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A Short Course on Hydraulic Fracturing

Hydraulic Fracturing - Dave JacobusDave Jacobus
Independent Land Consultant
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Hydraulic fracturing is little understood because fractivists have deliberately used “fracking” as an all-purpose term for the gas industry, but it’s simple.

Well, how about some facts on hydraulic fracturing?

We have been doing hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” here in Alberta, since the technology was established decades ago, with little or no discernible effect, other than making it possible to produce oil and gas when it otherwise wouldn’t be possible.

The Alberta Government has imposed has imposed some of the strictest environmental protection regulations of any hydrocarbon producing jurisdiction in North America. If the practice was harmful to the environment, they would ban it. They have not and don’t intend to.

Oil and gas exist in the pore spaces of rocks underground sometimes hundreds, sometimes thousands of feet below the surface. When you drill a well, you make it possible to produce, naturally or with something to assist, like a pump jack. It’s like putting a straw into a bottle of Coke. The assist is sucking on the straw.

After doing that, if the well won’t produce, it’s because the pore spaces are very poorly or not even connected at all. Hydraulic fracturing simply breaks up the rock so the pores become connected and the oil or gas will flow to surface.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 6.25.52 AMIt’s no different than pouring Drano down a clogged drain to breakup the “gunk” so that fluids will flow to where they’re supposed to. Same with toilets.

These practices, however, do much more environmental damage than fracking, which makes we wonder, given the lack of evidence the hydraulic fracturing pollutes anything, why there’s all this hype in certain US states and Canadian provinces about the dangers of fracking.

Can’t we just deal in facts?

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13 thoughts on “A Short Course on Hydraulic Fracturing

  1. Pingback: A Short Course on Hydraulic Fracturing | ShaleNOW

  2. Very nice Dave, it would be a good idea to get this information to the governor of New York State. He uses more natural gas to heat New York City than the rest of the world combined, and is adamantly opposed to natural gas drilling. You know, kind of like the Wizard of Oz hiding behind that curtain.

  3. Seems this fellow forgot to mention all the nuisances related to the process and all the issues it has caused .Drilling /fracing is just one part of the problem .

  4. What has not been mentioned is that there really is a difference between just the “Fracturing” and the rest of the process. The Fracturing is when the driller sets off EXPLOSIVES down there to begin cracking the rock formation……..there is NO WAY of knowing for certain just how far up the cracks will go into the rock formation…….no real control. Then begins the rest of the process, which is to add the chemical laced water and sand under super high pressures to force the cracks open even further and the sand then holds the cracks open forever. Again no real control of how far up this mixture can travel. Any and ALL water used for this process is now contaminated for eternity…..never again returnable to the ecosystem from where it came. We are talking about MILLIONS of gallons per well gone for eternity.

    How many more times can this occur before we see some real disasters? How many more BILLIONS of gallons of water will we sacrifice forever just so we can have the thermostat set where we are comfortable? Or should I cut to the chase and ask how many more billionaires need another Mercedes dealership under their belts ? It ALL boils down to MONEY OVER PEOPLE.

    • What do you mean by “no way” and “no real control”? You’re asserting what YOU have no knowledge of, suggesting that what has never happened after fracturing millions of wells could still happen and pretending it’s a valid argument. It’s pathetic reasoning, John, and your sloganeering with “money over people” is even worse. You’re talking like a child, which was exactly Dave’s point. You need to debate with facts, not emotional outbursts. And, by the way, do you not realize that a gas well produces more water than is consumed in fracturing it? It’s basic chemistry, Mountainman, basic chemistry.

    • The perforations only penetrate the casing, cement and a short distance into the shale. When the well is hydraulic fractured, there are ways to monitor the vertical extent of propagation of the fractures and they also monitor pressures in other onsite wells and pressure in the other strings. The main concern is surface spills and releases and most of the contamination is based on the nature of the formation – old marine deposit.
      Final point – the burning of methane releases the water that has been trapped in the rock. To be honest – more water is released then is used, but this is your choice not to use fossil fuels. Paper on Induced Fracture Propagation – http://www.bfenvironmental.com/pdfs/inducedfracturingoilreporter.pdf

  5. Tom, it’s alarming how misinformed they are. They have 32 other states that are using the very process that they are railing against, without any of their alleged catastrophe disasters. Frightfully typical of anti’s that heat their homes with natural gas.

    • If you go beyond your pocket’s and do some research you will find other states have had and do have problems caused by HVHF too !The process will never be a “SAFE ” one .Not all have issues but those that do get No help from co’s or state agencies .When co’s become responsible for what they do to people and stop passing the buck it will be beneficial to all ….NEVER be totally SAFE …though !!

  6. Thank you for publishing that Dave — it is the best video presentation I have seen of the challenges faced and the process used to overcome the rock-characteristics in technically, economically and ecologically sensible ways so that we can utilize what Mother Nature has put-away for us, unusable until now.

    The application of HVHF technology will eventually be seen to be the societal equivalent of man figuring out how to use nuclear physics for benefit — medical procedures, treatments, and thermal energy source.

    And nuclear was and still is used as a successful deterrent to keep Putin et al from looking at us as “just another Ukraine” to gobble-up!

    It won’t be long and the rest of the world will be screaming for us to “help” them with HVHF technology for their benefit as well.

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