Stine

Special sections staff writer

SPEAKER LINEUP 9 a.m. — “Shale Oil Production from Oil Shale: How Soon? How Much? How Risky?” Dr. Jeremy Boak — Director Center for Oil Shale Technology and Research, Colorado School of Mines 10 a.m. — “Coal Based Energy is the Foundation of Social Development” Dr. Frank Clemente — Professor Emeritus of Social Science and Energy Policy, Penn State University 10:50 a.m. — BREAK 11:10 a.m. — “Energizing America: Facts for Addressing Energy Policy” Dr. John Felmy – Chief Economist, American Petroleum Institute Noon to 1:15 p.m. — LUNCH 1:15 p.m. — “Two Energy Imperatives: Scale and Density” Robert Bryce, author of “Power Hungry: The Myths of ‘Green’ Energy, and the Real Fuels of the Future” 2:45 p.m. — “Colorado Energy Snapshot” Tracee Bentley — Deputy Director Director Policy and Legislative Affairs, Colorado Energy Office 3:10 p.m. — “Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Update” Matthew Lepore — Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission

Robert Bryce grew up in Tulsa, Okla., when it was still considered the oil capital of the world. He’s been writing about energy issues, policy and business for decades and is still fascinated by it. “It’s the world’s biggest sector, and is the most diverse and the most important,” Bryce said. Bryce will be the keynote speaker at the Energy Forum and Expo, addressing two energy imperatives, scale and density, at 1:15 p.m. “We hear that we can quit using hydrocarbons and go to renewables,” Robert Bryce Bryce said. “That’s easy to say and harder to do because of the scale.” Renewable energy makes up a small portion of the energy mix, with no viable renewable option for transportation. Although some people may not want it to be true, petroleum makes life in the 21st Century possible. “If oil didn’t exist, we would have to invent it,” Bryce said. “It is a near-miracle substance due to its energy density, ease of handling and cost.” According to Bryce, gasoline has 80 times the energy density of lithium batteries, which explains why gasoline-

powered cars are still the No. 1 choice for car buyers. Recent developments may keep petroleum in its top position for years to come, thanks to what Bryce call the shale revolution. “For the entirety of my life, until two or three years ago, everyone was convinced that America was headed for ruin due to its dependence on foreign oil,” Bryce said. “The reality is, we could be self-sufficient and be a big exporter. This is a remarkable turnaround.” Although shale is the most common sedimentary rock in the world, Bryce doesn’t believe other countries will be able to develop oil or gas from shale deposits for decades. “We have the rigs, the rednecks and the pipelines,” Bryce said. “We have the machines that can punch holes, we have the personnel that can operate those machines and we have the best network for distribution.” Bryce also believes that private ownership of the companies involved in energy production as well as private ownership of mineral rights gives the U.S. an advantage when it comes to innovation, efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Bryce has written four books dealing with energy issues and is at work on his fifth. He has also appeared on radio and TV and is a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute in the think tank’s Center for Energy Policy and the Environment.

API’s chief economist to delve into energy policy America is at a rare crossroads, according to Dr. John Felmy, chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute, with an opportunity to move forward, creating opportunities for prosperity and energy independence or allowing misinformation and fears to determine policy. “Before, the focus was on ‘we’re running out,’ but that’s no longer true,” Felmy said. Fundamental leaps in the technology behind hydraulic fracturing and deep water horizontal drilling have changed the energy John Felmy game. “We can make decisions based on sound science and facts or rhetoric and Hollywood assertions,” Felmy said. Although Felmy is bullish on U.S. oil and gas, he fully supports the Keystone Pipeline, which will bring Canadian oil from the tar sands to the U.S. Dave Heineman, the Republican governor of Nebraska, has also thrown his support behind after the pipeline was rerouted to avoid

2013 Energy Quiz answers 1. b - Read about it in the story about 4-H on page 18. 2. c - Read about it in the story about the Encana/Nucor partnership on page 20.

the sensitive Sandhills area in Nebraska. According to Felmy, the Canadian oil sands is 10 times larger than the gross domestic product of Canada and whether or not the U.S. approves the pipeline won’t change Canada’s intentions to produce oil. “The notion that they wouldn’t develop something 10 times their GDP is silly,” Felmy said. The trade partnership between the U.S. and Canada is another reason Felmy supports the pipeline. “When we send one dollar to Canada, we get 83 cents back in trade,” he said. “We get 30 cents back with the Middle East.” As a young man growing up in central Pennsylvania, Felmy worked on a repair crew of the nation’s oldest pipeline, the Tidewater Pipeline, which was built in the 1879. He’s also seen the way the current drilling activity in Pennsylvania has affected the region’s economy. “Energy development is the shot in the arm that the area needed,” Felmy said. Expect a discussion on policy, politics, science and the economy when Felmy speaks at 11:10 a.m. at the Energy Expo & Forum.

3. a - Read about it in the story about production on page 16 4. c - Read about it in the story about production on page 16 5. a - Read about it in the story about Rockwater on page 22 6. d - Read about it in the story about Rockwater on page 22

7. d - Read about it in the speaker bios on pages 8 & 10. 8. a - Read “Who’s who and what do they do?” on page 11. 9. b - Read about it the speaker bios on pages 8 & 10. 10. d - Read about it in story about Encana/Nucor partnership on page 20.

ENERGY EXPO & FORUM tThe Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013

Energy expert Robert Bryce is keynote speaker

8


The Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013 tENERGY EXPO & FORUM

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Energy Forum Speakers

Frank Clemente

Dr. Jeremy Boak, director of the Center for Oil Shale Technology and Research and project manager for the Colorado Energy Research Institute, is the ďŹ rst speaker of the day at the Energy Forum and Expo at 9 a.m. Boak will be speaking about oil shale production, a subject that’s often embroiled in controversy, quasiscience and strong opinions. As a scientist who worked at both Yucca Mountain and Los Alamos National Laboratory, Boak is used to dealing with such matters. Western Slope residents who found the Denver City Council’s resolutions in December regarding oil shale research a bit presumptuous will be pleased to know that his was one of the voices the city council chose to ignore. “I told the Denver City Council that the numbers they were using for water use were wrong,â€? Boak said. In addition to addressing the Bureau of Land Management’s decisions regarding land for oil shale research, Boak will also share an update about the research and production currently in existence. Red Leaf Resources, operating in Seep Ridge, southwest of Vernal, Utah, is set to start a small commercial production operation this summer as a test for full-scale production. “If that one is successful, they are anticipating 9,000 or 10,000 barrels per day by 2015,â€? Boak said. At full-scale production, the company is targeting 30,000 barrels per day. In Colorado, Shell, Exxon and AMSO are also moving forward with oil shale research, although none are ready for production. In Utah, oil shale is closer to the surface, making it easier to recover, and the land with the most promise is under the control of the state, not the federal government. As a researcher who considers the big picture, Boak may discuss the Bakken boom’s effect on oil shale research and production.

Dr. Frank Clemente, a professor at Penn State University, will speak about the importance of coal and why electrical utilities are making a risky bet on natural gas. “We’re moving so much to natural gas generation and closing coal power plants‌ We’re becoming more dependent on natural gas.â€? But natural gas production has uctuated quite a bit over the past three decades and natural gas “is the most price-volatile fuel in the United States,â€? Clemente said. “Building power plants for the next four

Tracee Bentley Tracee Bentley is the deputy director and Policy & Legislation director for the Colorado Energy OfďŹ ce which is part of the ofďŹ ce of Gov. John Hickenlooper. Bentley returned to lobbying in Colorado in January of 2008. Prior to starting a Coloradobased, bipartisan lobbying ďŹ rm, she was the Western United States Director for a national initiative called 25 X ’25. She assembled and led policy and grassroots efforts with key agricultural organizations in more than 20 states with the goal of moving more towards home-grown energy and away from foreign oil, and to generate rural

decades on the basis of a hypothesis that we’re going to have consistent prices and supply over the next 40 years is a risky bet.� Clemente will stress the poverty dimension for Third World countries and emerging economies that use coal for electrical Frank Clemente generation. China and India are now ahead of the United States in clean-coal technology. “I’m very passionate about what electricity can do to help impoverished nations,� he said. economic development. Bentley also served as the director of national affairs for the Colorado Farm Bureau where she spearheaded important issues including: energy, immigration, farm policy, and international trade. Bentley received both her Tracee Bentley BA and MA from Colorado State University. She has taught public speaking at both Colorado State University and Regis University. Prior to receiving her BA, Bentley worked in Washington, D.C. for U.S. Sen. Ben Campbell.

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ENERGY EXPO & FORUM tThe Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013

Jeremy Boak

10


The Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013 tENERGY EXPO & FORUM

11

WHO’S

WHO

and what do they do?

Penny Stine

Special sections staff writer

The Energy Forum and Expo has more than 60 vendors this year, with companies involved in various types of energy production, educational institutions offering classes and programs to prepare students for work in energy, government entities involved in energy, along with citizens’ and trade groups who have a vested interest in energy. Since the oil and gas industry represents a huge chunk of the western Colorado economic pie, they’re a huge participant at the expo. CONTINUED on next page

985047


Who’s Who?

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12 ENERGY EXPO & FORUM tThe Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013

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Every drill site is operated by specific exploration and production company, like this WPX site. During drilling, the producer will hire a drilling company to drill the well and will hire oilfield service companies such as Halliburton or Rockwater to perform specific tasks.



CONTINUED from previous page

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The oil and gas industry has its own terms and vocabulary, which can be confusing to outsiders. Upstream, midstream and downstream have nothing to do with ďŹ shing, but rather are used to describe at what point in the process a company or an individual interacts with the industry. Upstream companies are those that are involved in the exploration and development of oil or gas. With the Uintah Basin to the northwest and the Piceance Basin to the east, Grand Junction sits in the middle of two large natural gas production areas. There is also a limited amount of oil being produced on the Western Slope. Many, but not all, of the companies and people who work in the industry in Western Colorado are involved in the upstream process.

Midstream refers to those companies that are involved in storing, transporting, processing and marketing petroleum products. The downstream sector are those involved in reďŹ neries, petroleum product distribution, petrochemical plants, natural gas distributors and retail outlets. Unless a person lives completely offgrid on a dirt road, uses his own two feet or a horse and buggy for transportation, doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t buy anything in a plastic container or containing chemicals of any kind, he beneďŹ ts from the downstream sector of the petroleum industry. To help navigate you through the expo, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re including a quick explanation of the types of activities represented by the various vendors.

CONTINUED on next page


Whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Who? CONTINUED from previous page There are a number of vendors at the expo involved in renewable energy. Some are interested in selling solar panels, while some want to chat about hydro-power. r Atlasta Solar r Simplicity Solar r Renewable Energy Specialists r Sunsense Solar Exploration and production companies own or lease the land with the mineral rights and are the ones with the ďŹ nal say over what happens out in the ďŹ eld. These are the production companies at the expo. Oxbow mining is included, although it is involved in mining coal, not drilling for natural gas. r Bill Barrett Corporation r Chevron r Encana Oil and Gas r Occidental Oil and Gas Corporation r Oxbow Mining LLC r Shell r WPX OilďŹ eld service companies are involved in drilling, fracking, well completion or water management and have personnel who are on-site, out in the ďŹ eld and actively involved in providing a service to the producer that helps bring oil or gas out of the ground.

r Calfrac Well Services r Complete Energy Services r Halliburton Energy Services r Mobile Water Technologies r Rockwater Energy Services Engineering and environmental companies work at multiple phases of natural gas production and perform a variety of services, from designing facilities to preparing Environmental Impact Statements, working on feasibility studies, helping producers abide by regulations, developing best practices for managing wildlife, reclamation after drilling, water or air quality and choosing sites for road construction. Although some of the work is done in an ofďŹ ce or a lab, usually these companies include someone who spends time out in ďŹ eld, working alongside representatives from the production company. r Altus Environmental r Enserca Engineering and Land Services r HRL Compliance Solutions r Intertech Environmental & Engineering r Olsson Associates r Souder, Miller & Associates r SoundEarth Strategies, Inc. r Walsh Environmental Scientists and Engineers

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The Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013 tENERGY EXPO & FORUM

13

COURTESY PHOTO

Environmental companies perform a variety of jobs in the energy industry, including water quality sampling and tests. While some of the work involves analysis thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s done in an office, some of it involves going to a job site to perform the tests.

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Whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Who? Construction companies build necessary infrastructure and facilities to facilitate energy production. r FCI Constructors Equipment manufactures and suppliers ďŹ nd that the expo gives them a great opportunity to show off their latest models without making multiple appointments and driving hundreds of miles. r Airgas Intermountain r$PNQSFTTPS1SPEVDUT International r EmTech, Inc. r8BHOFS&RVJQNFOU r$BOWBT1SPEVDUT r3PDLZ.PVOUBJO)BUTBOE#PPUT There are a large number of secondary service providers who arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t directly involved in the process of bringing gas out of the ground but offer a range of services to the companies that do. Services vary, from analyzing water samples in a lab somewhere else to employee training and testing, hauling sand, recycling and cleaning.

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Various government and community agencies are vested in the energy industry and represented at the expo. r#VSFBVPG-BOE.BOBHFNFOU r$PMPSBEP0JMBOE(BT Conservation Commission r Community Counts r&$$04 Midstream companies get involved once the gas is out of the

    

ground. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re the pipeline and processing people. r&OUFSQSJTF1SPEVDU1BSUOFST r Williams Wells Fargo Bank does not ďŹ t into any of these categories, but as a ďŹ nancial institution, they have a vested interest in seeing their business customers remain proďŹ table and want to promote local economic activity.

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985988

ENERGY EXPO & FORUM tThe Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013

CONTINUED from previous page

14


The Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013 tENERGY EXPO & FORUM

15

JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!

Find the latest and greatest career opportunities right here at home.

www.gjcareers.com

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Just because drilling activity has leveled off doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mean all the jobs are gone. Skilled worker are needed to monitor and control production. Penny Stine

Sentinel Special Sections

PENNY STINE/Sentinel Special Sections

Safety is a primary focus at the Williams natural gas processing plant, where gas is heated and cooled in what Brent Waldeman, supervisor at the plant, calls a controlled explosion.

Local natural gas drilling activity is slow compared to what is was in 2007, but that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mean that energy companies are pulling out, all jobs are disappearing and the local economy is on the verge of collapse, thanks to another energy bust. Unlike other energy boom and bust cycles, the natural gas activity that began heating up around 2005 or 2006 has resulted in long-term jobs and capital investment in western Colorado. Wells which generated jobs during the drilling phase are now in production. While that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t translate into as many jobs, it still requires skilled workers to

CONTINUED on next page

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ENERGY EXPO & FORUM tThe Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013

Production jobs are a vital contributor to economy

16


The Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013 tENERGY EXPO & FORUM

17

CONTINUED from previous page monitor and control production. Those who work for exploration and production companies like Encana and WPX in that capacity are usually called lease operators, but are sometimes referred to as pumpers. The more wells a company has drilled and has in production, the more lease operators the company has on staff. Encana has 62 lease operators working out of the Parachute office. There are also ongoing jobs and tasks during production that require thirdparty companies, like water-hauling services or wildlife monitoring. Once natural gas is produced, it must be processed before it can be used or transported. While some of that processing occurs out in the field, most of it is sent via pipeline to a processing plant where a midstream company further refines the gas. Williams operates several processing facilities in Garfield County. Their Parachute plant can process 1.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, which is enough to heat about four million homes per day. The jobs in the plant are technical, but don’t necessarily require a college

See PRODUCTION on page 23

PENNY STINE/Sentinel Special Sections

Williams has begun a new $150 million cryogenic expansion to its Parachute operations. The new unit will allow operators to cool the gas even further, resulting in the recovery of more NGLs.


18 ENERGY EXPO & FORUM tThe Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013 COURTESY PHOTO/Rio Blanco County 4-H

In Rio Blanco County, 4-H participants who complete their general projects, like sewing, archery or shooting, are rewarded with a check, thanks to the completion fund. Encana Oil and Gas, along with the Lions Club and White River Electric donate money to the fund. BELOW: Cole Rogers, age 10, shows off his pig and the ribbon he won at the Rio Blanco County Fair for raising a reserve champion pig. Enterprise Products Partners, a midstream company working in Rio Blanco County, purchased the pig.

Energy companies pump money into 4-H programs Peny Stine

Special sections staff writer

The energy industry, especially those companies that do the physical work of harvesting natural resources in rural areas, shares many characteristics with agriculture. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the companies involved in natural gas extraction have become the biggest supporters of budding agriculture enthusiasts through 4-H. “The two organizations have a lot in common,” said Susan Alvillar, spokesperson for WPX Energy. “We produce things that make people’s lives better.” Companies like WPX, Williams, Encana and Halliburton operate in rural areas. They work alongside ranchers and farmers and try to be good neighbors

through their business practices and through their community participation. In rural areas, they’ve chosen to support their community by getting involved in the 4-H livestock auction and supporting other 4-H programs. “We saw the energy companies come in here during the early 2000s,” said Tom Benton, who has been involved with the livestock auction at the Mesa County Fair for decades. “The Mesa County (livestock) sale is probably the top one in the state due to the energy industry.” As a gas processing and infrastructure company, Williams has the bulk of its local operations in Garfield and Rio Blanco counties. Although employees may live in Mesa County, the company has decided to focus on the Garfield and Rio Blanco 4-H programs.

CONTINUED on next page


The Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013 tENERGY EXPO & FORUM

19

CONTINUED from previous page â&#x20AC;&#x153;We try to mix it up and spread the money out,â&#x20AC;? said Donna Gray with Williams, who said the company spends more than ďŹ ve ďŹ gures every year buying 4-H animals at the fair. Rabbits and chickens are included in the 4-H sale, and most companies give the smaller animals back to the 4-H participants who raised them. Most of the companies also support an additional charity by donating the beef or pork to a different charity. Williams donated meat to LIFT-UP, a non-proďŹ t charity operating food distribution facilities and a daily soup kitchen in GarďŹ eld and Pitkin counties. WPX gives it to Mesa County non-proďŹ ts such as Latimer House or the Catholic Outreach. In Rio Blanco County, Dessa Watson, the CSU 4-H extension agent, saw how much it meant to 4-H participants when their hard work was appreciated and rewarded at the livestock auction. She approached Encana about taking it a step farther to recognize youth who complete other 4-H projects, like sewing, baking, archery or horses. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Livestock kids earn money,â&#x20AC;? Watson explained. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sewing kids work just as hard, but donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t earn anything in return.â&#x20AC;?

COURTESY PHOTO

This grand champion steer was raised by Jake Smith of Rangely and sold to Alliance Energy, Ducey Electric and Hayes Petroleum. In Rio Blanco County, there is now a completion fund, supported by Encana, the Lions Club and White River Electric that rewards every child who completes a 4-H project with a small check on

achievement night. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It helps to get people to attend achievement night,â&#x20AC;? Watson jokes. It also gives the participants a sense of accomplishment and helps their

involvement in 4-H be less of a ďŹ nancial burden on their families. Not surprising, the participation rate in 4-H projects has increased. Savvy 4-H participants have ďŹ gured out that energy companies support their efforts at county fairs. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They children make sales calls,â&#x20AC;? Alvillar said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They come to our ofďŹ ce. We look for them (during the fair); we try to look for that youth who has made the effort to market that animal.â&#x20AC;? Sometimes, companies end up rewarding their own employees, because it might be employeesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; children who are involved in 4-H. The companies recognize, however, that supporting 4-H offers more than another way to reward their own employees. â&#x20AC;&#x153;4-H is a participatory process where youth are taught to make decisions,â&#x20AC;? Alvillar said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When they ďŹ nish the program, they know how to be leaders. They know how to run a meeting and do reports. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all about conďŹ dence, character and leadership.â&#x20AC;? Not only is the industry supporting multiple charities through its partnership with 4-H, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also grooming those who may steer it in the coming decades.

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20 ENERGY EXPO & FORUM tThe Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013 COURTESY PHOTO/Encana

Encana Oil and Gas will be operating two additional rigs in 2013, thanks to the agreement with Nucor, a U.S. steel manufacturer.

Unique partnership means increased drilling activity Penny Stine

Special Sections staff writer

n innovative partnership between

A Encana Oil and Gas, one of the

most active production companies operating in the Piceance Basin, and Nucor Energy Holdings, one of the largest steel manufacturers in the U.S., is producing a win-win situation for Encana, Nucor and the local economy.

Natural gas is a feedstock in steel production, and the agreement between Encana and Nucor locks in a guaranteed price for natural gas for 20 years. In return, Nucor is putting up money to drill the wells in the Piceance. “This is unique,” said Doug Hock, spokesperson for Encana. “It’s not simply putting more gas onto the market when prices are already low. It’s supply that’s going to create manufacturing jobs in the U.S. It gives them a commodity at a relatively low cost.”

Nucor plans to open a plant in Louisiana, and while natural gas produced in Colorado may not make it down to Louisiana to make steel, their financial commitment to drilling locks in natural gas at a price that gives the steel manufacturer more control over costs. It also helps Encana conserve capital and preserve local jobs. The partnership was announced in November 2012 and means that Encana will operate two additional rigs in 2013. The company hopes to expand that to

three rigs in 2014 and four rigs after that. “We will be able to double our current well count in Colorado,” Hock said. “This particular venture is all in the Piceance.” The Nucor wells will be in the Big Jimmy unit, which straddles Garfield and Rio Blanco counties. “Every rig creates 100 jobs directly and indirectly,” Hock said. “The more rigs, the more jobs are created. At a time when natural gas prices are low, we are able to sustain and offer well-paying jobs.”


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The Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013 tENERGY EXPO & FORUM

21



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DAVID ZALUBOWSKI/AP file photo

An unidentified worker steps through the maze of hoses being used at a remote fracking site being run by Halliburton for natural-gas producer Williams in Rulison, Colo., in 2009. The oil and gas industry is trying to ease environmental concerns by developing non-toxic fluids for the drilling process known as fracking. But itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not clear whether the fluids will be widely embraced by drilling companies.

Energy industry develops nontoxic fracking fluids Kevin Begos

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH â&#x20AC;&#x201D; The oil and gas industry is trying to ease environmental concerns by developing nontoxic ďŹ&#x201A;uids for the drilling process known as fracking, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not clear whether the new product will be widely embraced by drilling companies. Houston-based energy giant Halliburton Inc. has developed a product called CleanStim, which uses only foodindustry ingredients. Other companies have developed nontoxic ďŹ&#x201A;uids as well. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Halliburton is in the business to

provide solutions to our customers,â&#x20AC;? said production manager Nicholas Gardiner. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Those solutions have to include ways to reduce the safety or environmental concerns that the public might have.â&#x20AC;? Environmental groups say they welcome the development but still have questions. The chemicals in fracking ďŹ&#x201A;uids arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the only environmental concern, said George Jugovic, president of PennFuture. He said there is also concern about the large volumes of naturally occurring but exceptionally salty wastewater and air pollution.

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985974


Rockwater Energy Services specializes in fluids management solutions

Rockwater Energy Services is a relatively new company, formed by various mergers and acquisitions of existing businesses involved in the oil and gas service end of the industry. The company’s particular area of expertise is water and fluids management.

Penny Stine

Sentinel Special Sections

They’re the new kids on the block, with three facilities in Grand Junction and trucks all over Western Colorado, Utah and anywhere else there is drilling activity. Although the name, Rockwater, is relatively new, the company itself is a result of acquisitions and mergers of various companies that have a long history of managing and conditioning fluids used for drilling and fracking. Benchmark, a distributor and supplier of chemicals used in the oil and gas industry, was one of the four original companies that merged together to form Rockwater in June 2011. Benchmark operated a facility on South 15th Street in Grand Junction that now flies the



PHOTO COURTESY OF ROCKWATER

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22 ENERGY EXPO & FORUM tThe Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013

A partnership with producers


CONTINUED from previous page Rockwater sign and continues to serve as a distributor to the industry. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are one of the two largest distributors of guar,â&#x20AC;? said Tommy Johnson, region business development manager with Rockwater. Guar gum is made from the guar bean, which is grown primarily in India, and is also one of the primary ingredients in fracking ďŹ&#x201A;uid. Guar gum is also in dairy products, gluten-free products, sauces, dressings, desserts, mixes and other food items. It can also be used in manufacturing a wide array of products, from laxatives to explosives. In addition to the Benchmark merger, Rockwater also purchased Western Pump and Dredge, a local ďŹ eld water management company, in December 2011. In the ďŹ eld, production companies like Encana or WPX hire Rockwater to work alongside other oilďŹ eld service companies like Halliburton or Schlumberger. Its services and supplies are necessary during drilling, fracking and ďŹ&#x201A;ow-back. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our relationship with the producers is a partnership,â&#x20AC;? Johnson said. Producers in the Piceance Basin already recycle and re-use production water. Rockwater is using some of the methods developed in the Piceance Basin as it helps producers in the Uintah

Basin and on the Front Range manage water in an environmentally responsible way. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The technology is evolving all the time,â&#x20AC;? Johnson said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s now proďŹ table to recycle water and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s better environmental stewardship.â&#x20AC;? Rockwater has continued to acquire and partner with smaller oilďŹ eld service companies in order to offer the best ďŹ&#x201A;uids management solutions to its customers. Acquisitions and partnerships in 2012 include a partnership with Neohydro, a Houston-based supplier of onsite water-conditioning equipment in June, the acquisition of MWS, LLC, a Front Range mobile, above-ground water storage provider in October and Vencor, a Canadian production testing services provider in December. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We plan to introduce service lines that arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t currently available in the Rockies,â&#x20AC;? said Jon Brown, Rockies region vice president. Other service lines include additional piping and pumping, trucking and other customized ďŹ&#x201A;uids solutions. In addition to its warehouse and distribution facility on South 15th Street, Rockwater also maintains its Rocky Mountain Regional OfďŹ ce at 1114 N. First St., and has a ďŹ eld ofďŹ ce at 2314 Logos Drive. Rockwater will have a booth at the Energy Expo.

PRODUCTION From page 17

degree. Brent Waldeman, a supervisor in the plant, has worked for Williams for nine years. His training, which has been extensive, has all been on the job. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A person could go to school for petroleum engineering, we could put them in our facility and they wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t understand a thing,â&#x20AC;? Waldeman said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Williams provides in-house training.â&#x20AC;? Williams also has a textbook curriculum that operators work through and assigns a qualiďŹ ed operator to work with new hires. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Everything is high pressure. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s basically a controlled explosion,â&#x20AC;? Waldeman said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Safety is the most important thing we drive into a personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s head.â&#x20AC;? The processing plant in Parachute heats and also cools the gas, depending on what theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re trying to do with it at any particular moment. At lowered temperatures, natural gas liquids (NGL) like ethane, butane and propane drop out of the gas. With natural gas prices so low, NGLs can add value to the operations

because of their use in manufacturing. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Components of NGLs are used for chemicals, clothing, power generation and the automotive industry,â&#x20AC;? Waldeman said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;With any item you pick up and put in your hand, at some point, a component from this industry was used to produce it.â&#x20AC;? Natural gas produced in the Piceance Basin, especially in the Niobrara formation, is wetter than some of the gas produced in other regions, which simply means that the content of the NGLs is higher and more recoverable. Williams is in the beginning stages of building a new, $150 million cryogenic expansion to its Parachute operations. The cryogenic facility will allow operators to cool the gas even further, resulting in the recovery of more NGLs. Although preliminary construction has already begun, it will gear up in the spring and could mean up to 175 jobs during construction. The new plant is scheduled to be in operation by June 2014.

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FRACKING Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s premature to say whether it will ever be feasible to have ďŹ&#x201A;uids for fracking that are totally nontoxic, said Scott Anderson, a senior adviser for the Environmental Defense Fund. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But we are encouraged to some extent by recent industry efforts to at least reduce the toxicity,â&#x20AC;? Anderson said. Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, has made it possible to tap into energy reserves across the nation but also has raised concerns about pollution, since large volumes of water, along with sand and hazardous chemicals, are injected deep into the ground to free the oil and gas from rock. Regulators contend that overall, water and air pollution problems are rare, but environmental groups and some scientists say there hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t been enough research on those issues. The industry and many federal and state ofďŹ cials say the practice is safe when done properly, but faulty wells and accidents have caused problems. Halliburton says CleanStim will provide â&#x20AC;&#x153;an extra margin of safety to people, animals and the environment in the unlikely occurrence of an incidentâ&#x20AC;? at a drilling site. Gardiner said Halliburton has

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developed a chemistry-scoring system for the ďŹ&#x201A;uids, with lower scores being better. CleanStim has a zero score, he said, and is â&#x20AC;&#x153;relatively more expensiveâ&#x20AC;? than many traditional fracking ďŹ&#x201A;uids. Both Jugovic and Anderson noted that one of the most highly publicized concerns about toxic fracking ďŹ&#x201A;uids hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t really been an issue: the suggestion that they might migrate from thousands of feet underground, up to drinking water aquifers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Most people agree there are no conďŹ rmed cases so farâ&#x20AC;? of fracking chemicals migrating up to drinking water, Anderson said. But he added that simple spills of ďŹ&#x201A;uid on the surface can cause problems. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The most likely of exposure is not from the fracking itself. It is from spills before the fracking ďŹ&#x201A;uid is injected,â&#x20AC;? Anderson said. There also may be technical and cost issues that limit the acceptance of products such as CleanStim. There is tremendous variation in the type of shale rock in different parts of the country. For example, drillers use different ďŹ&#x201A;uids even within the same state, and the speciďŹ c mix can play a large role in determining how productive a well is.

By Norimitsu Onishi

New York Times News Serivce

FELLOWS, Calif. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Secure in this stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s history and mythology, the venerable Midway-Sunset oil ďŹ eld near here keeps producing crude more than a century after Southern Californiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s oil boom. Many of its bobbing pump jacks are relatively short, a telltale sign of the shallowness of the wells and the ease of extracting their prize. But away from this forest of pump jacks on a ďŹ&#x201A;at, brown landscape, a road Gardiner wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t say how widely used CleanStim is. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The customers who do use it certainly like the material,â&#x20AC;? he added. Terry Engelder, a geologist at Penn State University, said he visited a well in that state last year that used just water, sand and three additives in the fracking ďŹ&#x201A;uid. But Engelder added that â&#x20AC;&#x153;greenâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;toxicâ&#x20AC;? can be â&#x20AC;&#x153;soft words without real meaning.â&#x20AC;? He noted that consumers,

snakes up into nearby hills that are largely untouched â&#x20AC;&#x201D; save for a handful of exploratory wells pumping oil from depths many times those of MidwaySunsetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. These wells are tapping crude directly from what is called the Monterey Shale, which could represent the future of Californiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s oil industry â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and a potential arena for conďŹ&#x201A;ict between drillers and the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s powerful environmental interests. At one such exploratory site, tall pump jacks stood above two active

See OIL on next page businesses and farms use vast quantities of chemicals that can contribute to pollution, from cleaners and soaps to fertilizers and pesticides. Yet all those compounds are routinely ďŹ&#x201A;ushed down the drain, ending up in nearby rivers and streams. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Eventually industry would like to end up with a mix of just water, sand, and food-grade additives,â&#x20AC;? Engelder said of fracking. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Companies are learning to deal with fewer and fewer additives.â&#x20AC;?



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24 ENERGY EXPO & FORUM tThe Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013

From page 21

Vast oil reserve may be within reach, and battle heats up over use of fracking fluids


OIL

From previous page wells on a small patch of federal land. For now, the operator, Venoco, has been storing the oil in two large tanks, but construction is to start soon on pipelines and more wells are planned. Comprising two thirds of the United States’ total estimated shale oil reserves and covering 1,750 square miles from Southern to Central California, the Monterey Shale could turn California into the nation’s top oil-producing state and yield the kind of riches that far smaller shale oil deposits have showered on North Dakota and Texas. For decades, oilmen have been unable to extricate the Monterey Shale’s crude because of its complex geological formation, which makes extraction quite expensive. But as the oil industry’s technological advances succeed in unlocking oil from increasingly difficult locations, there is heady talk that California could be in store for a fresh oil boom. Established companies are expanding into the Monterey Shale while newcomers are opening up offices in Bakersfield, the capital of California’s oil industry, about 40 miles east of

here. With oil prices remaining high, landmen are buying up leases on federal land, sometimes bidding more than a thousand dollars an acre in auctions that used to fetch the minimum of $2. “We’ve seen a significant increase in the last three to five years in the price paid from our sales,” said Gabriel Garcia, assistant field manager at the federal Bureau of Land Management’s office in Bakersfield. “Some of that has to do with speculation on new technologies, and some of that has to do with the high price of oil.” The Monterey Shale has also galvanized California’s powerful environmental groups. They are pressing the state to strictly regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the drilling technique that has fueled the shale oil and gas boom elsewhere but drawn opposition from many environmentalists. Last month, the state Department of Conservation released a draft of fracking rules, the first step in a yearlong process to establish regulations. While oil is found less than 2,000 feet below the surface in fields like MidwaySunset, companies must pump down to

between 6,000 and 15,000 deep to tap shale oil in the Monterey. Though production has been declining for years, California remains the country’s fourth oil-producing state after Texas, North Dakota and Alaska. So far, little of the crude is derived from the Monterey Shale, whose untapped deposits are estimated at 15.4 billion barrels, or more than four times the reserves of the Bakken Shale in North Dakota, according to the United States Energy Information Administration. The two companies with the biggest stakes in the Monterey Shale, Occidental Petroleum and Venoco, are increasing their exploration efforts, including a joint three-dimensional seismic survey of one area. Companies with experience exploiting the Bakken Shale, including the New York-based Hess, have recently set up operations in Bakersfield, too. Jon Pepper, a spokesman for Hess, said in an email that it was “too early to talk in any definitive way” about the company’s plans in the Monterey Shale. But the oil companies’ plans for the Monterey Shale are already drawing increasing scrutiny from environmental



The Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013 tENERGY EXPO & FORUM

25



groups. Though oil companies have engaged in fracking in California for decades, the process was only loosely monitored by state regulators. The Monterey Shale’s geological formation will require companies to engage in more intensive fracking and deeper, horizontal drilling, a dangerous prospect in a seismically active region like California, environmental groups say. Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, are suing the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of Conservation to prevent the opening up of further land to oil exploration and to enforce stricter environmental practices. “If and when the oil companies figure out how to exploit that shale oil, California could be transformed almost overnight, said Kassie Siegel, a lawyer at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Fracking poisons the air we breathe and the water we drink. It is one of the most, if not the most, important environmental issue in California.”


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FRESNO, Calif. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a land rush of sorts going on across the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most productive farming region, but these buyers donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to grow crops. They want to plant solar farms. With California mandating that 33 percent of electricity be generated from renewables by the end of the decade, there are 227 proposed solar projects in the pipeline statewide. Coupled with wind and other renewables they would generate enough electricity to meet 100 percent of Californiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s power needs on an average summer day, the California Independent System Operator says. And new applications for projects keep arriving. Developers are ďŹ&#x201A;ocking to ďŹ&#x201A;at farmland near power transmission lines, but agriculture interests, environmental groups and even the state are concerned that there is no ofďŹ cial accounting of how much of this important agricultural regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s farmland is being taken out of production. â&#x20AC;&#x153;â&#x20AC;?Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been trying to get a handle on the extent of this for quite a while now,â&#x20AC;? said Ed Thompson of American Farmland Trust, which monitors how much of the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s farmland is absorbed by development. The California Department of Conservation, which is supposed to track development on privately held farmland, has been unable to do so because of staff and funding reductions, ofďŹ cials say. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d love to say we have all of that information, but we really donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t,â&#x20AC;? said Molly Penberth, manager of the land resource protection division. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to play catch up getting that information, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley.â&#x20AC;? Planning department records in four of the valleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest farming counties show about 100 solar generation plants already proposed on roughly 40,000 acres, or about the equivalent of 470 Disneyland theme parks. Planners in Fresno County say their applications for solar outnumber the ones they received for housing developments during the boom days. Solar developers have focused on the southern San Joaquin Valley over the past three years for the same reason as farmers: ďŹ&#x201A;at expanses of land and an

APOLINAR FONESCA/AP file photo

In this Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2011 file photo, solar panels are seen at the NRG Solar and Eurus Energy America Corp.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 45-megawatt solar farm in Avenal, Calif. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a land rush of sorts going on across the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most productive farming region, but these buyers donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to grow crops. Instead developers are looking to plant solar voltaic cells to generate electricity for a state mandated to get 33 percent from renewables by the end of the decade. abundance of sunshine. Land that has been tilled most often has fewer issues with endangered species than places such as the Mojave Desert, where an endangered tortoise slowed solar development on federal land. Much of the solar development is proposed for Kern, Tulare, Fresno and Kings counties, which are home to more than 400 crops that pump $30 billion into the economy and help sustain U.S. food security. In January, the farmland trust released a report projecting that by 2050 more than 570,000 acres across the region could be lost to development as the Central California population explodes. Farmland losses due to housing, solar development, a warming climate, cyclical drought and ongoing farm water rationing to protect endangered ďŹ sh, plus the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s signature transportation project â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the High Speed Rail â&#x20AC;&#x201D; are all issues the trust is trying to monitor. â&#x20AC;&#x153;These are things that donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make headlines, but come under the category that you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know what youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got until itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gone,â&#x20AC;? Thompson said. No statewide plan or policy exists to direct projects to areas where land is marginal for farming and power

CONTINUED on next page

26 ENERGY EXPO & FORUM tThe Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013

Solar development absorbing farmland

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CONTINUED from previous page transmission lines exist or can be easily routed, though groups as diverse as the Defenders of Wildlife and the independent state oversight agency Little Hoover Commission have issued studies calling for one. Projects are approved by elected county boards of supervisors, or if larger than 50 MW, the California Energy Commission. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no consistent approachâ&#x20AC;? county to county in deciding what gets approved on farmland, said Kate Kelly, a planning consultant who is studying the environmental impact of valley projects for Defenders of Wildlife. While one of the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading solar trade groups has not taken an ofďŹ cial position on conversion of farmland to solar, Katherine Gensler of the Solar Energy Industries Association says more thought must go into location. The largest solar facility operating so far covers 500 acres 60 miles northwest of BakersďŹ eld and produces enough electricity for 36,000 homes. Just three weeks into 2013, ďŹ ve valley farmers have told the Department of Conservation that they want to cancel low agriculture tax rate contracts to develop solar on their property. None takes advantage of a year-old law making it easier to cancel on marginal land,

Penberth said. County boards of supervisors are attracted to the promise of clean energy construction jobs. Some of the projects are on prime land as small as 20 acres, some on habitat shared by threatened or endangered species such as the kit fox, Swainsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hawk and blunt nose lizard. The 9,000-acre Maricopa Sun project in western Kern County is on prime land that the county says lacks a reliable water supply. Almost always developers chose sites because thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a willing seller in the vicinity of existing transmission lines, experts say. Transmission is the biggest reason for the holdup of a massive project that energy planners, agriculture interests and environmentalists agree is perfectly situated â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the Westlands Solar Park in remote Kings and Fresno counties. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s planned for 47 square miles of farmland fallowed because of high levels selenium in the soil. Developers say the project ultimately could provide 2.7 gigawatts of electricity â&#x20AC;&#x201D; enough for 2.7 million homes. But the wait for approval from the California Independent System Operator to tap into transmission lines for a large project proved too long so they got out. For now. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We realized it would be a seven-to-10 year process,â&#x20AC;? said Joshua Martin, the solar companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chief ďŹ nancial ofďŹ cer.

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;We could easily have spent $7 million in fees to stay in line, but it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make good business sense. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a messy market right now and things need to calm down.â&#x20AC;? Ten years might be wishful thinking. An email the ISO sent to stakeholders on Jan. 18 said that it could be 12 years or longer before the needed upgrades in transmission infrastructure could be complete for solar projects currently waiting for transmission hookups in the Fresno area. Westlands Solar Park is betting that environmental obstacles and connection costs will force many of the projects in the pipeline statewide to be abandoned. But what theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re hoping in the meantime is that state regulators eventually will direct solar development away from prime farmland. The California Energy Commission is set to make a move in that direction with adoption of a report that will recommend a coordinated approach placing solar in â&#x20AC;&#x153;zones with minimal environmental or habitat value,â&#x20AC;? near existing or planned electric system infrastructure. The agency would also collaborate with the Department of Conservation to identify areas of the state with marginal land. Martin says the move likely is too late to help the projects that are stalled and in danger of missing out on federal tax incentives that expire in 2016.

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The Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013 tENERGY EXPO & FORUM

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Renewable Energy BASICS

Wind The sun’s heat drives the winds, whose energy is captured with wind turbines. Then, the winds and the sun’s heat cause water to evaporate. When this water vapor turns into rain or snow and flows downhill into rivers or streams, its energy can be captured using hydropower. Solar Most renewable energy comes either directly or indirectly from the sun. Sunlight, or solar energy, can be used directly for heating and lighting homes and other buildings, for generating electricity, and for hot water heating, solar cooling, and a variety of commercial and industrial uses.



Biomass Along with the rain and snow, sunlight causes plants to grow. The organic matter that makes up those plants is known as biomass. Biomass can be used to produce electricity, transportation fuels, or chemicals. The use of biomass for any of these purposes is called biomass energy. Hydrogen Hydrogen also can be found in many organic compounds, as well as water. It’s the most abundant element on the Earth. But it doesn’t occur naturally as a gas. It’s always combined with other elements, such as with oxygen to make water. Once separated from another element, hydrogen can be burned as a fuel or converted into electricity. Geothermal Not all renewable energy resources come from the sun. Geothermal energy taps the Earth’s internal heat for a variety of uses, including electric power production, and the heating and cooling of buildings. And the energy of the ocean’s tides comes from the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun upon the Earth.

Learn more about renewable energy at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s website, http://www.nrel.gov/ Hydropower Flowing water creates energy that can be captured and turned into electricity. This is called hydroelectric power or hydropower. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory doesn’t perform any research in hydroelectric power technologies. For more information on hydroelectric power, check out “Hydropower Basics” from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program.

Ocean The ocean can produce thermal energy from the sun’s heat and mechanical energy from the tides and waves. The Nationl Renewable Energy Laboratory does not conduct research in ocean thermal energy or ocean mechanical energy. See the U.S. Department of Energy’s Consumer Guide Web site for basic information ocean energy.

ENERGY EXPO & FORUM tThe Daily Sentinel, Sunday, February 17, 2013

The United States currently relies heavily on coal, oil, and natural gas for its energy. Fossil fuels are nonrenewable, that is, they draw on finite resources that will eventually dwindle, becoming too expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve. In contrast, renewable energy resources — such as wind and solar energy — are constantly replenished and will never run out.

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