Hydraulic fracturing is a process in which fractures in rocks below the earth’s surface are opened and widened by injecting chemicals and liquids at high pressure: used especially to extract natural gas or oil. Drilling is basically you drill a hole deep into ground and pump up the oil, water, gas or whatever you are looking for. Hydraulic fracturing is once you drill the hole you forcefully pump a solution (I believe it is water, sand, salt, probably some lubricating chemicals) down the hole. Pushing it into fractures (cracks) in the rock at the bottom of well. As you push more and more the pressure increases making the cracks bigger. Eventually you pump out the solution and then the oil. The sand in the solution holds the cracks open. The open cracks allow more oil to flow from surrounding areas to the well pump.
According to Exxon Mobil Perspectives in an article written by Ken Cohen on June 17, 2011, hydraulic fracturing is a technique used relatively briefly during the well completion process. It often takes place a mile or more below groundwater supplies. Shale rock has gas trapped in pores smaller than the width of a hair, so we must create a network of small fissures in the rock to release the gas. This involves injecting a mixture of 90 percent water, 9.5 percent sand, and 0.5 percent chemicals (that in part prevent bacterial growth and reduce friction) into the well at high pressures to keep the fissures open, which allows the gas to flow. Again, the activity is continuously monitored. Experts monitor data such as injection pressure and flow rates during the process to ensure that everything is going according to plan.
To distinguish the difference between oil and gas fracking know that the oil is done through a process very similar to that of fracking for natural gas. The real difference in the type of fuel that is developed. Wells can produce oil or gas or both. The Fracking for natural gas is where the machine taps into vast resources around the United States. These resources, or otherwise called “Shale plays,” are ancient oceans that have formed into very hard shale deposits below the earth very deeply below the earth. Interesting enough modern technology have allowed for the domestic energy industry to estimate shale play holdings in the order of 750 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas.
Below is a map of hydraulic fracturing currently underway in the United States, Shale basin and plays geographic data were retrieved from the U.S. ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION and were current as of May 9, 2011. Information on accidents were compiled from the source(s) cited with each accident.
Some of the economic effects of hydraulic fracturing are where individuals could make a profit if they happento own the mineral rights to their land. Entire areas benefit most when they are relatively small to begin with, those areas that have the space to expand. Fracking is a smart decision economically for countries to make, but it should also be recognized as a risk. As with all newly developed technologies it will be in an experimental stage for a long time even if companies do not acknowledge this. Vertical fracking has been eliminated because it caused the most damage for the least pay off. Today with new technology vertical fracking has been mostly replaced by horizontal fracking which drills to the side. This change in technique shows that thereare changes to be made. Protesters are incredibly persistent (more than half of the websites I saw were created in some form to shock people into believing that fracking was an inherently horrible thing that was being covered up in some mass conspiracy by both the government and the companies). It is important to realize that the process itself though in an early stage is (considering that technically only 1/1000 people in a fracking zone get water contamination) relatively safe enough that if enough legal boundaries are placed, and enough money invested in the further research of the topic this could be safe enough to use at least in some of the largest natural gas deposits. It is important to keep an open mind about this, not because it is a particularly perfect solution to‘climate change’, but rather because it is acleaner alternative.
Cohen, Ken, (June 17, 2011). Exxon Mobil Perspectives. Retrieved on May 16,
2014 From http://www.exxonmobilperspectives.com/2011/06/17/facts-hydraulic-fracturing-process/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=+shale+oil+fracking&utm_campaign=Unconventional_Energy_|High%20Vol|_Exact&gclid=CPDPkKrmsL4CFc4_KgodzC8AJg&gclsrc=ds
Hydraulic fracturing. (n.d.). Dictionary.com. Retrieved from
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hydraulic+fracturing Retrieved May 16, 2014
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