OCTOBER 19, 2011

FRAC-ENSTEIN

A single hydrofrac  operation in the Marcellus Shale requires about 3 million gallons of water according to the USGS. In the mix with that water is a stew of secret chemicals, various polymers designed to decrease friction. The chemical portion of the fracing fluid is only about one half of one percent; sounds small but that translates into something like 15,000 gallons of chemicals per frac.

Now, if the well is going to flow all that fracing fluid has to be pumped back out. The fluid comes out of the well saline, laced with all kinds of material acquired from the rock, like radionucleides. This means that for each hydrofrac operation, millions of gallons of briney radioactive wastewater get dumped into streams and into public water supplies. Local water treatment plants are not equipped to deal with this problem; local health departments are dealing with it by looking the other way.

When the natural gas companies talk about "green energy," are they referring to the color of the water?

I think it's important to ponder this water issue when so many industry PR pros are on the air touting the Marcellus Shale as the answer to all our energy problems and saying it's going to give everyone a six-figure job and we're all going to start poopin' Skittles.

I'll tell you what, if this Marcellus fracing gets going full blast, nobody over there will need a job any more. (Because they'll all be dead.)

Water. It's kind of important.

 

WATER RESOURCES AND NATURAL GAS PRODUCTION FROM THE MARCELLUS SHALE (pdf) By Daniel Soeder and William Kappel, USGS, 2009.

Below are some additional links to abstracts for the ENERGY & TRANSPORT PAGE. The first is interesting if only because of the author, Hubbert of Hubbert's Peak fame. The next two are just plain frightening, and the last, again, interesting. Please note the dates.

MECHANICS OF HYDRAULIC FRACTURING Abstract of 1972 article by M. King Hubbert and Willis.

OBSERVATIONS OF LONG PERIOD EARTHQUAKES ACCOMPANYING HYDRAULIC FRACTURING Abstract of article by Bame and Fehler, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 13, No. 2, 1986.

ENGINEERING DEVELOPMENT OF HYDRAULIC FRACTURING AS A METHOD FOR PERMANENT DISPOSAL OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES Citation only. 1968 technical report out of Oak Ridge Lab, Tennessee.

HIGH STRENGTH, ULTRA-LIGHTWEIGHT PROPPANT LENDS NEW DIMENSIONS TO HYDRAULIC FRACTURING APPLICATIONS Detailed abstract of paper by Rickards, et al, 2003, Society of Petroleum Engineers.

"Proppant" is jargon for the varied stuff they shoot into the fractures to keep them open. Resin-coated sand is a common proppant. The above paper concerns resin-coated ceramics and walnut hulls.

 

Additional Hurst energy propaganda: THE RESERVES MYTH 1 , 2 , DRILLING FOR DIMWITS , THE REFINERIES MYTH , A QUESTION FOR PRIUS OWNERS , THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN IS UNSUSTAINABLE , more in the ARCHIVES.