Here’s another superb primer on hydraulic fracturing: Big Screen Energy: A Fracking Film Festival.
The graphics are great. In particular, there are three superb illustrations of the depths involved in drilling and the multiple layers of protective steel and cement. Check out the thousands of feet of rock between the water table and the horizontal run.
The brochure is from the EnergyFromShale.org website. I browsed the site and found this great video of the drilling and fracking process:
Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YemKzEPugpk&feature=player_embedded
Here are a few of the tidbits I learned from the brochure:
How much steel and cement is used in each well?
There are multiple layers of casing used and lots of concrete pumped in to seal the casings in place. More than 3,000,000 pounds of steel and cement is used.
On each well.
For the first several hundred feet extending down past the underground aquifers, there is 10 inches of steel and concrete. Each of the several layers are pressure tested to make sure there will not be a leak before the next layer of casing is installed.
What does fracturing fluid consist of?
- 90% water.
- 9.5% sand.
- 0.5% chemicals.
What are the chemicals used in fracking?
From page 10 of the brochure:
Sodium chloride – used in table salt
Ethylene glycol – used in household cleaners
Borate salts – used in cosmetics
Sodium/potassium carbonate – used in detergent
Guar gum – used in ice cream
Isopropanol – used in deodorants
The propagandistic question asked about fracking is whether you would drink the chemicals in fracking fluid. The implied answer to the rhetorical question is no, which means you are supposed to think it’s a terrible thing to put into the ground.
However, when I look at that list I see items that I have all over my house.
We have laundry detergent in the garage, my wife has many cosmetics in the bathroom, we have multiple cleaning solutions in the kitchen and closet, and I use deodorant all the time (if you meet me in person, you’re welcome).
I wouldn’t ingest any of the laundry detergent, cosmetics, cleaning solutions, or deodorant in my home. However I won’t hesitate for a second to have them in my house and use them daily.
So the question isn’t whether you would eat any of the chemicals (actually we eat sodium chloride and guar gum all the time).
The better question is whether you are worried about using those chemicals every day in your home. The heavy-handed rhetorical question is where are those horrible, terrible, ecology-destroying, we-are-all-going-to-die-of-cancer-next-month chemicals that are supposedly in use?
How long has hydraulic fracturing been in use?
- The first use of hydraulic fracturing was 1947, in Grant County, Kansas. That was 65 years ago.
- In the 1950s, hydraulic fracturing was used more than 3000 times a month. Why? To improve the productivity of oil and gas wells.
I’ve read elsewhere that hydraulic fracturing has been used 1 million times in the United States.
Check out the brochure and video. Both are quite informative.
(hat tip – Carpe Diem of course)