NATURAL GAS/COAL/SHALE/GEOTHERMAL forum: Fracking

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ImageAguane
Apr 24, 2011 12:52 PM CST
Name: Susie
Phoenix AZ
As I’ve mentioned, I’m not an expert on any of this, however, I’m very interested. So, I do a little reading here and there and want to share what I’m finding. Any comments, enlightenment or corrections are more than welcome.
Natural gas, coal, stone, oil, even water are recovered from the depths of the earth using a method known as “fracking” or more accurately, hydraulic fracturing. I read that’s it’s earliest use was in 1903, more commonly used in 1947 and used commercially for oil, gas recovery since 1949. You guessed it, Halliburton Corp. Not that that’s a bad thing. I’m sure millions of people thank their developed technology for surviving freezing weather.

So, I’ve been doing a little reading on hydraulic fracturing. There are two causes of fracturing; natural (volcanic, sills and ice) and man-made (hydraulic fracturing) “fracking”. Either way, pressure causes rock formations to crack allowing penetration and then extraction of the resource.

Man-made fractures are caused by driving fluid deep into drilled boreholes in the earth where natural gas, oil or even water are held in natural reservoirs. Drilling can go to depths of 5,000-20,000 ft. Once the fracture is forced open it needs to be maintained so the extraction can occur quickly and efficiently. A proppant is used to keep the opening. The makeup of the proppant seems to be the crux of the controversy and opposition to hydraulic fracturing. Proppant can be made up of granular materials of sand, ceramic and particulates. A fluid mixture is then forced into the fractures to propel the resource (gas, oil). The proppant provides permeable material so the oil/gas fluid can pass through to a well. The fluid used may contain harmful chemicals that more quickly breakdown the hard material (shale, perhaps). Where drilling occurs near drinking water resources or natural resources such as rivers, reservoirs, and streams chemicals have been known to leach into the system/ecology and harming or compromising the quality and safety of the water.
Thumb of 2011-04-30/Aguane/ed5133

Here’s a recent video from Time.com with a story about what happened to a pond in Pennsylvania. There’s always two sides to a story. I think there is safety and merits in mining natural gas, some practices may not be safe, however.
http://www.time.com/time/video/player/0,32068,876880045001_2...

Link showing shale oil mining sites (active or planned)
http://www.energyindustryphotos.com/shale_gas_map_shale_basi...
Thumb of 2011-04-30/Aguane/3095cf

It's thought that hydraulic fracturing may even cause light earthquake swarms. (click on the table to get full image)
Thumb of 2011-04-30/Aguane/e7e934

Natural Gas Fueling stations (Dept. of Energy)
http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/fuels/natural_gas_locations....



"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --Albert Einstein
~ All Things Plants, SOUTHWEST GARDENING ~Cubits.org ENERGY & POWER
[Last edited Apr 30, 2011 12:48 PM CST]
Quote | Post #633024 (1)
Steve812
Jun 23, 2011 1:01 PM CST
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ
I saw (but did not read) a story in the NYT this morning whose sense was that even gas companies are starting to agree that fluids used for fracturing should be subject to complete disclosure. It seems to me that it is not the act of fracturing itself, but the choice of the wrong fluids that makes for real messes.

My guess (as a mechanical engineer with some graduate work in fluid mechanics) is that a significant portion of the benefit from fracturing comes directly from the pressure that is applied, while secondary ancillary benefits accrue from choosing one fluid over another. If this is true, then much of the benefit of fracturing rock could be gained by using water. More hazardous fluids could be banned without doing great harm to the business. I don't think we have much choice: we have to extract the gas. And we have to prevent multi-billion dollar environmental clean-ups.
ImageAguane
Jun 23, 2011 3:08 PM CST
Name: Susie
Phoenix AZ
Thanks again, Steve.

This opinion article may support what you're referring to. Educated, opinions. It seems the notion of safe fracking not using the mystery chemicals to breakdown the shale is agreed to be possible. Nothing is 100% but a consensus and streamlining mining to different terrain's and population concerns may make it possible to be safe. I think the use of chemicals was meant to make extraction uber affordable. Maybe new techniques w/out chemicals can accomplish the same.

http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2011-06-20/forum-just-...
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --Albert Einstein
~ All Things Plants, SOUTHWEST GARDENING ~Cubits.org ENERGY & POWER
ImageAguane
Sep 25, 2011 12:03 PM CST
Name: Susie
Phoenix AZ
Ran across this XOM article/ comment on what may make up fracking fluids. Granted, it's an ExxonMobil authored comment but it's a start if you're interesting in pursuing the subject. I always like reading the comments following these articles. There is always more to learn

http://www.exxonmobilperspectives.com/2011/08/25/“fracking...
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --Albert Einstein
~ All Things Plants, SOUTHWEST GARDENING ~Cubits.org ENERGY & POWER

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