What the Frack!

What the Frack?

 

The topic of fracking seems to be coming up more and more these days and sure, I can hold my weight in a 3 minute conversation about it, but in no way have I ever been left feeling 100% confident I know exactly what the frack everyone is on about!  So I went on an information quest and this is what I came up with.

 

Let’s start with the basics like the definition:

fracking1

ˈfrakɪŋ/

noun

noun: fracking

  1. the process of injecting liquid (usually water mixed with sand and chemicals) at high pressure into subterranean rocks, boreholes, etc. so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas.

Just by definition it sounds invasive, but I knew I was going to have to be objective during this quest in order to find out all the facts and make an informative decision as to whether I’m “for” or “against”.

So let’s break this down, as the definition implies, fracking is the extraction of natural gases or oil by fracturing the layers of shale by means of hydraulics. 2.4 to 7.8 million gallons of water is added to +- 40,000 gallons of chemicals and used during this process, to put that in perspective for you the gallon/litre conversion is 1 Gallon to 3.78541 litres!

The list of chemicals used is longer than my arm but here are a few, Hydrochloric Acid, Ethylene Glycol, Triethanolamine Zirconate, Methanol, Lauryl Sulfate, uranium, lead, mercury and the list goes on, and honestly they all sound a little frightening but mainly because I have no idea what many of them are or what they do, so I will hold any judgement for now due to ignorance.

To continue, once all the fracking has taken place there are geologic formation pressures that force up the “fracking water”, this is then meant to be stored and treated…. never to contaminate.

This is where my investigation got a little shady, and my impartial views began to diminish.

Site after site I stumbled onto terms such as:

“Fracturing fluid migration into drinking water aquifers”

“Waste water transportation accidents”

“Possible environmental impacts include ground water contamination, methane greenhouse gas fugitive emissions, waste water handling, and even potential earthquakes”

Not to mention these fun fracking facts:

  • There have been over 1,000 documented cases of water contamination next to areas of gas drilling as well as cases of sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage due to ingested contaminated water.
  • The waste fluid is left in open air pits to evaporate, releasing harmful VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere, creating contaminated air, acid rain etc.
  • Methane concentrations are 17 times higher in drinking-water wells near fracturing sites than in normal wells.
  • Approximately 40,000 gallons of chemicals are used per fracturing.
  • Up to 600 chemicals are used in fracking fluid

 

Explain to me why again is South Africa considering this?!!

Let’s bring South Africa in to this equation, where are we on the fracking global debate? It will seem we are firmly in the exploration phase of fracking as reported on the 2014-03-23 on the News 24 website, the headlines read “Govt gives go-ahead for Karoo fracking” It states that this is going to be an “economic game changer” and I couldn’t agree more, I love job creation just as much as the next person but does the “economic Game Change” outweigh the impact to our environment? Well to be fair, we were not given a vote and neither were the residents of the Karoo.

So all we can all do now is wait and see what the results of the exploration fracking will bring and hope that our government is responsible enough to do what is right for our Beautiful Country and the people who live in it ….

 

And that is the conclusion of my quest, but don’t take my word for it, go do some investigation yourself, I personally may have got stuck on the negatives of Fracking, so bring us back some positives and we can thrash those out in another blog installment entitled “Why the Frack not!”

 

Until then 😉

 

 

Sources:

http://www.energyfromshale.org/hydraulic-fracturing/hydraulic-fracturing-fluid

http://www2.epa.gov/hfstudy/plan-study-potential-impacts-hydraulic-fracturing-drinking-water-resources-epa600r-11122

http://www.what-is-fracking.com/what-is-hydraulic-fracturing/what-is-in-fracking-fluid/

http://www.dangersoffracking.com/

http://www.what-is-fracking.com/

http://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/sa-to-be-fracked-within-weeks-1.1665020

http://www.news24.com/Tags/Topics/fracking

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About Sherina Shawe

"You have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest, and if you do, if you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining." from: Silver Linings Playbook.

T is for Tender

"T" is for Tender

 

There is much excitement when a Project Status moves into Tender Stage. This means the project is going out to tender – tender for construction! Whoop whoop! Things are happening, construction is going to commence shortly. If, however, the Project goes out to tender for the professionals the Project Status will remain in Procedural stage as this is a tender for professional services to conduct feasibility studies, EIA studies etc.

But, back to the tender for construction. This could be an invited tender and this is limited to preferred contractors only who are invited by the developer to tender on the contract. These tenders are very hard to obtain information about as they are, well, invited. “Invited” also translates as code for “big secret, don’t tell anybody anything!”

Open/public Tenders are published in newspapers and the media and these are open to general contractors who may only be limited by their CIDB grading. With publishing of the Tender notices comes site inspection dates (which are generally compulsory) and site attendance registers. The Tender closing date is perhaps the second most important date after the site attendance date. The Tender notices (DTA) that are listed on the Projects include a hyperlink which links the Project and Tender. Once the Tender has closed and the bids are in, bidders lists are then requested and if successfully obtained, the bidders list is attached to the DTA and the Project as a document.

On average, it takes about 3 – 4 months for Tenders to be awarded, (but it can take longer. Much longer in Africa). Once 3 months have passed, it is time to follow up on the Tenders and see if any awards have been made and this is when the fun begins.

It involves phoning the contact(s) listed on the Tender, usually in the Procurement Department and hoping they are willing to release details of the awarded company. When phoning African countries, this could involve many calls and being transferred to several different people and then finally being told…. “No, you cannot have the award details”. So, I wait (after all, “good things come to those who wait”) and try again in another couple of weeks or months depending on the forcefulness of the ‘No’. Sometimes, I get lucky and if the Project is big enough to warrant media attention, and an article appears in a local newspaper giving details of the awarded company I am able to update the award details on our database.  Alternatively, more phone calls and emails, until eventually (sometimes only once construction has commenced) a kind person will relent and give me the award information. Other times, sadly I am not so lucky……

But I digress …… back to getting the award information….

When obtaining the award information, it is important to get the spelling of the awarded company’s name correct, usually using the NATO phonetic spelling which is: Alpha for A, Bravo for B, C for Charlie etc. However, it appears that not everyone is able to recall this list when it comes to spelling and in Africa there appears to be many variations to this list, including the use of animal names – and I have had some more unusual phonetic names, including “J” …. for Giraffe and “A” for ….Umbrella!! Really!?!

T is for Tenacious, E is for Excellent, N is for Never giving up, D is for Diligent, E is for Enduring and R is for Relentless: T E N D E R

 

 

 

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About Marlaine Andersen

I have been working for Leads 2 Business, in the Private Projects Department, for 10 years this July. I am Deputy HoD for Private Projects. Researching mining projects and projects through-out the African continent are my areas of research and I find them most interesting.

Understanding the Tender Life Process

It's better to be at the bottom of the higher class; than the top of the lower class

 

In the 9th Grade, I got to choose which science class I would be assigned to. My marks had landed me right in the middle of the class breakdown, so my teacher gave me a choice. I could go to the “lower” class or the “higher” class, the following year. The implication being that the “higher” class would be harder.

 

There are few instances where being slap bang in the middle are beneficial. Bidder’s Lists are one of them. There is nothing more perplexing than looking at the prices submitted on a tender and there is one extremely high tender price and one ridiculously low tender price. You can almost imagine the tender prices in the middle huddling together trying not to make metaphorical eye contact with either end of the Bidder’s List, in a bid not to be “tainted”. You do not want to stand out on a Bidder’s List. This is not the time to be an individual. Because if you are that incredibly low price; people will assume that you’re under cutting your prices. And if you’re that really high tender price; they assume you don’t know what you’re doing and trying to win the “tender lotto”.

 

Granted, tenders aren’t awarded by price alone. But price still speaks volumes.

 

Tendering is not a passive endeavour. It isn’t something that just “happens”. It has to be enforced and monitored at every stage. Tenders are about being competitive and cost effective; while promoting equality, transparency and fairness (I can practically see you rolling your eyes). Yes, I know you are more likely to see the words “corruption” and “price fixing” when reading any headline concerning tenders. And I can’t argue with that. Those in Supply Chain Management Units need to be trained in the correct and legal way of handling tenders, and those in the building and construction industry need to know just as much. The right hand keeps the left hand honest, as it were. In case, no one’s told you; you are allowed to object. If you see any dodgy dealings, call them on it. Maybe you’ve become too jaded; and gone to the private sector (no one can blame you). Maybe you’re too new and naïve; and not sure of the procedures (go learn them). Hell, maybe you’ve joined them.

 

If you don’t like what your industry has become, change it. If the client isn’t paying you; cancel the contract. If your contractor isn’t doing the job correctly; kick them to the half-finished kerb. In a legal and professional manner, of course. It happens all the time; so why can’t it happen every time? Yes, this is overly simplified. I realise, on the ground, it is far more complicated and messy and nuanced than an outsider like me; could possibly understand. Hard choices abound.

 

I can only offer this piece of advice my dad gave me “It’s better to be at the bottom of the higher class; than the top of the lower class”. At least you’ve got somewhere to go.

 

 

 

 

 

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About Claire Donaldson

I started working at Leads 2 Business in February 2005, and have served as Head of Department of Daily Tenders from 2007 until the present. I oversee both the Daily Tenders South Africa and Africa Departments.

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