Monday, July 15, 2013

Fracking Can And Is Being Done Safely, Cleanly, And Efficiently

Let's think this through.

Recycling is a good thing, right?  This word has been around for quite a while now.  People understand it and consider it a good thing.  We are familiar with the "recycling" of aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles, newspapers and plastic bags.  In fact many of us have been dutifully separating these items from our trash and putting them out for waste pickup on a regular basis for years.  Most of us make nothing from doing this, and even though it requires a bit of effort and forethought, we have learned to do it "for the good of the environment".  It makes sense.  These materials can be re-used and turned into other useful products and by doing so reduce the burden on our landfill waste disposal sites.  It is a "win-win" situation for those modern motivators and business planners.

So why not recycle the water used in the "fracking" or hydraulic fracturing of rocks containing oil and gas?  (See the many other articles in this blog explaining the hydraulic fracturing process.)  Often when a well is drilled and used to produce oil and gas it also produces a lot of "formation water".  This is water that has been trapped in these underground rocks for thousands, millions, tens and even hundreds of millions of years.  Why not re-use this water to fracture rocks and produce more oil and gas?  After all, the concern over water usage and "pollution" is used as the primary motivator by the so-called "environmentalists" so actively opposed to fracking.  Recycling makes sense, so why is it not more widely embraced and practiced?

The reason why opponents of fracking won't admit it can be done safely and without destroying our  precious  freshwater sources, is because the opponents of fracking don't really care that much about water.  They have other motives.  Dig into an article.  Read farther than the headlines, which are always emotionally charged, and usually written from a politically liberal viewpoint.  In this case here is a quote from the following article:

"The practice scales down the amount of freshwater used for fracking, but environmentalists say it does nothing to assuage concerns about groundwater contamination, and only facilitates the extraction of fossil fuels that produce climate-warming gases."

So there it is, the real underlying motivation of "banning fracking" is to stop or limit the production of fossil fuels and the alleged link to "climate warming gases".  So the concern about safe drinking water is an emotional ploy.  Clean water is something everyone needs and desires.  It is a clever trick, and in my opinion, evil, because it deprives people all around the world of something else everyone needs and wants: inexpensive energy.  We cannot all ride bicycles and walk wherever we want to go.  Nobody likes being deceived, and I see it going on all around.  The only solution to this intentional misinformation is education.  So here we are.

Another poorly understood benefit for using formation water, or re-used water in the fracking process is the water is usually in "equilibrium" with the rocks that are being fracked.  After all, the water has been sitting there in the pore spaces of the rocks to be fracked for a long time.  It has time to come to chemical equilibrium.  Pumping it back underground during the fracking process does nothing to harm that balance.

There are more benefits to recycling.  It saves money, tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars on the cost of drilling and completing a well.  It reduces the cost and damage caused by the need of trucks hauling water.  It reduces the cost of disposing of waste water.  The water used comes from the deep oil and gas producing rock formations, thus it is by definition and usage, "polluted".  So why  not use it, and put it back where it came from and leave our much shallower drinking and irrigating water alone.  This is truly a win-win situation, something everyone can be happy with.

Oil and gas companies and their service companies, like Baker Hughs and Halliburton, and Schlumberger, have been drilling and completing wells in similar ways for decades.  They are very, very competitive with one another.  Read the remainder of the article below.  Why is this recycling not publicized and done more?  Think government regulation.  Think government politically motivated interference.  Think environmental groups lobbying (bribing) politicians.  Think big businesses promoting "alternative" energy like solar and wind, (which are fine in certain circumstances).  Think corruption, like Solyndra.  Think of ignorance.  Think of those making and seeking to make Billions of dollars on "carbon taxes" and "carbon credits".  Think Al Gore, and others acting as parasites on the public.  Who suffers?  You and I, us, the public, in the form of higher energy prices, which increase the cost of everything.

What do you say we fight back against the darkness and danger or ignorance.  Spread the word.

Analysis: Fracking water's dirty little secret - recycling

A worker drinks coffee as he watches a drilling process at a shale gas fracking facility run by Poland's PKN Orlen company on the outskirts of the village of Uscimow, south-eastern Poland, June 5, 2013. REUTERS/Peter Andrews

By Nichola Groom
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The oil and gas industry is finding that less is more in the push to recycle water used in hydraulic fracturing. Slightly dirty water, it seems, does just as good a job as crystal clear when it comes to making an oil or gas well work.

Exploration and production companies are under pressure to reduce the amount of freshwater used in dry areas like Texas and to cut the high costs of hauling millions of barrels of water to oil and gas wells and later to underground disposal wells.

To attack those problems, oilfield service companies like Halliburton, Baker Hughes and FTS International, are treating water from "fracked" wells just enough so that it can be used again. Smaller companies like Ecosphere Technologies Inc have also deployed similar methods.

"It is a paradigm shift," Halliburton's strategic business manager of water solutions, Walter Dale, said.

Until recently, many companies considered recycling too expensive or worried that using anything other than freshwater would reduce well output.

But oil and gas companies are increasingly treating and reusing flowback water from wells, which unlike freshwater is very high in salt, with good results.

The practice scales down the amount of freshwater used for fracking, but environmentalists say it does nothing to assuage concerns about groundwater contamination, and only facilitates the extraction of fossil fuels that produce climate-warming gases.

"It doesn't lessen the potential for groundwater contamination, and it can increase the amount of contaminants that you are exposing the groundwater to," said Myron Arnowitt, Pennsylvania director for Clean Water Action.

Read the remainder or the article here:


Friday, September 14, 2012

Wyoming Says "Back Off Jack" To The Feds

Why get the Feds involved when state and local entities know what is best for their areas? 
Centralized control never works for a national economy. Ask those from the former Soviet Union.

Wyo. gov. to Interior: Back off on fracking rules

  • CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead has asked the Interior Department to scale back — or abandon altogether — proposed rules that would require petroleum companies to disclose the chemicals they inject down well bores during hydraulic fracturing.
The proposed U.S. Bureau of Land Management rule resembles one already in place in Wyoming. For two years now, Wyoming has required companies to disclose the ingredients in their "fracking" chemicals.
Having similar rules on both the federal and state level is duplicative and unnecessary, Mead wrote Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Monday.
"The effect is fewer jobs, less economic development and a dangerous precedent for future regulatory actions," the governor wrote.
Read the rest of the article here:

Drilling On A Large Scale....The Future Is Here

Innovation, efficiency, economy, safety, progress....the American way.  Hats off to all the hard-working people in this industry who make such things possible.

Three-dimensional representation of oil or natural gas development of a large underground area, from four drilling pads on the surface, as described in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, reproduced with permission from Statoil.
Note: Three-dimensional representation of oil or natural gas development of a large underground area, from four drilling pads on the surface (depicted within the red ovals).

Developments in drilling methods and technology are leading to efficiency gains for oil and natural gas producers. For example, "pad" drilling techniques allow rig operators to drill groups of wells more efficiently, because improved rig mobility reduces the time it takes to move from one well location to the next, while reducing the overall surface footprint. A drilling pad is a location which houses the wellheads for a number of horizontally drilled wells. The benefit of a drilling pad is that operators can drill multiple wells in a shorter time than they might with just one well per site.
Moving a drilling rig between two well sites previously involved disassembling the rig and reassembling it at the new location ("rigging down" and "rigging up") even if the new location was only a few yards away. Today, a drilling pad may have five to ten wells, which are horizontally drilled in different directions, spaced fairly close together at the surface. Once one well is drilled, the fully constructed rig can be lifted and moved a few yards over to the next well location using hydraulic walking or skidding systems, as demonstrated by Range Resources.

In the picture above, each of the four drilling pads hosts six horizontal wells. Pad drilling allows producers to target a significant area of underground resources while minimizing impact on the surface. Concentrating the wellheads also helps the producer reduce costs associated with managing the resources above-ground and moving the production to market.

Bentek Energy, LLC analysis shows that drilling operators are achieving efficiency gains in the well-drilling process. In June 2012, operators in the Eagle Ford shale formation averaged about 19 days to drill a horizontal well, down from an average of 23 days in 2011. Reducing the time it takes to drill wells can save oil and gas producers a significant amount of money. In the North Dakota section of the Bakken formation, the increase in drilling rigs in the area has begun to slow, but production levels continue to reach record highs each month.

Recent studies by the University of Pittsburgh and Rigzone, as well as analysis of financial reports from E&P companies Abraxas, EQT, and El Paso, show that drilling costs alone are only a portion of the total drilling and completion expenses that producers face. EIA analysis of average Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Marcellus well-related expenses finds that total costs per horizontal well can vary between approximately $6.5 million and $9 million. The cost of completing and hydraulic fracturing typically exceeds the cost of drilling the well.

One of the industry's more recent innovations, pad-to-pad moves, underscores the efficiency gains from rig mobility and pad drilling. During the drilling operation pictured below, rig operator Nabors Industries transported a fully-assembled drilling rig about one mile between drill sites. The cost of rigging down and rigging back up can be high enough that producers may find it more efficient to build a road between two pads, transport the rig intact, and have it arrive ready to drill the next well.
image of a fully constructed rig being moved between two drilling pads, as described in the article text
Source: Reproduced with permission from Nabors Industries Ltd.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Get The Facts About Methane In Groundwater In New York

Before flying off the fracking handle, opponents of natural gas development need to learn the facts about the natural occurrence of gas in the environment compared to the effects of drilling and such things as hydraulic fracturing.  The USGS is about as "unbiased" a source of information as there is, but bear in mind, even the USGS must be politically correct.  Consider who funds them.
2012, Kappel, William M.; Nystrom, Elizabeth A.
USGS Open-File Report: 2012-1162


New York State is underlain by numerous bedrock formations of Cambrian to Devonian age that produce natural gas and to a lesser extent oil. The first commercial gas well in the United States was dug in the early 1820s in Fredonia, south of Buffalo, New York, and produced methane from Devonian-age black shale. Methane naturally discharges to the land surface at some locations in New York..

At Chestnut Ridge County Park in Erie County, just south of Buffalo, N.Y., several surface seeps of natural gas occur from Devonian black shale, including one behind a waterfall. Methane occurs locally in the groundwater of New York; as a result, it may be present in drinking-water wells, in the water produced from those wells, and in the associated water-supply systems (Eltschlager and others, 2001).

The natural gas in low-permeability bedrock formations has not been accessible by traditional extraction techniques, which have been used to tap more permeable sandstone and carbonate bedrock reservoirs. However, newly developed techniques involving horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing have made it possible to extract previously inaccessible natural gas from low-permeability bedrock such as the Marcellus and Utica Shales.

The use of hydraulic fracturing to release natural gas from these shale formations has raised concerns with water-well owners and water-resource managers across the Marcellus and Utica Shale region (West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and parts of several other adjoining States). Molofsky and others (2011) documented the widespread natural occurrence of methane in drinking-water wells in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. In the same county, Osborn and others (2011) identified elevated methane concentrations in selected drinking-water wells in the vicinity of Marcellus gas-development activities, although pre-development samples were not available for comparison.

In order to manage water resources in areas of gas-well drilling and hydraulic fracturing in New York, the natural occurrence of methane in the State's aquifers needs to be documented. This brief report presents a compilation of data on dissolved methane concentrations in the groundwater of New York available from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water Information System (NWIS) (
Additional Publication Details
Publication TypeUSGS Numbered Series
TitleDissolved methane in New York groundwater, 1999-2011
AuthorKappel, William M.; Nystrom, Elizabeth A.
SeriesOpen-File Report
Series Number2012-1162
PublisherU.S. Geological Survey
Publisher LocationReston, VA
Contributing OfficeNew York Water Science Center
Description6 p.
Lat Bound N0450042
Lat Bound S0402940
Lon Bound E-0715725
Lon Bound W-0794554
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
CommentsPrepared in cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Monday, August 13, 2012

Association of American State Geologists Declares Fracking To Be Safe

Could those groups scaring everyone about the dangers to our water supply caused by fracking be exaggerating?  To put it politely, YES.  The Association Of American State Geologists position statement on hydraulic fracturing is as follows:

AASG on Hydraulic Fracturing
August 12, 2012 | Association of American State Geologists“After decades of hydraulic fracturing-related activity there is little evidence if any that hydraulic fracturing itself has contaminated fresh groundwater. No occurrences are known where hydraulic fracturing fluids have moved upward from the zone of fracturing of a horizontal well into the fresh drinking water.” Quoted from the Association of American State Geologists statement.

Hydraulic fracturing as applied in the oil and gas industry (commonly referred to as "fracking," "fracing," or "hydrofracking") is
the process of pumping a mixture of water, sand or similar material, and chemical additives, under high pressure, to create small
interconnecting fractures to increase permeability in targeted subsurface rock formations. Oil and gas companies perform
hydraulic fracturing after a well is drilled, cased and cemented, to increase the well’s productivity. Sand is used to prop open the
fractures, and chemical additives reduce friction, control bacteria, decrease corrosion, and serve other purposes. More than 50
percent of the natural gas, and a growing percentage of the oil, produced in the U.S. comes from hydraulically fractured
reservoirs. The following statement describes hydraulic fracturing in the oil and gas industry, discusses environmental concerns
about the practice and associated activity, and expresses the position of the Association of American State Geologists (AASG).
For an oil or gas well to be productive, hydrocarbons must flow through the rocks in which they are contained (the reservoir) into
the well and to the surface. Much of the oil and gas resource in the U.S. resides in "tight" rock formations, rocks so impermeable
that they do not allow oil and gas to flow easily through the rock to the wellbore. Reservoir rocks are fractured to enhance their
permeability and enable oil and natural gas to flow. Hydraulic fracturing is employed on both traditional vertical wells and on
horizontal wells, which are increasingly common. Most of these wells would not flow at rates that would make the drilling of the
well worthwhile without hydraulic fracturing. The combination of horizontal wells and hydraulic fracturing has led to increasing both
oil and natural gas production and the addition of large new reserves in the United States after years of decline.
Hydraulic fracturing was first used in the oil and gas industry in the U.S. in 1947. Since then, more than one million oil and gas
wells have been hydraulically fractured in the U.S., and hydraulic fracturing has become a common well-stimulation technique.
The application of hydraulic fracturing to horizontally drilled wells uses higher volumes of fluids than more traditional applications.
Today’s accumulated geological and engineering knowledge and improved technology are used to protect public health and the
environment while producing larger volumes of oil and gas. Modern wellbore casing and cementing are designed to isolate
freshwater aquifers from hydraulically fractured oil and gas reservoirs, which are generally thousands of feet below the aquifers.
Casing and cementing are required and regulated by state regulatory agencies and have performed as intended in the oil and
natural gas wells already drilled and currently operating in the U.S.
Environmental impacts are a concern for any activity on or below the land’s surface, including drilling and hydraulically fracturing
an oil or gas well. Constant vigilance is imperative to insure the quality of air, land, and water. Environmental issues raised in
association with hydraulic fracturing and other drilling and production operations include the potential for contamination of fresh
groundwater, water consumption, earthquakes triggered by injecting fluids, venting or flaring methane, and the disposal of fluids.
When they occur, most of these problems are not related to hydraulic fracturing, but to the drilling, casing and cementing of the
well, or disposal of fluids.

After decades of hydraulic fracturing-related activity there is little evidence if any that hydraulic fracturing itself has contaminated
fresh groundwater. No occurrences are known where hydraulic fracturing fluids have moved upward from the zone of fracturing of
a horizontal well into the fresh drinking water. In a single case currently under investigation, contamination may have occurred
when a vertical well was hydraulically fractured in a zone just a few hundred feet below the base of the freshwater. In most cases,
however, freshwater aquifers are near the surface, and are thousands of feet above deeply buried oil- or gas-bearing formations.
Under these geologic conditions, it is highly unlikely that a connection would develop between a hydraulically fractured oil or gas
reservoir and a freshwater aquifer. To further minimize the chance of such a connection, it is important to locate and plug any
abandoned wells that could provide a conduit between reservoir rocks and shallower freshwater aquifers, although no cases are
known where this has led to groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing fluids. Contamination has occurred, however,
from spills or mishandling of hydraulic fracturing fluids on the surface. Sound professional and regulatory practices therefore
should be diligently followed when handling fluids on the surface to minimize or eliminate this source of contamination.
Known instances of methane migration associated with well drilling are unrelated to hydraulic fracturing and could occur while
drilling any kind of well. All wells should be carefully cemented and tested properly to avoid methane migration. In some areas,
methane occurs in water wells because there is a natural source of methane within or just beneath the aquifer and in these cases
methane was present in water wells long before drilling or the use of hydraulic fracturing. It is important for oil and gas regulatory
agencies to determine if methane in freshwater wells has increased following drilling activities. This can only be done if baseline
water quality testing is carried out before oil and gas drilling. Also, enhanced practices and regulations may be required to
minimize release of methane, a greenhouse gas, to the atmosphere.


The Association of American State Geologists (AASG) represents the State Geologists of the
50 United States and Puerto Rico. Founded in 1908, AASG seeks to advance the science
and practical application of geology and related earth sciences in the United States and its
territories, commonwealths, and possessions.

AASG statement

State geological surveys are important sources of information and expertise related to subsurface geology, water resources, and
energy. AASG members regularly monitor and discuss issues related to hydraulic fracturing. Several state surveys have been
engaged in investigations of potential freshwater contamination that may have been caused by recent hydraulic fracturing-related
activities; others are undertaking research on, and providing information about, hydraulic fracturing. The following points constitute
AASG’s position on hydraulic fracturing:
• AASG advocates that comprehensive public information based on sound science and open processes be utilized when
formulating energy and environmental policy. We encourage a balanced, independent, fact-based analysis of controversies
regarding natural resource development.
• AASG supports and encourages the disclosure of hydraulic fracturing fluids and chemical additives on FracFocus, the
hydraulic fracturing chemical registry website, developed by the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) and the
Groundwater Protection Council (GWPC).
• AASG advocates for better understanding and scientific documentation of our subsurface geology and aquifers, which will
result in improved geologic models to help all parties avoid problems that might occur during drilling and hydraulic fracturing
activities of oil or gas reservoirs, especially in new fields. This will allow safer and enhanced production of oil and gas.
• AASG is committed to protecting the nation’s public safety and the natural environment, including groundwater and
surface-water resources. AASG supports the wise and prudent production of oil and gas resources to help fulfill the nation’s
energy needs.
• AASG recognizes the economic and social importance, and the abundance, of oil and gas resources that only can be
recovered if reservoir rocks are hydraulically fractured.
• AASG maintains that state oil and gas regulatory agencies are best equipped, through statutory authority, expertise, and
experience, to ensure that hydraulic fracturing and all other operations associated with oil and natural gas development
proceed in a manner that protects the natural environment, including public safety as well as groundwater and surface-water
• AASG recognizes that the environmental record of hydraulic fracturing activities over the past 60 years has been
overwhelmingly positive. AASG also maintains that operators who do not follow regulatory requirements should be
appropriately sanctioned and, where appropriate, barred from conducting further oil and gas operations.
• AASG notes that geologic data generally show a significant vertical separation between most oil and natural gas reservoirs
targeted for hydraulic fracturing and the shallower freshwater aquifers. In areas where targets of hydraulic fracturing are
comparatively close to freshwater aquifers, thorough geologic characterization of the area is warranted and even greater
caution should be exercised by operators and regulatory agencies.
• AASG recognizes the fast pace of recent drilling for oil and natural gas and the associated hydraulic fracturing activities. AASG
suggests that caution and careful attention to community relations be exercised by operators, contractors, and regulators in the
design, review, approval, documentation, implementation, and verification of plans for the drilling, completion, stimulation and
production of oil and gas wells.
• AASG encourages continuing work to acquire and maintain local pre-drilling water quality assessment and ongoing information
on groundwater quality, and recommends that casing and cementing operations in hydraulically fractured wells be carefully
documented by operators, contractors, and regulators.
Water used for hydraulic fracturing is generally obtained from nearby water wells, lakes, streams and rivers. Although a
substantial amount of water is used in hydraulic fracturing, this represents a one-time use, and the amount is considerably less
than the volumes required in other common ongoing uses, such as agriculture, municipal supplies, and industrial processes. Oil
and gas operators must follow state laws in the acquisition and use of water and make sure that they do not negatively impact
local (individual, city, or county) water supplies. The industry is working to reduce their freshwater needs, including recycling the
water they use in hydraulic fracturing operations.
Much of the water used in hydraulic fracturing flows from the well along with gas, oil, and saline water during normal production
operations. That "wastewater," or “flow-back water," must be recycled or disposed of properly. Disposal is generally through deep
wells drilled specifically for that purpose. In some locations, injecting returned water into deep wells has triggered small earthquakes
(generally less than Magnitude 3.0), a phenomenon called triggered seismicity or induced seismicity. Proper well siting
away from faults and using managed injection rates and pressures can minimize or eliminate triggered seismicity.
With new technologies, exploration has expanded into areas and communities that have seen little oil and gas drilling, or have
not seen it recently. That has created a variety of new issues--some positive, some negative. Caution, good judgment, and sound
regulatory practices must be exercised in areas where less information is available about the subsurface geology.

Co-Chairs, Energy Committee Co-Chairs, Environmental Policy Committee

Scott W. Tinker Nick Tew Karl Muessig David K. Norman
Texas State Geologist Alabama State Geologist New Jersey Geological Survey WA Div. of Geology and Earth Resources

Monday, August 6, 2012

While The Overall Economy Is Looking Dark, Oil And Gas Industry Is Looking Bright

Imagine what the production figures would look like if we had an Administration in Washington that actually supported the oil and gas industry instead of fighting it every step of the way?

An oil revolution is taking place in the US West and Mid-Continent


July 1, 2012
Fred Lawrence and Ron Planting, IPAA, Washington, DC
While the blockbuster plays in states such as Texas and North Dakota make the biggest headlines for increases in US crude oil production, there's no denying that developments in other states together add up to significant gains. Just like the other plays, many of these involved the technological advances of horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing. The US map shown here indicates how widespread horizontal drilling has become.

Oil states

After North Dakota and Texas, there is a significant tier of states where crude oil production is increasing on a steady basis (See Figure 1). Six states in the western half of the US combined have increased US oil production by about 240,000 barrels per day (b/d) since early 2007. These include:
  • Oklahoma – Crude oil production has risen about 70,000 b/d from January 2007 through February 2012 (the latest available from the Energy Information Administration).
  • Colorado and New Mexico – Each saw increases of about 50,000 b/d over that period.
  • Utah and Kansas – Each had 30,000 b/d increases.
  • Wyoming – While Wyoming's net gain over the period was just 10,000 b/d, the state has seen a steady increase of twice that figure since bottoming out in mid-2009.
Since January 2007, these six states have increased crude oil production from a little more than 650,000 b/d to almost 900,000 b/d, an increase of nearly 37% collectively over a five-year span. This is roughly equivalent to the amount of oil produced by Colombia and Indonesia.

To read the remainder of the article click on the following link.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fracking China

The following is an excerpt from the linked article on exporting shale oil and gas drilling and production technology.  We need all the exports we can get.

Will the U.S. export fracking to the rest of the world?

"Fracking could also catch on in China, eventually. Jenny Mandel recently wrote a long and comprehensive piece in E&E News on the country’s growing interest in U.S. shale gas technology. China is a tantalizing landscape for drillers — the country has an estimated 1,275 trillion cubic feet of “technically recoverable” gas, compared with 862 trillion cubic feet in the United States. But fracking has been slow going. The geology is much more difficult to work in — many of China’s shale formations are far deeper underground — and the lack of private property rights has hindered development. (Meanwhile, the biggest shale gas prize lies in the Tarim Basin out west in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous province. But water is hard to come by in that arid region — and fracking needs plenty of water.)"