Posts Tagged ‘Haynesville’


Natural gas: Fuel of the future – CNNMoney.com

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — The world seems awash in natural gas.

In the United States, new production from once hard-to-tap shale rock is booming in places like Texas, Louisiana and the Northeast. There are also plans to construct a mammoth gas pipeline through Canada to bring Alaskan North Slope gas to market.

In Australia and Qatar, liquefied natural gas terminals have started supplying fast-growing Asian countries, and more are under construction.

In Africa, rich natural gas deposits off the coast of Angola are slated for both the domestic market and export to Europe, which still gets a big part of its supply from Russia’s huge reserves. Plans are also underway to supply both Europe and Asia with the sizable gas reserves in Iran and Iraq.

Forecasting agencies, long known to play it safe before touting new trends, are only predicting a modest increase in gas’ share of the world’s overall energy mix by 2030.

But some analysts are saying it could be much higher, with big implications for the electricity markets – and coal-fired power plants in particular.

How much do we have?

In the United States, it’s this shale natural gas that’s got everyone so excited.

This gas has been known about for some time, but new drilling and extraction technology has now made it commercially viable. There are some concerns over the environmental impact of this drilling, especiallywater pollution, but the sheer amount of new gas is getting major attention.

“We’ve basically won the lottery,” Michael Ming, president of Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America, an organization that studies new natural gas developments, said during a recent Time Inc. conference on energy technologies.

The amount of gas reserves in these new shales could double the nation’s known stockpile of natural gas, according to U.S. Geological Survey estimates.

Yet the U.S. Energy Information Administration is only forecasting a rise in natural gas production of under 20% by 2030. And as our overall energy use is expected to rise as well, natural gas’ share of our overall energy mix will be little changed. EIA’s estimates are in-line with other private forecasts.

Ming is among those who believe estimates for natural gas use are too small. He pointed to estimates from 10 years ago that said just 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas was likely in Texas’ Barnett Shale. That estimate is now 50 trillion cubic feet.

“There’s a lot of conservatism right now,” he said in an interview with CNNMoney. “We’re just at the very tip of this pyramid.”

What we use it for

Natural gas can be used for many things – to power cars, heat homes, cook, or generate electricity.

It’s this last use that will likely represent the biggest opportunity for gas in the next couple of decades.

For the last several years utilities have scrapped plans to build coal-fired power plants in favor of natural gas plants, which emit about half the carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. This move has become known in the power industry as the “dash to gas.”

But that dash has been only half-hearted, said Peter Tertzakian, chief energy economist at ARC Financial, a Calgary-based private equity firm.

Over a decade ago utility execs were promised natural gas would be abundant and cheap. But the production didn’t pan out as planned, and gas prices spiked even before oil prices did earlier this decade.

Prices have since dropped significantly, partially due to all the new shale gas, but utility execs are still leery this resource is for real.

‘It’s a question of believing,” said Tertzakian, who also thinks the estimates for future natural gas use are low. “Once they believe the trend, gas demand is more likely to gain momentum.”

Read entire article.

( read more )


Five Questions: Kallenberg sits on the Chris Garcia Hotseat – Statesman.com, Cox Newspapers

We spoke to Gregory Kallenberg, director of the documentary “Haynesville: A Nation’s Hunt for Energy.”

The film “takes place in the Louisiana backwoods, and follows the momentous discovery of the largest natural gas field in the United States — and maybe the world. It examines the historic find — a formation called the “Haynesville Shale” — from the personal level as well as from the higher perspective of the current energy picture and pending energy future.” (Kallenberg is a former reporter for the American-Statesman.)

More about the movie and its trailer HERE.

How did you come across this subject and what made it seem worthy of its own movie?

Gregory Kallenberg: Well before anyone knew the massive scale of the Haynesville discovery, there was this buzz going around northwest Louisiana. You couldn’t go anywhere without people whispering about “secret wells” and leasing checks being written for “millions of dollars.” It was this surreal “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” moment that makes you want to pick up a camera, hit the REC button and see what happens. At that point, the film was going to be a story about people’s experiences with this weird boomtown hysteria. Once we found out that all of this was true AND the impact of this find would have national impact, we knew we had a film that could address the bigger issue of energy, its human cost and what role that energy could play in our energy future.

What’s the film’s narrative and who are the main players?

The movie documents the discovery of the largest natural gas field in the U.S. The find, called the Haynesville Shale, has an estimated $1.75 trillion in gas and contains more energy than Brazil and Mexico combined. The film follows the beginning fervor of the Haynesville Shale and its effect on three people’s lives. Kassi, a single mom, fights for her community’s environmental rights. Pastor Reegis is an African American preacher who believes that God has delivered the Haynesville Shale and its riches to his congregation. And Mike, a self-described “country boy,” wrestles with the idea of giving up his pristine land in exchange for becoming an “overnight millionaire.” At the same time, you see academics, environmentalists and pundits discuss the broader impact of this find.

Your movie arrives amid a flux of activist docs about energy, conservation and food production. What does yours add to the dialogue?

“Haynesville” is unique in that it avoids the current trap of being a histrionic first-person, hyper-biased film. My goal as a filmmaker was to make a balanced piece about energy and its human cost and larger perceived benefit. I want people to see that energy is an amazingly complicated issue with very few easy answers. What’s most important to me is that people walk out of this film and start the conversation that will lay the foundation for our energy future. For the first time in history, I believe all of us have the power to chart the course for a clean energy future, and I hope “Haynesville” helps start that movement.

What do you think should be done with the Haynesville Shale? Are you conspicuously stepping aside from the argument or does the film make your point?

While I hope the film communicates my point, I will provide a bit of a spoiler here. I personally think we should have gotten off of coal yesterday. The extraction of coal is environmentally obscene and the emissions from coal are borderline poisonous. That said, I only believe in the use of vast energy sources like the Haynesville if we can figure out how to extract in as safe a way as possible that’s fair to landowners and environmentally responsible. If the gas industry and the environmental movement can work together on this, then we have a good shot at a clean energy future.

You screened the movie in Copenhagen at the big climate summit. What was the response? Are you galvanizing people and opinion?

Our screening in Copenhagen was an amazing experience for three reasons: 1) I had the unique opportunity to show my film at the world’s premiere environmental conference. 2) I saw an audience made up of environmentalists and energy lobbyists nodding together at the screen and, afterwards, coming together and discussing the film’s message. And 3) I fulfilled my life’s dream of eating Danish danishes and, I’m happy to report, they were way better than I ever imagined.

( read more )


Small Town, Big Find: The energy debate gets personal in ‘Haynesville’ – Austin Chronicle

By Joe O’Connell

The Rev. Reegis Richard was wandering through a field, hungrily eyeing a dilapidated former school and dreaming of the possibilities, when a Haynesville producer climbed over a fence out of curiosity. Five minutes later, a camera crew was set up, says documentary director Gregory Kallenberg.

It was the sort of serendipitous moment that has guided his documentary, which explores how a massive shale natural gas find in Louisiana is both fueling the dreams of Louisiana’s downtrodden and crushing them, while providing a potential solution to our nation’s energy thirst.

Richard sees the bucketloads of cash the find is bringing to the area as the fulfillment of a personal prophecy to save his dirt-poor African-American neighbors. “He truly believes God gave him these riches,” Kallenberg says. “He wants to give back to a congregation that literally has nothing. He ends up being this incredibly inspirational character. His passion I hope comes through on the camera.”

It does, as the preacher uses the sudden riches to bring the school back to life on screen. Kallenberg interweaves Richard’s story along with those of Mike Smith, a good old boy who finds himself a sudden multimillionaire from the shale his 300 acres of land contains, and – perhaps the doc’s most gripping character – Kassi Fitzgerald, a single mother who turns into a driven community activist to make sure both her economically depressed neighbors and the environment are treated fairly.

Kallenberg, who cut his teeth as an Austin American-Statesman technology reporter as the tech boom was blossoming in the late Nineties and later jumped into that boom full force at Austin’s NotHarvard.com, approached the film originally with a clear eye for the personal narrative, a storytelling philosophy that took root further in his days as a University of Texas film student. He originally followed 11 people affected by the Haynesville find. “As with most documentaries like this, some stories fizzled, and once some saw how obtrusive a camera can be, some people opted out,” he says. “I was left with about seven really compelling ‘personal’ narratives.” The final three stories made the cut “because they are such strong characters, and they embodied all sides of what was happening during this crazy time in Louisiana.”

Kallenberg had moved to Shreveport in 2007 and was in search of a next project. Haynesville fell in his lap while he was enjoying the legendary strawberry pie in Strawn’s Eat Shop. “I was sitting in this cafe, and these farmers out of central casting come stumbling in like they just left the creek at Sutter’s Mill,” he says. “I think it was the fervor as they discussed this secret gas well that put me into eavesdropping mode.” The northeast Louisiana discovery was not yet in the news, so Kallenberg, camera in hand, jumped in at an opportune time to tell the story. “It turned out this thing was real,” he says. “It blew up on me.”

The final film is one Kallenberg sees as significant in a much larger sense. “This issue of energy has become so prevalent,” he says. “It’s complicated. I really think the film transcends being just about these people but also how we are going to handle our energy future. My personal belief is there’s a lot of energy under the feet of Louisiana. We’ve got to work with the industry, and we have to dictate how it’s going to be extracted in a fair way, an environmentally safe way.”

That battle is portrayed in the film by single mother Fitzgerald, who never completed high school. She throws herself into tireless research and grassroots footwork once she realizes the oil companies are paying different amounts to different neighbors for gas rights, primarily based on the person’s economic situation. “She tries to overcome her lack of education by pure gumption,” Kallenberg says. “She comes really close to winning against greater odds. She ends up suing Exxon and wins the ability to move from federal court to parish court. Nobody told her that Exxon’s a big fucking conglomerate.”

Kallenberg makes an interesting choice with the oil industry’s side of the tale. “When it came to presenting the larger energy story, I wanted to be very careful and present it the right way,” he says.”I wanted it to be a compelling argument, and I wanted it presented by people outside of the oil industry. As a result, the bigger views on energy are delivered by academics like Tad Patzek, pundits like Austinite Robert Bryce, and world-renowned environmentalist Bill McKibben.”

The doc’s goal is more about engaging discussion about our energy future than pushing any one agenda – though Kallenberg is clear in his distaste for coal as an energy source. Haynesville screened at December’s Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, an event that hit home for him the importance of this chance project. “There were hardcore energy lobbyists on one side and hardcore environmentalists on the other,” he says. “It was heartening to see both sides look at the screen and nod at it. Haynesville really shows the issue from all levels. There is an intimate, tertiary exploration of the issue as these people on the ground grapple with consequences of the find. But Haynesvile also zooms out to a macro level, where you get to see what this energy could mean in getting us to a clean, renewable-based energy future. At the end, I really wanted to leave my audience in a place where they could start a conversation … and what they envision as an energy future.”

Read entire article.

( read more )


HAYNESVILLE Selected for Coveted “Spotlight Premiere” Slot at SXSW Film 2010

The news came to the “Haynesville” production office in a deceptively simple and somewhat cryptic E-mail from Janet Pierson, SXSW’s producer of the film festival: “Congrats! You’re in! Call me.”

It was the deciphering of the message that was so important.  The documentary “Haynesville: The Relentless Hunt for Energy Future” had been chosen for the world-renowned SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas.  Added to that, the film had earned a coveted “Spotlight Premiere” slot and would show at the historic Paramount Theater.

“I couldn’t believe it when Janet told me the news,” said Gregory Kallenberg, director of the film.  “Showing at SXSW was our highest goal.  After getting off of the phone, I actually think I had to sit down and process what had just happened.”

SXSW Film is globally known for being a top-tiered film festival and, with Sundance, the best festival in the country for documentaries.  This year, with less than 68 slots, SXSW broke a record by receiving over 750 documentary films.  Only 13 of the 68 are Spotlight Premieres.

“It’s an amazing honor, and just the way we wanted to premiere the film,” says Kallenberg.  “We feel like ‘Haynesville’ is an important film that needs to seen by the entire country, and we’re hoping that this prestigious showing helps position the film so that it can be seen by a wider audience.”

“Haynesville” plays on Tuesday, March 16 at 11am at the Paramount Theater.  Tickets will be available at the box office prior to the screening for $10.  SXSW badge holders can attend the screening as part of the conference.

ABOUT THE FILM: “Haynesville” is a film documenting the historic discovery of the nation’s largest natural gas field and its effect on three people’s lives.  The film also explores the potential impact of the Haynesville’s vast reserves of natural gas on a clean energy future.  The film has been honored by being an official selection at the Climate Summit in Copehagen and earned a Green Award nomination at the Sheffield International Doc/Fest in England.

ABOUT SXSW FILM: The SXSW® Film Conference and Festival is a uniquely creative environment featuring the dynamic convergence of talent, smart audiences and industry heavyweights. A hotbed of discovery and interactivity, the event offers lucrative networking opportunities and immersion into the art and business of the rapidly evolving world of independent film.

CONTACT:

Gregory Kallenberg

512-751-9000

gregory@haynesvillemovie.com

More information and the film trailer: www.HaynesvilleMovie.com

Facebook group: www.Facebook.com/HaynesvilleMovie

More information on SXSW Film: sxsw.com/film/screenings

###

( read more )


Obama’s State of the Union’s Energy Pitch – Chicago Tribune

Pitching his energy and climate agenda to a joint session of Congress last February, President Obama warned of the “ravages of climate change” and asked the House and Senate to send him legislation to send me legislation “that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America.”

Tonight, in his State of the Union address, Obama pushed essentially the same energy agenda with language that was decidedly more … aisle-crossing.

He won bipartisan applause by emphasizing plans to build new nuclear plants, develop so-called “clean coal” technology and drill for oil and gas offshore – initiatives favored by many Republicans, and a clear attempt to attract GOP support for a Senate energy and climate bill.

The President didn’t explicitly mention a carbon cap – a key feature of his efforts to lead a global effort to combat climate change, and which many Republicans oppose because they say it would kill American jobs – though he did call for “comprehensive” energy and climate legislation, which, in Washington code, means Obama is still pushing for greenhouse gas emissions limits.

He also acknowledged “those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change.”

In language that echoed his campaign rhetoric of his 2008 opponent, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Obama told those climate skeptics: “Here’s the thing: Even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future – because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy.”

The language won cheers from Republicans, at least in the drilling and nuke sections. Environmentalists liked it, too; Frances Beinecke, the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, called the speech “a clear and unmistakable call to action” on the climate bill that appears stuck in a legislative queue behind health care, a jobs bill and financial regulation.

Here are the key paragraphs on energy policy:

Next, we need to encourage American innovation. Last year, we made the largest investment in basic research funding in history – an investment … an investment that could lead to the world’s cheapest solar cells or treatment that kills cancer cells but leaves healthy ones untouched. And no area is more ripe for such innovation than energy. You can see the results of last year’s investments in clean energy – in the North Carolina company that will create 1200 jobs nationwide helping to make advanced batteries; or in the California business that will put 1,000 people to work making solar panels.

But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. (chamber-wide ovation) It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies. And yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America.

I am grateful to the House for passing such a bill last year. And this year, this year, I am eager to help advance the bipartisan effort in the Senate. I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy. I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But … But, here’s the thing: Even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future – because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. America must be that nation.

And, for comparison, the similar passages from Obama’s 2009 speech:

We know the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will lead the 21st century. And yet, it is China that has launched the largest effort in history to make their economy energy efficient. We invented solar technology, but we’ve fallen behind countries like Germany and Japan in producing it. New plug-in hybrids roll off our assembly lines, but they will run on batteries made in Korea.

Well I do not accept a future where the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders – and I know you don’t either. It is time for America to lead again.

Thanks to our recovery plan, we will double this nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years. We have also made the largest investment in basic research funding in American history – an investment that will spur not only new discoveries in energy, but breakthroughs in medicine, science and technology.

We will soon lay down thousands of miles of power lines that can carry new energy to cities and towns across this country. And we will put Americans to work making our homes and buildings more efficient so that we can save billions of dollars on our energy bills.

But to truly transform our economy, protect our security and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy. So I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America. And to support that innovation, we will invest $15 billion a year to develop technologies like wind power and solar power; advanced biofuels, clean coal and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks built right here in America.

As for our auto industry, everyone recognizes that years of bad decision-making and a global recession have pushed our automakers to the brink. We should not, and will not, protect them from their own bad practices. But we are committed to the goal of a re-tooled, re-imagined auto industry that can compete and win. Millions of jobs depend on it. Scores of communities depend on it. And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it.

None of this will come without cost, nor will it be easy. But this is America. We don’t do what’s easy. We do what is necessary to move this country forward.

( read more )


Climate Change: Humor Me with a Game of Pretend

earth

For the moment, let’s assume that global climate change is real. I know, a lot of you have sent me E-mails and links to the contrary.  And yes, I’m well aware of Climategate and the E-mails from the scientists that popped up on the Internet and every other news site.

But humor me, play along and pretend for a moment that climate change is a truth (for those who believe that climate change is real, I ask no change your mindset).  Now that it’s real (remember, anti-climate change folks, we’re pretending) what does climate change really mean to us?  How does it make us feel  What does it make us do?

First, how does the idea of global warming — the idea that the globe is getting hotter and that catastrophic effects will occur — make us feel?  Primarily, it scares us.  No one wants the globe to heat, especially if it means that terrible things would happen — ice caps melting, Pacific islands disappearing, etc..  So where does that lead us?

This horrendous revelation leads us to an intense need to look at the reasons behind this phenomenon.  And this leads us to explore carbon in the atmosphere as one of the possible culprits.  In the United States, we start to break it down to fuel sources, and coal sticks out as a primary offender.  At this point, we put our heads together and try to find ways to mitigate the carbon problem.  If we can mitigate the carbon problem, then maybe — in this thought game that we are continuing to play — we have a chance to slow down climate change.

Because we are smart, and because we want to stop global warming, we start to look at cleaner fuel sources and start developing new ways to generate energy.  This developing of new energy technology takes time, so we need to buy ourselves a couple of decades.  We look at our available fuel sources and find that natural gas could be a good way to go.  It’s cleaner than coal and more available than oil.  Because we need the time, we start to replace coal with natural gas in electricity generation.  We even consider natural gas as a transportation fuel and build natural gas “filling stations” for truck fleets.  This give us the necessary leeway to build better, more affordable renewable sources of energy.

In the end, we look up (from this imaginary scenario) and realize this fear of global warming has done something really interesting.  It has set us on a path to avoid this doomsday scenario and, in the end, we have advanced civilization to next generation of power creation.  This drive to solve this huge problem has left us in a better place, a place where our air is cleaner, the world isn’t getting AS warm AS fast and we have an amazing shot at a bright energy future.

Now, you can stop pretending.

We’re back to the immediate present, and let’s say that these guys have totally lied about global warming and climate change.  Let’s say this was a huge conspiracy to sell more windmills or an ingenious marketing ploy to get ad rates up for histrionic cable news programs.  What does it really mean that we’ve sweated a phenomenon that we’re not sure about one way or the other?  Is it really that bad that we’re driving hard to create a cleaner and more sustainable energy future?  Is it terrible that we’re angered by coal and are now exploring natural gas and renewables as a major part of the future energy mix?  Because, in the end, from where I’m standing, this game of pretending has done some pretty amazing things.

( read more )