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The Frack Lab: in-depth reporting on shale gas and oil

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  • Mason Inman
    I m new to this list, but I wanted to see if people here would be willing to support a new reporting project I m launching, The Frack Lab, that will do
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 6, 2014
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      I'm new to this list, but I wanted to see if people here would be willing to support a new reporting project I'm launching, The Frack Lab, that will do detailed analysis of shale gas and oil, down to the individual well level.


      Since you all don't know me, I'll tell you a bit about myself. I've been following peak oil issues for the last few years. 
      Since you all don't know me, I'm an award-winning journalist who has covered climate and energy issues for the past several years for outlets including Scientific American, National Geographic News, Science, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

      I'm also finishing writing a book, the first biography of peak oil pioneer M. King Hubbert, to be published next year by W. W. Norton.

      My new reporting project, The Frack Lab, is on an independent publishing platform called Beacon, and I'm seeking subscribers for $5 a month. I'll post once a week, with posts aimed at getting a better handle on a key question: How long can the shale boom last?

      So far I've gotten support from more than 25 subscribers, including some people well known in peak oil circles, such as Jeremy Leggett, David Hughes (author of the Post Carbon Institute report "Drill, Baby, Drill"), and Jeremy Gilbert (former BP geologist).

      The type of analysis I'll be doing will be along the lines of what David Hughes has been doing. But whereas he uses a commercial database, DrillingInfo, for detailed information on wells, I'll be using publicly available information. Some of this requires a serious effort to collect. For North Dakota's Bakken wells, for example, the historical record for each well is posted on its own webpage, so I had to build a web scraper that automatically went through more than 7,000 pages, downloaded the data tables, and stitched them together.

      My analyses will include:
      —Decline curves for each play, for each vintage of wells (i.e., 2009, 2010, 2011...)
      —Maps showing the activity, like this one I made of the Bakken: http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/masoninman.ND_well_index/page.html#8/47.872/-102.912
      —Graphs showing the results, like one I made for a recent Scientific American article, "Frack, Baby, Frack as Conventional Drilling Declines"

      I hope some of you would be willing to support The Frack Lab, or could forward this on to others who might be interested. For more information, and to subscribe, visit:

      Thanks for reading,
      Mason


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      Mason Inman, science writer

      a biography of geologist M. King Hubbert
      forthcoming from W. W. Norton

      Twitter & Skype: masoninman
      M: +1-916-527-4014, O: +1-415-508-4493
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