I was curious if anyone knew of any companies that have developed any environmentally friendly means of fracking other than the big ones like Halliburton and Slumberger?
First off, lets attempt to discuss what is environmentally unfriendly about conventional fracing:
It uses a lot of fresh water, this can be minimized by treating and reusing the returned frac fluid in subsequent fracs. However, seemingly lost to environmentalists is the fact that the ultimate burning of the produced Natural Gas results in the addition of large quantities of water vapor to the atmosphere (to return as rain fall).
There is a lot of tanker truck traffic to/from the well site. As more permanent infrastructure is in place, O & G operators are including water lines in their pipeline Right-of-Ways so that they can pipe the fresh water to the well site and pipe the returned water from the well site directly to treatment facilities.
There is concern about the chemicals contained in the frac fluid. The reality is that today the frac fluid is relatively benign - comprised of many things that are in our pantry or under our kitchen sink. (examples: salt, surfactant = dishwashing liquid, biocides=antibacterial soap, gel = Guar Gum found in Ice Cream, etc.).
My personal opinion is that the worst aspect is the formation water that is produced along with the returned fluids. The Marcellus and Utica sediments were deposited in an ancient ocean (100's of millions of years ago). Their pore spaces were filled with ocean waters that have (under high temperatures and pressures) dissolved minerals and metals and today contain these elements in solution. There is the need to sequester and treat these produced formation waters; and these produced formation water are being treated or disposed of as waste in deep wells. These produced formation waters are present, regardless of the type of frac.
There is a Canadian company (Gasfrac) that have commercialized a technology that uses Natural Gas Liquids (primarily Propane) in place of water in fracing. The returned NGL's are then captured and recycled. What is not immediately returned can go into the producing gas stream. Claimed advantages: saves water, better frac results (particularly where water sensitive swelling clays are present). Disadvantages: higher cost, still have the returned formation water to contend with. I look upon Gasfrac as a niche player in desert areas - where fresh water is a rarity and in areas where water sensitive swelling clays are a particular problem.
Personally, I feel that the environmental effects of fracing have been vastly overplayed by anti-frac alarmists.
In many regards, the anti-frac alarmists have already won, but do not seem to know it.
The wailings of the anti-frac alarmists have helped push some appropriate changes.
The chemistry of frac fluids have become much more benign over the past five years.
The handling of frac fluids and the returned fluids have improved over the past five years.
The treatment of the returned fluids have improved over the past five years.
In general, the industry have matured as they have gained knowledge and experience in how to operate in our specific area.
The potential environmental effects of fracing have been limited, and the benefits of the produced Natural Gas has begun to ripple through the economies of PA, WV, OH; and would be benefiting the citizens of NY as well were it not for the ignorance of NY City and denizens of Albany.
Thanks. I am just curious on what products are being developed given that I feel legislation could push service providers to use more "green" methods of fracking. If anyone else knows of any other technologies or companies exploring environmentally friendly fracking methods/fluids please let me know.
RE: "I feel legislation could push service providers to use more "green" methods of fracking."
Fracing to produce Clean, Green Natural Gas is about as "green" as you can get.
For the next 40+ years that fraced well will produce Clean, Green Natural Gas which will displace dirty thermal coal and other fossil fuels - all of which produce byproducts of combustion that are damaging to our air, to our water and to our food supplies.
The combustion of Clean, Green Natural Gas produces nothing other than water and carbon dioxide (water and plant food). Natural Gas requires little in the way of processing. Natural Gas is delivered to the final user by buried pipeline with no "line loses" such as those associated with the transmission of electricity. That which leaves the well head arrives at your basement furnace and water heater with no lose of energy (other than perhaps that minimal energy used by gas powered pipeline compressors).
Personally, I feel that fracing is one of the most green processes out there - one that pays great long lived "green" benefits/dividends.
From my schooling, "green" is the result of Photosynthesis.
Overall equation for the type of photosynthesis that occurs in plants:
Add Sunlight to Carbon dioxide and Water (the sole end products of the combustion of Natural Gas) and (courtesy of Photosynthesis) the result is the Food and Oxygen that we (as humans) require to survive.
No need to "push service providers to use more "green" methods of fracking" - fracing is "green".
Instead, perhaps it would be more productive and much more "green" to promote legislation that supports the use of Clean, Green Natural Gas as an alternative to Coal and other Fossil Fuels.
Instead, perhaps it would be more productive and much more "green" to promote the process of fracing - a process that has enabled the unlocking of vast amounts of Clean, Green Natural Gas that would otherwise be unavailable.
I find it most strange that there are so many misguided individuals who (while claiming to be "green") fight one of the greenest sources of energy available.
I agree, NG is the easiest green energy we have today and should be the warm and fuzzy choice of all. But
no "line loses" Really?
My bad, I was told that I had to pay extra for every double "s".
Didn't notice, I don't spell well.
I feel the main issue about trying to find an "environmentally safe" method is that nothing will ever be perfect. Good example is that I was informed Great Britain is struggling with their wind power due to bird watching lobbyist shutting them down, perfect example. So if the concern is using to much water than you use propane, diesel and other methods. But then you go back to the cry about putting all of those "nasty" things in the ground water that MUST pollute the groundwater from 8000' down. Basically it is a lose lose. The industry has tried to help and promote websites such as fracfocus.org which will tell you what is actually used in most jobs. Question to you is what does frac'ing do that is unsafe for the environment? What makes it unfriendly?
This article that I wrote a few months ago could help answer your question, at least so far as "green" frack fluids:
Can you safely drink fracturing fluid?
I suspect that (over the years) I have imbibed in a few drinks that would put frac fluid to shame.
Notably (in chronological order): Silo Drippings, Polish Potato Wine, Palm "Down" Wine (the Up Wine is quite good). Mekong Whiskey. fermented Cobra Blood Wine.
The first two Western PA delicacies were the worst of the lot.
Ask Halliburton's CEO--his idea. Ummm, yum. Pass the CleanStim. ;-)
To be fair though, Rohun wanted to know more about green fracking--that's not exactly synonymous with "safe" or "environmentally friendly".
There's something fallacious about asking how to make fracking safe or environmentally friendly. That presupposes someone has proved it is unsafe or environmentally toxic. Actually, it's more like the opposite is true.
Nevertheless, it's interesting to see how the field services companies are now hedging their bets in case of future restrictive legislation by starting to introduce "green" completion fluids made with food products, etc.
If you read my comment below, I came here to learn intellectually about technologies, not have people put words in my mouth and neglect what I was really asking. I asked a pretty "adult" question about wanting to learn about technologies that are developing.
Please refrain from posting if all you have to offer is snide/demeaning remarks.