Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Quick Hit: Shell Oil Buying Water Rights in Colorado

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Shell Oil put forth a water claim on 15 billion gallons of water, as this article details.  I think this is in addition to the 7.2 million acre-feet of senior water rights that Shell and others bought last week, as I covered here.  The older article that I’m just now getting to says the Yampa River water rights are junior rights.  The end use of the water would likely be the same: drilling for oil in shale formations.  That’s why I’m not sure if the articles are actually about the same purchase or not.  If not, Shell is putting down a lot of money in what is likely to be a very bad investment.  If all the claims make their way past regulators and the court system (no guarantee in itself), it would take another decade before the first drilling could occur (if the technology is ready, another thing not guaranteed).  So in 10 plus years, Shell might be ready to drill for oil in formations.  What do you think our energy portfolio and infrastructure will look like by then?  Does anyone seriously think that oil and gas will be viewed as the best sources of energy in 10 more years?  Of course not – they’re not today and that won’t improve with time.  (The fact that absent massive corporate welfare, oil and gas are even worse sources than they are commonly viewed today seems to escape most peoples’ notice.)  For the sake of our environment and our economy, renewable energy sources are where the smart money is.

Once again, as gas prices inch back up toward $2 per gallon this spring (and likely to go higher again this summer), this is what Shell and other fossil fuel corporations are doing with a great deal of their money: securing water rights so that dozens of gallons of water can be wasted to produce one gallon of oil 10+ years from now.  They’re not incresing refining capacity, which would help lower the price of gas for all of us.  They’re planning to start boondoggle projects.  In too many people’s eyes, it’s alright if Shell and other corporations do so because they’re infallible.  It disgusts me.

Update: The Colorado Independent’s David Williams has an article up on this.

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