DEAD COW IN lively search for oil

1213MEM_CoverThere’s a lot about the Magellanic Penguins living in Patagonia that is fascinating. Part of it is their cool designation; they’re named after Ferdinand Magellan who first spotted the little critters in 1519. Another has to do with their happy feet. These penguins have been known to wander from the southern coast of Argentina all the way to southern Brazil.

When one of my cousins was over from Argentina a few weeks ago, we began to plan our visit to these penguins and other native wildlife. Recently, there’s been a lot of interest in Patagonia, if not to ogle the spectacular natural landscape, then to put a stake—or drilling pipe—in the ground
and dig for oil.

According to a report this year from the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale oil and shale gas field in the Neuquén region is one of the largest of its kind in the world. It might turn out that Vaca Muerta—which translates to dead cow—may well replace Argentina’s vast beef production as the country’s main source of economic strength. Of course that’s contingent on overcoming major political obstacles, since President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner hasn’t exactly been kind to foreign investors. Nonetheless, Chevron, viewing the region’s immense bounty, is pushing on and making some headway with Queen Cristina, as the president’s detractors have nicknamed her.

Besides the politics, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, remains as controversial among critics in Argentina as in the U.S. Concerns range from contaminated groundwater to the atmospheric impact of the equipment that’s used in the process, which occurs when chemical-laced water and sand are blasted underground to break apart rock and release gas.

There are nuances to the entire gas exploration and production process that even those in the midst of the debate often confuse the facts. In our cover story, “Fracturing Rocks to Unlock New Oil,” on page 24, we sort out how the process works and bring some clarity. An adjoining article, “Home on the Shales” reported by Bridget Mintz Testa, places us in Texas—one of the most robust states for hydraulic fracturing in the U.S.—and in the middle of a storm over the technology.

But no matter which side of the hydraulic fracturing frenzy you’re on, the industry is becoming more efficient as technology is getting better and companies more adept at using it. In March, ASME will try to unlock the answers to some of the questions surrounding hydraulic fracturing and related well drilling when it launches its first Energy Forum Live event, “Shale Development and Hydraulic Fracturing—Capturing Unconventional Opportunities.”

The conference is scheduled for California, far from Patagonia and any penguin sightings. It’s not likely I’ll be visiting the Magellanics before March, but it won’t be for lack of prodding from frequent contributor Lee Langston. (Langston’s article this month on the Blackbird, a supersonic reconnaissance aircraft and its revolutionary engine, takes us behind the scenes of the acclaimed Lockheed Skunk Works division, which developed it.)

Besides his passion and knowledge of gas turbines, Langston is an accomplished traveler who has visited the southernmost tip of South America several times. When we chat, he always leaves me craving to hear the bellows of the charismatic penguins of Patagonia. Much as those searching the shale hunger after the sight of oil.

27 Responses to “DEAD COW IN lively search for oil”

  1. December 3, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    If you want to obtain a great deal from this article then
    you have to apply such techniques to your won webpage.

  2. December 28, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Youre decent relating to this being the musical, though the genuine cues are so understated regarding take that distinction assess more than your mind. I cherished the tempting feel this film envelopes an individual in, from the definite music towards the cinematography to the free performances. It is measured one of their finest films, even if in the vein of plum, it ages enhanced eventually.

  3. April 25, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I’m gone to inform my little brother, that he should
    also pay a visit this web site on regular basis to take updated from hottest gossip.

  4. May 6, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Wonderful goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are simply too magnificent.

    I actually like what you’ve bought here, certainly like what you are stating and the best way by which you are saying it.

    You are making it enjoyable and you still care for to keep it
    wise. I cant wait to learn much more from you. That is really a great site.

  5. June 18, 2014 at 4:05 am

    Just desire to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity in your post is simply nice
    and i can assume you are an expert on this subject.

    Well with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post.
    Thanks a million and please keep up the enjoyable

  6. June 26, 2014 at 1:31 am

    Drobiazgowe spojrzenie na sytuację, każdy winien rozczytać dodatkowo zapoznać
    się z przedmiotem.

  7. July 5, 2014 at 11:57 am

    I’ve learn some excellent stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for revisiting.
    I wonder how much attempt you set to create the sort of magnificent informative web

  8. July 10, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Are you relaxing perfectly? Many time have been appreciated
    by the family members, bonding within the discussion connected with naruto cosplay.
    Astonishingly naruto cosplay is heralded by simply shopkeepers and also investment bankers likewise, leading many to convey that we now have not ample
    blues tracks discussed naruto cosplay. The
    item however has got the power to surprise thus named ‘babies’, most of who are
    not able to realize the total opportunity connected with naruto cosplay.
    Rest, settle-back and gasp as i show this rich tapestries
    associated with naruto cosplay.

  9. July 16, 2014 at 2:31 am

    Hi, Neat post. There is a problem together
    with your website in web explorer, would check this?
    IE still is the marketplace leader and a large component to other folks will omit your excellent writing due to this problem.

  10. October 4, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    In fact when someone doesn’t be aware of after that its up to other
    visitors that they will help, so here it takes place.

  11. October 10, 2014 at 9:48 am

    You should be a part of a contest for one of the best sites on the net.
    I will recommend this web site!

  12. March 7, 2015 at 7:51 am

    Fabuła pokrewna każdemu, polecam literaturę Producenci placów

  13. March 9, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks a lot for sharing this with all folks you really realize
    what you are talking approximately! Bookmarked. Please also consult wiyh my website =).
    We will have a hyperlink change arrangemnent among us

  14. March 20, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Excellent article. I’m experiencing many of these issues
    as well..

  15. April 13, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Każdy z nas zetknął się z przedmiotem, polecam zapoznanie się
    z punktem. Producent placów zabaw

  16. April 1, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    I used to be suggested this blog by means of my cousin.
    I am no longer certain whether this put up is written by means of him as no one else recognize such distinctive about my problem.
    You are incredible! Thanks!

  17. May 14, 2016 at 2:14 am

    good CinemaBox comes with an amazing and excessive collection of videos and Television set Courses. You can download your selected videos to your phones or you can enjoy them on the web.nice.

  18. February 15, 2017 at 6:15 am

    good over their tv display as well as watch limitless motion pictures with friends and family. Please keep in mind that AllCast, best.

  19. April 4, 2017 at 2:11 am

    That’s 0.5 on the charm on You TV Player missing.The app solely shows you movies hosted on YouTube, that is meant to create things faster. Why would you would like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

The Editor

John G. Falcioni is Editor-in-Chief of Mechanical Engineering magazine, the flagship publication of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

December 2013

Twitter from John Falcioni

Twitter from Engineering for Change

%d bloggers like this: