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Greenies Love Cetera

November 9, 2011

I had a conversation with a self proclaimed “environmentalist” on the way home from the annual SPE ATCE conference in Denver, CO last week.

We found ourselves on a jet bound for New Orleans with a group of 35 engineers. As we spoke, we exchanged business cards, spoke about the presentations at the conference, appreciating the technological advances of the Oil and Gas Industry and the brilliant minds behind that advancement.

As I handed out my business cards, I went to give a card to the woman sitting in front of me.

She responded by telling me “You certainly don’t want to give one of those cards to me. You and I won’t get along. I am an ‘environmentalist.’ ”

I apologized for my assumption and sat back in my seat. To my surprise, she turned around and began to harangue me about Hydraulic Fracturing. She said the industry spent “blood money” and began to run through the litany of arguments against Hydraulic Fracturing that I have heard countless times before. It was no surprise to me that she had near to no understanding about what she was saying, nor did it surprise me that her excitement, volume, and the pace of her speech grew as she went through her list.

She was as passionate as she was hypocritical, flying in a jet fueled by kerosene (Jet A or Jet A-1), brought to her by the same people she was bashing, while the jet emitted emissions and she did a cross-word puzzle under the light provided by fossil-fueled electricity. She sat on a seat made of synthetic materials and used a cell phone.

I watched the engineers look back and forth at one another, shaking their heads in disbelief. Here, there was a conglomeration of at least 136 years of Petroleum Engineering education but this woman would not and could not have been convinced if all of them had appealed to her individually.

She didn’t want to have a conversation. She was interested in saying what she had to say, nothing more.

How do I know this?

I asked her to clarify certain things that she said, attempting to converse with her when she promptly turned around and began to fill out her cross-word puzzle. This has by and large been my experience with “environmentalists”. This got my brain wheeling at what appeared to me to be a conflict of interests on her part.

Hydraulic Fracturing isn’t solely used in Shale Gas Plays across the United States.  It is used for Oil Wells.

One of the things that bugs me to my core are the selective criticisms and extremely limited and/or vague solutions provided by the “environmentalist” community.

They lack a plan to fill the void that would exist, should Oil & Gas be eliminated. They think of Oil and Gas in terms of energy and emissions as concepts removed from the fabrication of products or related economic impacts.

I don’t believe that the Green Community has any idea of what this world would look like without Oil and Gas/Hydraulic Fracturing.

I hear about emissions problems, the “toxic” content of Frac Fluids, the “dishonesty” of “Big Oil and Gas”. I never hear them speak about any of the benefits. Never.

I have personally heard environmentalists mock industry executives who talk about maintaining America’s “quality of life” by pointing out that these Executives make millions while joking: “Of course they want to maintain their quality of life, they want to keep making millions, and they do it by whatever means necessary.”

This is equivalent to a PETA member wearing a fur coat riding a horse on a leather saddle as they grind in their spurs while shooting a buffalo in a coon skin cap.

If they want to argue that “Water is life,” fine.

I will argue that there is no way around acknowledging that “Oil is responsible for our quality of life.”

Ignoring this fact is perplexing.

I can 100% guarantee you that the Environmentalists who want to see an end to Hydraulic Fracturing live well because of the benefits of the practice.

Ninety percent of all wells in the United States utilize this process.

There is a major correlation between the life we live and how Hydraulic Fracturing provides it for us. Oil and Gas are used in ways that don’t ultimately produce motor oil, fuels, lubricants, energy etc.

Oil is the basis for synthetic polymers (plastics), synthetic rubber, Bakelite, neoprene, nylon, PVC, polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyacrylonitrile, PVB, polytetrafluoroethylene, and silicone.

What does this mean?

This means that you could go through your house and your car and find that 99% of it exists because of Oil and Gas.

OR (hypothetically)

Let’s say that you are an outdoor person who dislikes Oil and Gas because you believe these companies are destroying your environment.

You like to spend your time climbing and hiking through the various national parks, off of the beaten path where the sounds of cars and jets are nowhere to be found. You live for setting up in the wild next to a campfire looking at the stars as the sparks pop and your coffee percolates. You find constellations and cook meals out of a mess kit. You get your water from the local stream. You have a bushy beard.

This fun would not exist without Oil and Gas.

If you believe that Oil and Gas are an evil that this world cannot bear to endure, then you’d better not bring a tent, footprint, rain-shell, hiking boots, stove, sunglasses, swimsuit, flip-flops, nylon rope, sunglasses, contact lenses, antihistamines, aspirin, band-aids, parachute hammock, water bottles, or synthetic/Gore-Tex anything, underwear, jackets, tech pants, sleeping bags, sleeping pad, hiking pack, tape, antiseptics, ice chests, deodorant, fleece, water filter pump, Zytel handled knife/hatchet etc.

You may want to walk barefoot. Bike tires are made from synthetic rubber, as are the soles of your shoes and their laces and uppers.

You may want to travel in a giant woolen sweater knit by hand, because the entire lighter/faster/stronger/more resilient outdoor equipment movement, the one that measures hiking packs and their contents in ounces rather than pounds, was made possible by the advent of Nylon (polyamide) and Gore-Tex (polytetrafluoroethylene), whose bases are none other than oil.

That $600.00 bomber 3 layer Technical Mountaineering Jacket you just bought, the one that fights monsoons and avalanches with the hammer of Thor and wins, the one made in Sweden by real Viking-esque Swedes, it is made up of polyamide, which is oil-based.

Don’t bring insect repellent either; bad news, it is made from oil as well.

Hydraulic Fracturing is not only used for Natural Gas. It is routinely used on Oil Wells.

We don’t get to live like we live without Oil and Gas just like we don’t get to live without water.

Plastic signs, sunglasses, dye for paint, dye for clothing, dye for hair, nylon woven clothing/hats, shoes with rubber soles, nylon back packs, cell phones etc. are all readily observed at a typical protest. Based on what “environmentalists” buy and use, it looks like they love what Oil and Gas can provide for them, because they use these products.

These all exist because of Oil.

Is someone going to protest the protestors now?…

…To be like PETA members who used to run at the folks who purchased fur coats and douse them with a cup of ink.

As consumers, they are proponents of the Oil and Gas Industry whether they want to be or not.

I keep thinking of the Heineken commercial where the guy asks his friend, Maurice, about whether or not he likes Peter Cetera.

“You like Peter Cetera?”

“Nooooooo….But they do. Yeah, the ladies love Cetera. And if you love the ladies, by default, you love Cetera.”

“So, I love Peter Cetera?”

“You got it.”

I am just waiting for this to hit home because when it does, I hope to find a lot of those really expensive tech-jackets at thrift stores throughout the country. I love those jackets. They can protect me from the snow and wind when I go mountain climbing.

Come on Greenies…


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