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Oil and Gas Well Drilling Supplies—Waterless Frack

October 15, 2013

Oil and Gas Well Drilling Supplies—Waterless Frack
Fracking— the oil and gas industry’s mainstay for North American gas exploration projects— relies largely on using huge quantities of water to develop new wells and extract the resources deep below the earth’s surface. This reliance and need for such huge quantities of water is also one of the biggest reasons people and organizations oppose fracking. Quoting a statement issued by Mukul Sharma, Professor at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering: approximately 95% of all fracking in the United States is done with water. But what if the need for water could be reduced; or even eliminated?
 
Mega-demands on the Water Supply.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the total amount of water used for fracking in the USA during the year 2010 was between 70 and 140 billion gallons. A single well can use anywhere from .6 to 1.8 gallons of water for a million BTUs of gas produced (quoting Energy Collective). An important way to reduce the amounts of water needed is to recycle fracking well water for subsequent well drilling projects. That being said, it is still not enough in the eyes of fracking critics.
 
Waterless Fracking Technologies.
So what if there was an alternative that would eliminate the need for water in well development projects? A new technology being developed by an Alberta company, GasFrac Energy Services allows fracking to be performed using propane, pentane or butane; or mixtures of these gases.
 
Initially developed using propane; GasFrac switched to using butane and pentane; which is typically found in natural gas wells. So what does this mean? Obviously, the possibility of lessening the demands on local water tables would be the primary benefit. But there are other benefits to using this type of fracking:
 
(As stated by GasFrac in an interview with RigZone)
  • No water required
  • Minimal flaring
  • Safe for drill site workers
  • 100% recovery rate of well drilling fluids
  • Eliminates the need for post-drilling site clean-up
  • No need for treatment and transportation of contaminated well drilling fluids (water) afterwards.
     
The initial well drilling costs are slightly more expensive with using this technology, however increased production rates and faster saleability of the recovered gas makes it an attractive and interesting development in the oil and gas industry.
 
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