Thursday, April 19, 2012

"The Grand Energy Transition": Natural Gas, and the career of Robert A. Hefner III and GHK

At Filmfest DC at Landmark E Street Cinema, a guest table was giving away complimentary DVD’s of “The Grand Energy Transition: Natural Gas – The Bridge Fuel to Our Sustainable Future”, directed by Greg Mellott (bio) from Meridian Films, an advocacy documentary based on the career of Robert A. Hefner III, owner of GHK, an oil in gas firm in Oklahoma, and pioneer of deep well drilling for natural gas, and it follows the book of the same name by Hefner (Wiley, 2009).

The film reinforces the plan proposed by T. Bone Pickens, to retool American energy towards emphasis on natural gas. In 1977, during the Carter years,  Congress passed a Fuel Use Act based on a supposed shortage of natural gas, before shale gas and other reserves were discovered and developed with deep well horizontal technology. That law was repealed in 1987.

The movie advocates hybrid natural gas and gasoline cars, with the opportunity for overnight fill-ups at home from natural gas lines, in residential areas with that service.  But many areas don’t have it.

The film gives a graphic rundown on the problems with many other energy sources.  It briefly shows the destruction of mountaintop removal with coal.  It spends some time on disasters with nuclear power, starting with Three Mile Island, but particularly with Chernobyl, which took hundreds of lives just to clean up (there is a lot of footage of the sarcophagus and the wasteland left around it in Ukraine). It also covers the Fukushima catastrophe after the tsunami in Japan. Nuclear power is a risk when something goes wrong, the film says.  It also covers biofuels, and says that committing all the arable land in the IS to them could only full 10% of needs.  (But Brazil moved over to sawgrass, as in the CNN 2007 film “We Were Warned”).

The film covers the fracking controversy lightly.

The film also has an interesting long perspective on the history of fuel, progressing through phases, from solid, to liquid, to gas.

The film is narrated by Commander John Herrington, and features interviews with T. Boone Pickens (the "Plan"), James Schlesinger, Ted Turner, John Deutsch, and Graham Allison.

Here is a PR Newswire link for the film.

Belfer Center has a YouTube video of Hefner’s speaking:

First picture: Quartz Mountains in OK, my personal trip in 2005, close to the GHK country in the film.

Related: promotional film from Royal Dutch Shell, "Eureka", reviewed July 10, 2007; CNN "We Were Warned: Out of Gas", reviewed June 2, 2007 on "Films on Major Threats to Freedom" blog.  

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