mardi 1 septembre 2015

My september post - (translation by Ingrid Style)

It will soon be a year since I started this blog. I will therefore avail myself of this month's bulletin to summarize . I am pleasantly surprised by the website's traffic. As I write this, the count has reached 24,000 hits. In general, I address questions of fossil fuels, shale gas and oil, in the articles which are on line and which one may read directly. But these are, for the most part, written in French as I intended them for those interested in shale gas problems in the Francophonie.

Last December, my posting concerned itself with questions related to the three countries of the Maghreb: Algeria, Libya and Tunisia. The concerns surrounding hydraulic fracturing and its long term consequences are of a universal nature. I am happy to see that readers outside Canada have found my articles interesting. It is clear that this first article, written specifically on the subject of shale gas in the context shale gas in the context of the northern Sahara, struck a chord; it is in fact the most widely consulted of my dispatches. 

In July 2015, after my last post, I experimentally placed, at the top right of my page, a gadget which gives a computerized translation. This app permits a translation from the original French into several other languages. As the figure below shows, there are so many hits on my page now that it makes sense to translate into English. The United States has become the principal source of the website traffic.

The computer translation of technical texts is certainly a very complex thing. I am under no illusions about the quality of the document which appears in another language than that of the original text. For now, the goal of translation is essentially to attract the attention of people who are searching the web for information from an expert who is totally independent of the industry and equally independent of pressure groups. I present the technical facts in the simplest way possible, while attempting to make often very complex ideas, understandable. 

This overture to the English-speaking public is not a first, for I already created a site in 2012 where the principal articles I have written are available in English.

Nevertheless, I hope to hear from Anglophone readers who currently consult my pages. Do not hesitate to add comments letting me know of any difficulties in comprehension arising with this automated translation.

I will try, with the help of collaborators, to eventually provide more accurate translations of my documents if the demand is there for the English version. Meanwhile, I am delighted to see the increase in readership with its attendant wider knowledge of the documents I have posted there.

Despite the shortcomings of a computer generated translation, I am reasonably happy to see that about 80% of the text is reflected faithfully enough in translation. There is, no doubt, about 20% of the text which is not clear with this type of translation. But if three quarters of what I have written is readable, that is still a lot better than nothing at all. 

When I began writing these technical documents in French, there was hardly any objective resource available to explain the geologic and geotechnical ideas that apply to hydraulic fracturing and the extraction of shale gas. I have therefore written my articles specifically to fill a need for objective documentation on these questions - which have been hotly debated since 2010. 

However, the technical geologic problems associated with hydraulic fracturing and the extraction of fossil fuels from non-conventional strata are very often associated with questions of a universal nature. There are local specific differences in the Utica shale of Quebec and the shale of Macasty on Anticosti Island; both are abundantly addressed in my pages. But there are many elements which apply equally to other veins which are targeted for exploitation elsewhere in the world.

It seems, then, that there is a general interest in the issues that I have addressed in the course of the preceding months and I will continue to write a new text each month to deal in a scientific and objective way with the problems posed by the exploitation of shale gas and oil.

There was a need in the Francophone world for the dissemination of this kind of information, as the high volume of traffic on my website indicates. This value is increased with the use of the app permitting the translation of my pages. There is now a two-fold increase of interest in the United States.

To write sufficiently clear and objective technical texts, I obviously need technical facts from reliable sources. In Quebec, the government has created several commissions to collect the data and investigate the issue. I have carefully analyzed these files. In order to deal as rigorously with cases in countries other than Quebec, I obviously need the same type of facts. I have done this work for the northern Sahara. Eventually I could do the same for other North American deposits or elsewhere in the world, if I can find, or obtain, the elements to analyze. These elements of analysis are, for example, the measurements of the extent of fractures by microseismic monitoring.

This type of information is rarely published as the companies jealously guard this information. If the readers of these pages send me the relevant data of a particular deposit, I could eventually analyze them in an objective fashion and make this the subject of a later article

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