Energy & Commerce Committee Investigates Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing

Chairman Henry A. Waxman and Subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey today sent letters to eight oil and gas companies that use hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and natural gas from unconventional sources in the United States. The Committee is requesting information on the chemicals used in fracturing fluids and the potential impact of the practice on the environment and human health….

To read the full article, click here.

http://energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1896:energy-a-commerce-committee-investigates-potential-impacts-of-hydraulic-fracturing&catid=122:media-advisories&Itemid=55

Refracking wells?

In an Q and A interview in the Williamsport Gaurdian, Richard Adams , a spokesman for Chief Oil and Gas said—
“Re-fracking is not a common event in the Barnett or any other shale field at this time and I would not expect it to be common in the Marcellus at any point in the future.”

If this were true, it would be a good thing.

If a well is only fracked once, then the number of fracks would equal the number of wells but if wells are refracked every few years the number of fracks grows exponentially larger than the well count.
Each refrack uses more water than the last, 25% more is the given figure.  Each refrack generates a new load of highly contaminated waste water. Each refrack restresses the well casings with 6000 to 8000 pounds per square inch of pressure.  Each refrack invites the danger of surface contamination by spilled or leaked concentrated chemicals.

When some folks in the Barnett Shale area of Texas were asked if Adam’s statement was true they gave these replies.

“Baloney!  I don’t have time to find references now but they are available. They don’t have to get a permit so no one really keeps track but it’s common knowledge.”

“Chk (Chesapeake) has told folks they plan to refrack many times over the life of the reserves..like every 3 or 4 years.”

“If they are on the lease side trying to say you will make lots of money…,and they refrack When they are talking about the environmental side, they say the opposite.”

“FALSE.  One of the pad sites near my home is refracked regularly due to several wells on the site. The frack trucks are also a common site on the highway. Ubiquitous is the word.”

“Absolutely they will refrack  and have already at many wells. The Industry folks I talked to relayed the probability of  every 3 to 5 years  depending on the well.”
And here’s what the industry has to say about it.

“It has been established that only 10% of GIP [gas in place] is recovered with the initial completion. Refracturing the shale can increase the recovery rate by an additional 8% to 10%. Simple reperforation of the original interval and pumping a job volume at least 25% larger than the previous frack has produced positive results in vertical shale wells.”

source:  Halliburton. Jan. 2007. “Developing Gas Shale Reserves .“ Advances in Unconventional Gas. A Hart Energy Publication. p. 28.
Focus on the Marcellus Shale By Lisa Sumi
FOR THE OIL & GAS ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT/
EARTHWORKS, MAY 2008
According to Halliburton, an oil and gas service company:
It is important to note that a well drilled in the Marcellus shale may have to be fracked several times over the course of its life to keep the gas flowing, and that each fracking operation may require more water than the previous one.

From a Devon investor report: (Devon is one of the major gas exploration companies in the Barnett shale)

In addition to the refracs, we have also drilled and completed several wells on 250-foot spacing rather than the 500-foot spacing that our existing proved reserves are based on. If the early success of the first several wells drilled on 250-foot spacing continues, there may be substantial additional reserves to be recognized in the Barnett Shale over the coming years.

Our gas drilling in the Barnett Shale and Selma Chalk continues to provide additional production and reserves as we continue to test the limits of each field, whether it is from down spacing, extending the limits of each field or refracking of existing wells. (emphasis added)

As an example of a successful refrac, Devon Energy has reported on a well from which production had declined from 2,000 mcfe/day to 500 mcfe/day after 4.5 years. A re-frac restored production to 1,600 mcfe/day initially, declining to 1,000 mcfe/day after 3 months, and has probably doubled the remaining reserves from this well.
I suppose this information speaks for itself.

EPA Hydrofracking Study

From a member of representative Chris Carney’s staff:

EPA Administer Lisa Jackson minutes ago finished a news conference which highlights President’s Obama’s FY2011 budget as it pertains to EPA. I thought you’d be interested to know Ms. Jackson specifically mentioned that funding for the study on the affects of hydrofracing on drinking water is included in the $847 Science allocation. You may recall that Congress directed EPA to conduct this study last fall. You can view the entire news conference on the link below. Her comments on the hydrofracing study can be found at minute 8:00.

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/4378451

Frac In Depth

http://www.energyindepth.org/in-depth/frac-in-depth/

Here’s a link to a site that is industry driven. It gives you the energy industries take on what they are doing and a history of Fracking…that only includes information on the bright side of the coin. There’s a lot of water and sand but the other stuff is pretty nasty. Keep in mind that after the water comes out of the well, it has all sorts of goodies in it that are not mentioned in their graph. They can control what they put in the ground but it’s much harder to determine what’s going to come back out of it.

I’m not sure if they expected the radioactive materials they found in NY. The below link contains info from the DEC about the radioactivity.

http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/23473.html

Under-used Drilling Methods are Possible-Greener Fracking?

http://www.propublica.org/feature/underused-drilling-practices-could-avoid-pollution-1214

A good read from Propublica. The discussion of safer and “greener” drilling chemicals is on the rise and so is research that shows these other methods do work. And of course some parts of the industry will fight this tooth and nail while others have embraced it and some are already putting it into action. There is an intersting quote at the end of this long article.

“No matter what we do we are capitalists here in the U.S.,” said Richard Haut, the Houston Advanced Research Center project director. “We do have to look for a balance between environmental issues and development.”

of course capitalism is playing it’s role…and we are playing ours as stewards of our resources, water and homes.

DEP website info – what’s in the hydro fracking solution

Here is a page from DEP’s website with some good info on it. Check out the section entitled “Summary of Hydraulic Fracture Solutions”.

http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/minres/oilgas/new_forms/marcellus/marcellus.htm

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