Hydraulic fracturing

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fracking


Hydraulic fracturing (also called frac jobs[1][2], frac'ing[3], fracking[4], fraccing[5] or hydrofracking) is the process of initiating, and subsequently propagating a fracture in a rock layer, employing the pressure of a fluid as the source of energy.[6] The fracturing is done from a wellbore drilled into reservoir rock formations, in order to increase the extraction and ultimate recovery rates of oil and natural gas.

Hydraulic fractures may be natural or man-made and are extended by internal fluid pressure which opens the fracture and causes it to extend through the rock. Natural hydraulic fractures include volcanic dikes, sills and fracturing by ice as in frost weathering. Man-made fluid-driven fractures are formed at depth in a borehole and extend into targeted formations. The fracture width is typically maintained after the injection by introducing a proppant into the injected fluid. Proppant is a material, such as grains of sand, ceramic, or other particulates, that prevent the fractures from closing when the injection is stopped.

Considerable controversy surrounds the current implementation of hydraulic fracturing technology in the United States. Environmental safety and health concerns have emerged and are being debated at the state and national levels.[7][8][9][10]


Hydraulic fracturing for stimulation of oil and natural gas wells was first used in the United States in 1947.[11][12] It was first used commercially by Halliburton in 1949,[11] and because of its success in increasing production from oil wells was quickly adopted, and is now used worldwide in tens of thousands of oil and natural gas wells annually. The first industrial use of hydraulic fracturing was as early as 1903, according to T.L. Watson.[13] Before that date, hydraulic fracturing was used at Mt. Airy Quarry, near Mt Airy, North Carolina where it was (and still is) used to separate granite blocks from bedrock.

Volcanic dikes and sills are examples of natural hydraulic fractures. Hydraulic fracturing incorporates results from the disciplines of fracture mechanics, fluid mechanics, solid mechanics, and porous medium flow.

Contemporary use

Extensive exploration of tight shale formations in the United States for oil were underway in 2011.[14]


The technique of hydraulic fracturing is used to increase or restore the rate at which fluids, such as oil, gas or water, can be produced from a reservoir, including unconventional reservoirs such as shale rock or coal beds. Hydraulic fracturing enables the production of natural gas and oil from rock formations deep below the earth's surface (generally 5,000-20,000 feet or 1,500-6,100 m). At such depth, there may not be sufficient porosity and permeability to allow natural gas and oil to flow from the rock into the wellbore at economic rates. For example, creating conductive fractures in the rock is essential to produce gas from shale reservoirs because of the extremely low natural permeability of shale, (which is measured in the microdarcy to nanodarcy range[15]). The fracture provides a conductive path connecting a larger area of the reservoir to the well, thereby increasing the area from which natural gas and liquids can be recovered from the targeted formation.

While the main industrial use of hydraulic fracturing is in stimulating production from oil and gas wells,[16][17][18] hydraulic fracturing is also applied to:

  • Stimulating groundwater wells[19]
  • Preconditioning rock for caving or inducing rock to cave in mining[20]
  • As a means of enhancing waste remediation processes (usually hydrocarbon waste or spills) or spills.[21]
  • Dispose of waste by injection into suitable deep rock formations
  • As a method to measure the stress in the earth.

A hydraulic fracture is formed by pumping the fracturing fluid into the wellbore at a rate sufficient to increase the pressure downhole to a value in excess of the fracture gradient of the formation rock. The pressure causes the formation to crack, allowing the fracturing fluid to enter and extend the crack farther into the formation. To keep this fracture open after the injection stops, a solid proppant, commonly a sieved round sand, is added to the fracture fluid. The propped hydraulic fracture then becomes a high permeability conduit through which the formation fluids can flow to the well.

Drilling a wellbore produces rock chips and fine rock particles that may enter cracks and pore space at the wellbore wall, reducing the permeability at and near the wellbore. This reduces flow into the borehole from the surrounding rock formation, and partially seals off the borehole from the surrounding rock. Hydraulic fracturing can be used to restore permeability.

Hydraulic fracturing is commonly applied to wells drilled in low permeability reservoir rock. An estimated 90 percent of the natural gas wells in the United States use hydraulic fracturing to produce gas at economic rates.

The fluid injected into the rock can be water, gels, foams, and compressed gases, including nitrogen, carbon dioxide and air. Various types of proppant are used, including sand, resin-coated sand, and man-made ceramics, depending on the type of permeability or grain strength needed. Sand containing naturally radioactive minerals is sometimes used so that the fracture trace along the wellbore can be measured. The injected fluid mixture is approximately 99 percent water, with 1 percent proppant.

Microseismic monitoring is commonly used to estimate the size and orientation of hydraulically induced fractures. Microseismic activity is measured by placing an array of geophones in a nearby wellbore. By mapping the location of small seismic events that are associated with the growing hydraulic fracture, the approximate geometry of the fracture is inferred. Tiltmeter arrays, deployed on the surface or down a well, provide another technology for monitoring the strains produced by hydraulic fracturing.

Hydraulic fracturing equipment used in oil and natural gas fields usually consists of a slurry blender, one or more high pressure, high volume fracturing pumps (typically powerful triplex, or quintiplex pumps) and a monitoring unit. Associated equipment includes fracturing tanks, high pressure treating iron, a chemical additive unit (used to accurately monitor chemical addition) low pressure pipes and gauges for flow rate, fluid density, and treating pressure. Fracturing equipment operates over a range of pressures and injection rates, and can reach up to 100 MPa (15,000 psi) and 265 L/s (100 barrels per minute).

The location of fracturing along the length of the borehole can be controlled by inserting composite plugs, also known as bridge plugs, below and above the region to be fractured.[22] This allows a borehole to be progressively fractured along the length of the bore, without leaking fracture fluid out through previously fractured regions. Piping through the upper plug admits fracturing fluid and proppant into the working region. This method is commonly referred to as "plug and perf."

Typically, hydraulic fracturing is performed in cased wellbores and the reservoir zones to be fractured are accessed by perforating the casing at those locations.

Advances in completion technology have led to the emergence of open hole multi-stage fracturing systems. These systems effectively place fractures in specific places in the wellbore, thus increasing the cumulative production in a shorter time frame.[23]

Certain reservoirs such as the Bakken, Barnett Shale, Montney and Haynesville Shale cannot be produced using conventional methods. These formations have begun using high tech completion systems capable of mechanically fracturing at certain intervals. An alternative to the plug and perf method, multi-stage fracturing systems are capable of stimulating several stages in a single day. Compared to the weeks required by the plug and perf method, cost-effective multi-stage completion systems are quickly becoming sought after technology by oil and natural gas companies.[24]

Fracture Gradient
The pressure to fracture the formation at a particular depth divided by the depth. A fracture gradient of 18 kPa/m (0.8 psi/foot) implies that at a depth of 3 km (10,000 feet) a pressure of 54 MPa (8,000 psi) will extend a hydraulic fracture.
ISIP - Instantaneous Shut In Pressure
The pressure measured immediately after injection stops. The ISIP provides a measure of the pressure in the fracture at the wellbore by removing contributions from fluid friction.
Loss of fracturing fluid from the fracture channel into the surrounding permeable rock.
Fracturing fluid
The fluid used during a hydraulic fracture treatment of oil, gas or water wells. The fracturing fluid has two major functions 1) Open and extend the fracture; 2) Transport the proppant along the fracture length.
Suspended particles in the fracturing fluid that are used to hold fractures open after a hydraulic fracturing treatment, thus producing a conductive pathway that fluids can easily flow along. Naturally occurring sand grains or artificial ceramic material are common proppants used.
Concise slang
"Fracing" (sometimes spelled "fracking"[25] primarily in media) is a shortened version of fracturing.
Environmental and health effects

Environmental and human health concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing include the contamination of ground water, risks to air quality, the migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, and the potential mishandling of waste.[26] The potential costs associated with possible environmental clean-up processes, loss of land value and human and animal health concerns are undetermined. A 2010 EPA study discovered contaminants in drinking water including: arsenic, copper, vanadium, and adamantanes adjacent to drilling operations; however, the EPA stated a broad range of sources including drilling or agricultural activity too could be responsible.[27] New technological advances and appropriate state regulations are working to study and safely implement the process.[28]

Arguments against hydraulic fracturing center around the extent to which fracturing fluid used far below the earth's surface might pollute fresh water zones, contaminate surface or near-surface water supplies, impact rock shelf causing seismic events or lead to surface subsidence. However, well casing failures and failures of the well grouting systems may have been responsible for gas migration into drinking water aquifers in Dimock, Pennsylvania.[29] The transport, handling, storage and use of chemicals and chemical-laden water can also cause accidents that release materials into the environment, though this does not occur during the hydraulic fracturing process itself.

It has been reported that the hydraulic fracturing industry has refused to publicly disclose, due to intellectual property concerns, the specific formulation of the fluids employed in the fracturing process. A "NOW on PBS" episode aired in March 2010 introduces the documentary film Gasland. The filmmaker claims that the chemicals include toxins, known carcinogens and heavy metals which may have polluted the ground water near well sites in Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and Colorado. The film also makes a case for explosive gases entering private potable water wells, causing "flammable water".

Chemicals used in fracturing fluid

A number of chemicals identified in fracturing fluid are hazardous chemicals that may cause health risks that range from rashes to cancer. Some chemicals are identified as carcinogens. Some chemicals found injected into the earth identify as endocrine disruptors, which interrupts hormones and glands in the body that control development, growth, reproduction and behavior in animals and humans.[26]

Energy in Depth, an oil and gas industry organization has published a list of chemicals in a "typical solution used in hydraulic fracturing," but notes "The specific compounds used in a given fracturing operation will vary."[30]

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has published a list of chemicals used in fracturing fluids. The report addresses many issues with well fracturing.

The EPA has stated that on December 3, 2010, Halliburton has provided “written confirmation” that it will disclose hydraulic fracturing operations as per request. The EPA initiated a mandatory request for all operations to be disclosed. Halliburton is to provide the EPA with information by January 31, 2011. EPA’s mandatory request is subject to enforcement.[31]

A 2008 newspaper report states that medical personnel were inhibited in their treatment of workers injured in a fracturing accident because they did not know which specific chemicals were used. In the article, a nurse claimed she may have been exposed to the unknown chemicals on the patient's clothes.[32] Release of information, pertaining to hazardous components of any and all industrial chemicals, to medical and emergency personnel has been governed by OSHA since the 1974 Right-To-know legislation. If referenced by medical personnel, Material Safety Data Sheets will provide all information necessary for personal protection and the treatment of chemical exposure.

Chemical Constituents in Additives

(Extracted from http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/materials_minerals_pdf/ogdsgeischap5.pdf)

CAS Number↓ Chemical Constituent↓
2634-33-5 1,2 Benzisothiazolin-2-one / 1,2-benzisothiazolin-3-one
95-63-6 1,2,4 trimethylbenzene
123-91-1 1,4-Dioxane
3452-07-1 1-eicosene
629-73-2 1-hexadecene
112-88-9 1-octadecene
1120-36-1 1-tetradecene
10222-01-2 2,2 Dibromo-3-nitrilopropionamide, a biocide
27776-21-2 2,2'-azobis-{2-(imidazlin-2-yl)propane}-dihydrochloride
73003-80-2 2,2-Dobromomalonamide
15214-89-8 2-Acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulphonic acid sodium salt polymer
46830-22-2 2-acryloyloxyethyl(benzyl)dimethylammonium chloride
52-51-7 2-Bromo-2-nitro-1,3-propanediol
111-76-2 2-Butoxy ethanol
1113-55-9 2-Dibromo-3-Nitriloprionamide (2-Monobromo-3-nitriilopropionamide)
104-76-7 2-Ethyl Hexanol
67-63-0 2-Propanol / Isopropyl Alcohol / Isopropanol / Propan-2-ol
26062-79-3 2-Propen-1-aminium, N,N-dimethyl-N-2-propenyl-chloride, homopolymer
9003-03-6 2-propenoic acid, homopolymer, ammonium salt
25987-30-8 2-Propenoic acid, polymer with 2 p-propenamide, sodium salt / Copolymer of acrylamide and sodium acrylate
71050-62-9 2-Propenoic acid, polymer with sodium phosphinate (1:1)
66019-18-9 2-propenoic acid, telomer with sodium hydrogen sulfite
107-19-7 2-Propyn-1-ol / Propargyl alcohol
51229-78-8 3,5,7-Triaza-1-azoniatricyclo[,7]decane, 1-(3-chloro-2-propenyl)-chloride,
115-19-5 3-methyl-1-butyn-3-ol
127087-87-0 4-Nonylphenol Polyethylene Glycol Ether Branched / Nonylphenol ethoxylated / Oxyalkylated Phenol
64-19-7 Acetic acid
68442-62-6 Acetic acid, hydroxy-, reaction products with triethanolamine
108-24-7 Acetic Anhydride
67-64-1 Acetone
79-06-1 Acrylamide
Water and Health

In April 2010 the state of Pennsylvania banned Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. from further drilling in the entire state until it plugs wells believed to be the source of contamination of the drinking water of 14 homes in Dimock Township, Pennsylvania.[29] The investigation was initiated after a water well exploded on New Year's Day in 2009. The state investigation revealed that Cabot Oil & Gas Company "had allowed combustible gas to escape into the region's groundwater supplies."[33][34]

One use of hydraulic fracturing is in stimulating water wells. In that case, the fluid used may be pure water (typically water and a disinfectant such as bleach).[35] Another use of hydraulic fracturing is to remediate waste spills by injecting bacteria, air, or other materials into a subsurface contaminated zone.[36]

In the United States, a 2004 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study concluded that the process was safe and didn't warrant further study, because there was "no unequivocal evidence" of health risks, and the fluids were neither necessarily hazardous nor able to travel far underground. That study, however, was not intended as a general study of hydraulic fracturing, but only of its use in coalbed methane deposits, and the study did not consider impacts above ground.[37] The EPA report did find uncertainties in knowledge of how fracturing fluid migrates through rocks, and upon its release service companies voluntarily agreed to stop using diesel fuel as a component of fracturing fluid in coalbed methane walls due to public concerns of its potential as a source of benzene contamination.[38] Environmental group Riverkeeper presented a report to the EPA of over 100 cases of contamination.[39] It has published a report of various environmental impacts using reports from federal and state regulators.[40]

The increased use of hydraulic fracturing has prompted more speculation about its environmental dangers. A 2008 investigation of benzene contamination in Colorado and Wyoming led some EPA officials to suggest hydraulic fracturing as a culprit. One of the authors of the 2004 EPA report states that it has been misconstrued by the gas-drilling industry.[37]

On 21 February 2011, the ABC's investigative journalism program Four Corners aired a program showing incidents of gas leaks into the water basin and evidence of contamination by hydraulic fracturing in Chinchilla, Queensland as a result of drilling carried out by a Queensland gas company, QGC.[41]

A 2011 study by Congressional Democrats found that, in the process of hydraulic fracturing, "oil and gas companies injected hundreds of millions of gallons of hazardous or carcinogenic chemicals into wells in more than 13 states from 2005 to 2009," according to the New York Times.[42] A 2011 investigation by the New York Times based on various leaked EPA documents found that hydraulic fracturing had resulted in significant increases of radioactive material including radium and carcinogens including benzene in major rivers and watersheds.[43] At one site the amount of benzene discharged into the Allegheny River after treatment was 28 times accepted levels for drinking water.[42]

A 2011 peer-reviewed study found, on average, methane concentrations 17 times above normal in samples taken from water wells near shale gas drilling sites employing hydraulic fracturing. Water samples from 68 private water wells in the states of Pennsylvania and New York were tested and some were found to have extremely high concentrations of methane: 64 milligrams of methane per liter of drinking water, compared with a normal level of one milligram or lower. According to one of the authors of the study, "That sort of concentration is up at a level where people worry about an explosion hazard."[44][45] The average concentration of methane in the water wells near drilling sites lies within a range that, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior, is dangerous and requires urgent "hazard mitigation" action.[46][47] The research was conducted by scientists at Duke University and what they found was that "levels of flammable methane gas in drinking water wells increased to dangerous levels when those water supplies were close to natural gas wells. They also found that the type of gas detected at high levels in the water was the same type of gas that energy companies were extracting from thousands of feet underground, strongly implying that the gas may be seeping underground through natural or manmade faults and fractures, or coming from cracks in the well structure itself ".[48]

Methane contamination has been a common complaint among people who live near natural gas drilling areas. In 2009, a Propublica investigation revealed that methane contamination is widespread, "methane related to the natural gas industry has contaminated water wells in at least seven Pennsylvania counties since 2004".[49] Because of this contamination, several homes have blown up after gas seeped into their water supplies; there have been reports of house explosions in Pennsylvania and Ohio.[50][51] In one case in 2004, a methane leak caused an explosion that killed a couple and their 17 month old grandson.[49]

Well blowouts and spills of fracturing fluids

A well blowout in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania on June 3, 2010, sent more than 35,000 gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluids into the air and onto the surrounding landscape in a forested area. Campers were evacuated and the company EOG Resources and the well completion company C.C. Forbes have been ordered to cease all operations in the state of Pennsylvania pending investigation. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has called this a "serious incident".[52][53]

Natural gas drilling and seismic events.

Injection of fluid into subsurface geological structures, such as faults and fractures, reduces the effective normal stress acting across these structures. If sufficient shear stress is present, the structure may slip in shear and generate seismic events over a range of magnitudes; it is believed that natural gas drilling may have caused earthquakes in North Texas; Cleburne TX never had earthquakes in its recorded history until extensive fracking came into the area.[54] Subsidence is not directly caused by hydraulic fracturing but may occur after considerable production of oil or ground water. Subsidence occurs over reservoirs whether they have been subject to hydraulic fracturing or not because it is a result of producing fluids from the reservoir and lowering the reservoir pore pressure. The subsidence process can be associated with some seismicity. Reports of minor tremors of no greater than 2.8 on the Richter scale were reported on June 2, 2009 in Cleburne, Texas, the first in the town's 140-year history.[55]

Air and Health

A potential hazard that is commonly overlooked is the venting of bulk sand silos directly to atmosphere. When they are being filled, or emptied during the fracture, a fine cloud of silica particulate will be vented directly into atmosphere. This dust has the potential to travel many kilometers on the wind directly into populated areas. While the immediate personnel are wearing personal protective equipment, other people in the area of a well fracture can potentially be exposed.[56] Many particulates and chemicals can be released into the atmosphere, such as sulfuric Oxide, nitrous oxides, volatile organic compounds (VOC), benzene, toluene, diesel fuel, hydrogen sulfide which can have serious health implications.[57]

Other consequences

A 2011 Cornell University study found that, rather than being a bridge fuel, natural gas extracted by hydraulic fracturing may contribute as much to global warming as coal, or more so.[58] The authors of the study acknowledge, however, that the data they used were not the best available, so this has left the study open to interpretation. The natural gas industry has noted significant problems with the study's methodology, including comments from the authors that acknowledge the data may be unreliable.[59]

There are also potential community complications as a result of fracking. When drilling companies move into a new area the population increases and with it comes problems related to population boom. There is the potential for noise and light pollution complaints, reports of crime can go up, motor vehicle accidents increase, traffic and road degradation increase, sexually transmitted infections increase, and strain on schools are all some potential problems facing communities where gas drilling is nearby.[60][61][62][63][64]

In Garfield county, Colorado the Colorado School of Public Health released a second draft report released the Battlement Mesa Health Impact Assessment on March 1, 2011 for public comment.[65]

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in May 2011 began studying the effects of natural gas fracking on the Great Lakes. [66][67]

Congress has requested that the EPA undertake a new, broader study of hydraulic fracturing. The report is due to be released in 2012.[68]

Occupational hazards

The EPA states in their Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan (2011) that the exposure to hydraulic fracturing chemicals in an occupational setting needs to be examined to determine the acute and chronic effects on health. The exposure risks such as “transport, mixing, delivery, and potential accidents” have not been properly assessed (p. 57).[69]

Hydraulic fracturing also affects individuals in close proximity to the activity, like the case previously discussed about the nurse who became ill after exposure from treating a hydraulic fracturing worker (Frankowski, 2008).[69]

Economic Impacts

Economic impacts of hydraulic fracturing need to be considered. These impacts include property owners that receive funds, an increase in jobs, and an increase in business. The EPA states that it is unclear on a local level how and for how long hydraulic fracturing affects a community economically. It is hypothesized that hydraulic fracturing may not provide jobs to local communities due to the specialized nature of hydraulic fracturing tasks. Also, communities’ local resources could potentially be taxed due to the increase in industry traffic or if an accident occurs.[69]


In September 2010, a lawsuit was filed in Pennsylvania alleging that Southwestern Energy Company contaminated aquifers through a defective cement casing in the well.[39]

In May 2011, Jessica Ernst launched a multi million dollar lawsuit against Encana Corporation, the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board, and the Alberta government for contamination of her property and drinking water due to Encana’s fracking program. Encana fractures rock to extract coal bed methane, much as fracking is used to extract natural gas from shale. (In March, after a public hearing, Quebec put a moratorium on shale gas exploration pending a full environmental assessment of the potential damage from fracking.) According to the Statement of Claim, many Albertans depend on drinking water from coal bed aquifers, but Ms. Ernst’s water is now so contaminated that it can be lit on fire. She is also suing Alberta’s oil and gas regulator, alleging that it not only tolerated illegal behaviour by Encana and failed to protect her, but actively attempted to silence her complaints, and that Alberta Environment showed bad faith in “investigating” those complaints. The lawsuit, together with the Quebec moratorium, signals the likelihood of stronger environmental regulations of fracking in the pursuit of shale gas or coalbed methane.[70]


On August 7, 1997, the Eleventh Circuit Court ordered the United States Environmental Protection Agency to reevaluate it stance on hydraulic fracturing based on a lawsuit brought by the Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation. Up until that decision, the EPA deemed that hydraulic fracturing did not fall under the rules in the Safe Drinking Water Act.[71] While the impact of this decision was localized to Alabama, it forced the EPA to evaluate its oversight responsibility under the Safe Drinking Water Act for hydraulic fracturing. In 2004, the EPA released a study that concluded the threat to drinking water from hydraulic fracturing was “minimal” and the Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempted fractured wells from being re-classified as injection wells, which would place them under federal regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.[37] which was originally intended to regulate disposal wells.

In April 2011, the Ground Water Protection Council, in conjunction with the industry, began releasing well-by-well lists of hydraulic fracturing chemicals at [3].[72]

A complete listing of the specific chemical formulation of additives used in hydraulic fracturing operations is not currently made available to landowners, neighbors, local officials, or health care providers. This practice is under scrutiny as well.

Two studies released in 2009, one by the U.S. Department of Energy and the other released by the Ground Water Protection Council, address hydraulic fracturing safety concerns. Chemicals which can be used in the fracturing fluid include kerosene, benzene, toluene, xylene, and formaldehyde.[73] These chemicals are not directly used as treating chemical additives but can be a small component of the specific chemicals used in the job.[73]

On June 8, 2010 the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission voted to require full disclosure of the hydraulic fracturing fluids used in natural gas exploration.[74] This may aid in tracking pollutants that have migrated from hydraulically fractured gas wells.[75]

Congress has been urged to repeal the 2005 regulatory exemption under the Energy Policy Act of 2005.[76] The FRAC Act, introduced in June 2009, would eliminate the exemption and might allow producing wells to be reclassified as injection wells placing them under federal jurisdiction in states without approved UIC programs.

The New York City watershed includes a large area of the Marcellus shale formation. The NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection's position: "While DEP is mindful of the potential economic opportunity that this represents for the State, hydraulic fracturing poses an unacceptable threat to the unfiltered water supply of nine million New Yorkers and cannot safely be permitted with the New York City watershed." [77]

The New York State assembly voted 93 to 43, Nov. 30, 2010, to place a moratorium or freeze on hydraulic fracturing to give the state more time to undertake safety and environmental concerns.[78]

EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Study

The purpose of the EPA study regarding Hydraulic Fracturing is to examine the effects of hydraulic fracturing on the water supply, specifically for human consumption. The research aims to examine the full scope of the water pathway as it moves through the hydraulic fracturing process, including water that is used for the construction of the wells, the fracturing mixture, and subsequent removal and disposal. The Scientific Advisory Board reviewed the study plan in early March 2011. Research should be completed by the end of 2012, and the EPA's Hydraulic Fracturing Report is expected to be completed in 2014.

The EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Draft Study Plan can be found here. Draft Plan [79]

The U.S. FRAC Act of 2009

In June 2009 two identical bills named the FRAC Act were introduced to both the United States House and the Senate. FRAC stands for Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act. The House bill was introduced by representatives Diana DeGette, D-Colo., Maurice Hinchey D-N.Y., and Jared Polis, D-Colo. The Senate version was introduced by senators Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. These bills are designed to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act. This would allow the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate hydraulic fracturing that occurs in states which have not taken primacy in UIC regulation. The bill required the energy industry to reveal what chemicals are being used in the sand-water mixture. The 111th Congress adjourned (Jan. 3, 2011) without taking action on the FRAC Act. The 112th Congress has not re-introduced the bill or an equivalent.

Halliburton's Hydraulic Fracturing Operations

As mandated by EPA subpoena, Halliburton has released hydraulic fracturing operations. Details regarding Halliburton’s fracturing process and fracturing chemicals can be found on their website.[80]

Fracturing method: high pressure by combustible gas mixtures or driving forces

Fracturing is done by pumping in liquids at high pressure. In the past, combustible gas mixtures, driving liquids or explosives generated high-pressure high-speed gas flow (TNT or PETN up to 1,900,000 psi). In the late 1960s and early 1970s, as part of Operation Plowshare, underground nuclear explosions were tested for natural gas stimulation. The Rulison explosion multiplied the accessibility of the gas, but the gas was contaminated and unmarketable[citation needed]. The method of using nuclear explostions for natural gas stimulation are no longer utilized by the industry.

External links

06.06.2011. 13:22

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