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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Oil Industry Externalities: Land Subsidence

Via A. E. Lewis on the distributist yahoogroup.
The dirty secret of the Oil and Gas business is that in order to get it out of the ground, you have to do things that are messing up the structure of the planet. When you pump the stuff out, the land subsides. It goes down not only from the volume of fuel removed, but also from the volume of all of the other stuff removed as well. A typical oil or gas well will extract 100 to 200 times more brine than oil or gas. This really sinks land. In California at Oak Hills, this lowered the land over 70 feet. In Alabama near Tuscaloosa, this has lowered mountains as much as 20 feet in one year of natural gas extraction operations....

This is causing the earth to slide. The Norphlet structure which dives below the surface at Tuscaloosa Alabama and across to about Shreveport, La, and well into Texas is 50,000 feet down at the lowest end of Petronius. Petronius, 65 miles south of the opening of Mobile Bay, is an old river delta that is now sliding into the ocean because of Oil and Gas Extraction. The slide is about 1 foot a year and accelerating, taking the whole region -- an area of about 100,000 square miles -- into the deep Gulf of Mexico.

This slide has caused the failure of one third of all of the wells drilled in Alabama in 1988 to 1990 early developments. The industry is very familiar with this problem although they have not publicized it....

The Oil and Gas operations which are just getting going in the area are also pumping down the coastal areas at about 1 to 2 feet a year. They are sinking -- never to rise again. So New Orleans is both sinking and sliding -- caused by the Oil and Gas Industry. By the time this plays out, the New Orleans area will have sunk some 30 to 60 feet!

A. E. Lewis comments:

I wonder what would happen if the COST of these huge land losses -- called "Land-Mass Destruction" -- were to be internalized into the price of oil and gas. Can you say "$8.99 pump price"? Or maybe even $12.99.

But we musn't do that. To save capitalism and unearned privilege we've got to keep the data well-disaggregated....

Also: "The industry is very familiar with this problem although they have not publicized it". Gee, what a surprise.

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