Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What the Frack! Now They Quibble About Natrual Gas

It amazes me how every thing has to be a big thing. Methane leakage from shale drilling is the new rage in the Climate Change debate. Eli, the Wacky Wabbit, has a typically cryptic post on his view of the "Churnalism" involved. Across the pond, the Bishop moves to check the media advances.

To me it is the typical much ado about nothing. Fracking or fracturing petroleum wells to increase flow of the product desired has been going on for a long time. Now, for some reason, the hyper aware are concerned with the practice. Do you know what the frack is going on?

Here is an animation of the typical shale fracking process:

The issues seems to be excessive mehtane, the main component of natural gas leaking into the air and into the ground water and "Chemicals" used for fracking. From the procedure, it looks like there is very little chance of gas getting into the ground water. The drill casing is sealed with concrete which not only prevents leakage into ground water, but increase production, because there is little leakage. I am sure the drilling companies are more concerned with profit, leakage kills profit both is lost product and potential environmental law suits. They ain't stupid.

So what about leakage during fracking? In the video you can see that first explosives are used deep underground to open the shale structure, then a mixture of water and sand are injected under high pressure to further open the fractures. The sand basically props open the fissures in the shale allowing the gas to flow more freely. The sand and water mixture is 99% sand and water. A small amount of "chemical" is added to keep the sand mixed in the water so that it will flow instead of just collecting on the bottom of the well bore hole. The chemicals used to suspend the sand are a trade secret, dish washing liquid would work, but there is something about secret and Haliburton that scares people. Fracking has been used for more than twenty years in the gas and oil industry. Now Cornell University issues a report on fracking which says, "Our data sucks, so we need better data, but it may be a problem." SHUT THE DRILLERS DOWN!

Other that one EPA report I saw that stated, "Chemicals in ground water "MAY" be due to fracking." I haven't seen that much from people that might have a clue. Now there are plenty ill informed putzes making videos that show they don't know what they are talking about, but "It has to be a problem." Amazing how clueless people can be so certain.

Let the pros get their data for shale wells and move along "after" we have a clue. There will be some leakage, there always has been, most in oil wells where the natural gas is not wanted and flared off. Shale gas wells are different, they "want" the gas, so it makes sense they would want to have as little leakage as possible.

Once the studies are done, I doubt there will be much of a big deal. Until then watch all the talking heads pontificate on subjects outside of their field of expertise.

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