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Treading Water: Pros And Cons Of Fracking

Thursday, 25 July 2013 00:00

I read with interest, the April 2012 Anton News article about the panel discussion pros and cons of so-called “hydrofracking.” The debate as framed makes good points, however, it also misses a few key points. What is overlooked in the current imbroglio, is that when I was an exploration and development geologist for a Fortune 100 oil and gas company, for all the majors I worked with the preferred industry standard well completion practice was called an “acid frac, or an acid job,” for both oil and gas wells. Based on my understanding, it is still the preferred method for non-horizontal wells (i.e. vertical wells, not the tight shale plays), not hydrofracking. The acids pumped into these wells are highly concentrated, such as hydrofluoric and hydrochloric acid, to basically “clean out” or dissolve rock and natural cements to produce preferential flow paths for oil and gas to enter into the well bore. These are old practices and involve hundreds of thousands of U.S. wells, than are typically hydrofracked. These are unregulated practices, as are the drilling muds that are used. “Mud” is also a misleading term, as these muds are laden with various polymers, chemicals, and heavy metals, formulated to bring to surface drilled crushed rock, to coat the borehole to prevent contamination of water bearing zones, and importantly to prevent blowouts as the borehole is being advanced. My company experienced a “blowout” of a 17,000 well in Oklahoma, that blew the entire drill string out of the hole because it had encountered an over-pressured gas zone and the mud was not thick or heavy enough to counter the massive pressure. “Muds” are excluded from reporting, regulation or oversight by the so-called “Chaney” clause. It must be noted that key to a successful well is the completion method employed, the type of mud used, and how the well casing is advanced and literally cemented into place. The blow out of BP’s Deep Water Horizon Anaconda well in the Gulf is a recent chief case in point of questionable cementing and related practices, there was also a major blowout several years prior in Ohio. Well drilling and completions are not regulated, left up to what is termed “best professional practice.” Large areas and groundwater zones in many old producing areas in the continental U.S. are contaminated from prior practices. This realization is kind of like the effort citizens and the government had to come up with to effect seatbelt and other safety standards for cars to reduce deaths and injuries, because inspite or despite best practice, accidents do happen. 


Stephen Cipot


Phil-osophically Speaking

Written by Phil Guarnieri Thursday, 25 July 2013 00:00

Burden Of Proof

It’s a concept so indelibly stamped into the American Justice System, that its absence from jurisprudence would be as startling as if the Sun was plucked from the sky: A criminal defendant is innocent until proven guilty. The explosive but not unexpected reaction to the verdict of the six-women jury in Florida acquitting George Zimmerman in the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has given rise to but another debate on burden of proof.


The racial mix, as it often does, proved as precarious as nitroglycerin.  Florida’s “stand your ground” laws provided the basis for Zimmerman’s defense in the case. Zimmerman, despite a warning from the police to stand down, followed Martin within the complex he was patrolling, which led to a fight between the two. During the scuffle Zimmerman shot Martin in what he says was self-defense.


Phil-osophically Speaking

Written by Phil Guarnieri Thursday, 18 July 2013 00:00

Gettysburg: An American Anniversary

A quarter of a century has now passed since I first set foot on the lush, rolling farmlands of a quaint little town called Gettysburg. My journey to this picaresque destination was not a bucolic rendezvous with nature but a pilgrimage into the vortex of history where a new nation was forged in blood and musket fire. Amid these fairest shades of earth a battle of monumental proportions was fought, an encounter that would decide the fate of a young Republic defined by the loftiest expressions of freedom, yet burdened by the existence of slavery.


Distance 1

Thursday, 11 July 2013 00:00
You were there
across the distance,
with me on the other side,
and I was aching
to see you.

Children, we were,
casually stepping out
of ourselves endless times:
where you and I
were happy
in this light.

Our other lives came,
which seemed more,
like a carousel’s ring;
and I came
stepping into my own,
into the present,
longing for them.

—Stephen Cipot

Phil-osophically Speaking - July 12, 2013

Written by By Phil Guarnieri, Thursday, 11 July 2013 00:00

The Extreme Court

The Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) did not come as a surprise, at least to me, but the court’s chutzpah never ceases to surprise. First the DOMA opinion, or specifically the majority decision written by Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, is an intellectual mess. The court is overturning DOMA on narrow grounds based upon state rights. At the same the time the court says it won’t tolerate any laws that treat homosexuals differently than heterosexuals.

In Tribute

Wednesday, 03 July 2013 00:00
For Katie McBride and her perfect run
This morning I heard a rare bird singing
A most beautiful song; in a voice so sweet
And pure it brightened sunlight.  
Surely you must have heard?

I thought she was the perfect answer
To my plight, and meditated on it.
I wanted to make my acquaintance,
But wherever I looked no bird sat atop
The bough, and the voice became
That of a child borne aloft—so eloquent
And elusive, like a snowflake in summer.

We run around, driven by our hectic pace
And thought, in too many directions,
Exhausting all our strength,
And we suffer for it.
Be that as it may, she gives us
The angelic gift of her impassioned song;
I always want to hear it.

That her faultless little steps not be lost
I linger on the thought: no shadow now
Can hurry her off at last; she makes
Her own sweet time, secure and snug,
To take her fill of God’s Heavenly will,
And blesses us for listening.
There she sings, so the greatest sorrow
Becomes a joy, that we may have
Our dreams and prayers to live by,
Promised all along.
--Stephen Cipot

Letter: A Real Shame: Princesses: Long Island

Wednesday, 03 July 2013 00:00

I’m proud to represent an area of Long Island that has been the location for many famous movies and TV shows, including Citizen Kane, Annie Hall, and the hit television series Boardwalk Empire. It’s even the setting for The Great Gatsby. Shamefully, it’s also now the location for a show whose characters are disgraceful, misleading, and fuel anti-Semitic stereotypes: Princesses: Long Island.

Full disclosure: I kind of enjoy reality TV. Storage Wars and Pawn Stars are among my guilty pleasures. So the idea of watching a reality show taking place in my own backyard wasn’t so far-fetched. I knew little about the show before sitting down to watch the season premiere.


Phil-osophically Speaking - July 3 - July 9, 2013

Written by Phil Guarnieri Wednesday, 03 July 2013 00:00

Crossing The Red Line

It is time to admit the painfully obvious: Things are a mess in the Middle East and half measures by the United States have only exacerbated the situation. What started as a local conflict in Syria has now become a multi-national bloodbath. We can no longer say that what’s happening there is a civil war. It is impossible to argue that the struggle there is now trans-national.

We now have Iran and Hezbollah fighting with Bashar al-Assad. These are not populations indigenous to Syria. Add to that fiery mix Russia, China and a host of other belligerents and you have a 21st-century version of the Spanish American War, which claimed nearly a million lives in the 1930s and was a precursor to the global conflagration we know as World War II. Everyone, until most recently, seems to be involved in the struggle over Syria except the United States who has a great deal to lose if either Assad or another one of the radical elements prevails.


Sky Blue

Thursday, 27 June 2013 00:00

an Ode to Catherine Cipot


It surrounds 

like a sudden stillness.

Wistful.  A whisper

of sorts.


Phil-osophically Speaking

Written by Phil Guarnieri Thursday, 27 June 2013 00:00

Bringing Home The Bacon

Things were crackling on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News program as she took to task pundits Erick Erickson, Lou Dobbs and Juan Williams about the meaning of a Pew Research Center study that revealed that in two out of five American homes, it’s mom who brings home the bacon. Megyn Kelly, a mother of two with one on the way, was sizzling over her all-male panel’s dismay about these findings and its unhappy forebodings about the future of American society. 


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