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SpaceX #12 - Feeding Elon's STARBASE will require hundreds of newly fracked or drilled oil and gas wells
That these minor details are left out of an Environmental assessment is criminal
Hi friends, back at it. So we know Elon’s drilling for gas but the question is onto size and scope.
🚨10/12 UPDATE: ORIGINAL ASSUMPTION WAS BASED ON 250 MW POWER PLANT NEEDS PLUS OVERHEAD FOR LNG/ROCKET FUEL
IN PART 13, WE DISCOVERED THAT THE GAS PLANT IS ALL BUT CERTAINLY FOUR (4) TIMES BIGGER THAN NEEDED (200 vs 50 million scuffs/day). SO ALL NUMBERS FOR IMPACT CAN BE MULTIPLIED BY 4. THANKS FOR CARING ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT, ELON!!!!!
CHAPTER 12: BOCA CHICA MIDSTREAM PARTNERS, INC (A First Principals First Energy Company™)
Now, we’ve covered the following facts:
The 250 Megawatt powerplant planned for SpaceX’s STARBASE will need something like 25 million standard cubic feet (mmscf) of pipeline spec Natural Gas (97% methane)
The cryogenic gas plant that feeds the power plant will be sized in the 50 mmscf/day range. This is based on industry standard deethanizer column sizing as well as spec field “wet” gas (50-75% methane by weight), and accounting a 20% overhead for rocket fuel (e.g. LNG) production
There is no gathering system nearby and we do know that SpaceX has been buying leases. This handy infographic lays out the logic:
We covered in a previous post that a 50 mmscf/day gas plant will consume 20 years worth of natural gas production from all of Cameron county in a matter of 4-5 months. To feed that kind of operation, they’re going to have to drill, big time.
Now, I’ve seen some commentary online from the SpaceX fanbase (who are now apparently experts in the oil and gas business!) that the company will just take some old gas leases, uncap the well and make magic happen. But, 50 million cubic feet of gas is a pretty decent amount. So let’s game through how many holes we’re talking here.
Texas RRC region 4 is the southernmost of the oil districts, and is as good of a surrogate for data as we’re going to get. The area around Cameron county isn’t exactly a prolific producer, as it’s not on top of the big boys of natural gas. So most of this data is from the Eagle Ford formation:
The top 25% of actively producing natural gas wells in Region 4 put out an average of 116 million cubic feet of wet natural gas per year. That might sound like a lot, but SpaceX’s gas plant is sized to take in 18.2 *Billion* scuffs every year.
That would point towards needed at minimum:
155 newly fracked and drilled gas wells 💦🛢️
Keep in mind that these assumptions all benefit SpaceX tremendously. Actual numbers will all but certainly be worse, given their non existent proximity to high production fields. In reality they need probably at least 300 wells, but we’re assuming SpaceX becomes the most competent producers in the world
Natural gas production drops off drastically after initial drilling or re-fracturing, which implies:
35-50 New Frack jobs every year
Here are some numbers to go along with this kind of operation1:
Land use of 600 acres (well pads + tanks + roads)
670 million gallons of water used initially, 150 million annually thereafter
25+ Process Flares
100+ condensate and produced water tanks
50,000 - 100,000 annual barrels of Condensate light oil production at the wellhead
Field VOC emissions of 500 tons per year
CO2e emissions annually of 56,000 tons (just from fugitives and flares)
300+ miles of gathering system pipelines (2-8 inches)
Oil is a dirty, tough business
Look, this post isn’t specifically to rag on the oil business. It has tremendous environmental externalities, this is a commonly known fact. The problem is that none of the above is included in discussions about STARBASE. Not in the media and not in the Draft Environmental Assessment.
Yo Elon: you wanna get into the oil business? Have at it.
Just can we please, at the very least, try to not greenwash this industry? That would be great.
The lack of honesty is stunning, really.
CLICK HERE FOR PART 1 - NEPA Primer / FAA has no business permitting oil and gas facilities
CLICK HERE FOR PART 2 - Elon Musk’s Natural Gas Treatment Plant
CLICK HERE FOR PART 3 - SpaceX is building a pipeline and doesn’t feel the need to mention it
CLICK HERE FOR PART 4 - SpaceX dreams of drilling for a sh*tload of oil
CLICK HERE FOR PART 5 - A discussion on the hugeness of the project, a parade of tankers and a reality check about the Oil and Gas biz
CLICK HERE FOR PART 6 - The Facility would be a Major Source of Pollution under the PSD Rules in the Clean Air Act, which by statutory definition would exclude it from fast track approval under NEPA
CLICK HERE FOR PART 7 - The GHG and CO2 emissions are plainly nonsense
CLICK HERE FOR PART 8 - ESG Hound drops the gauntlet and explains why this is a massive fraud happening in plain sight.
CLICK HERE FOR PART 9 - The End of NEPA as we know it
CLICK HERE FOR PART 10 - ELON MUSK REALITY DISTORTION FIELD
CLICK HERE FOR PART 11 - Pipeline Plans Confirmed!
API Emission Factors for Texas
2014 EPA Study on water use at wellheads
Texas RRC production database, region 4
Questions on my calculations? Shoot me an email.