Hydrofracking - are we nuts? (OT)


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Jan 25, 2013 - 03:43pm PT
Please explain?

Just look at what each fuel pumps into the atmosphere and then decide which is the best one, for now. So that we dont head past the amount of what we can put into the atmosphere in order to not surpass the 2c limit of warming.

Thats something like 565 giga tons more, which works out to about 16 years at the current rate with a 3% increase per year.

So if we can get into LNG we may be able to lengthen that time to transition to something else and start conserving

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Feb 6, 2013 - 09:39pm PT
http://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/US-Breweries-go-to-War-against-Fracking-Industry.htm You gotta love breweries!

Trad climber
Casper the Friendly Ghost Town!
Feb 7, 2013 - 07:03pm PT
Not sure if this point was covered or not. It's well-known (that's punny!)that many oil and gas wells are not properly sealed when they are shut-in or abandoned. Operators are supposed to plug certain know zones where groundwater resides. So, if that is at 5,000 ft. they need to cement or shove bentonite down to those zones in the casing to prevent transmission of fluids in the event the casing erodes or is compromised.

Not sure of the frequency, but I know it happens more than we realize from well inspectors BLM and actual oil and gas personnel that have done this practice. A favorite practice to seal wells is just to plug the first several feet of the top of the well/casing and call it good and not even plug the zones where groundwater is found. Once the casing erodes and fills up to the groundwater zones, contamination is inevitable.

I wouldn't count on being able to use groundwater in areas of oil and gas development within 50-100yrs. after drilling began, give or take.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 7, 2013 - 07:22pm PT
Base104: Casing leaks happen in certain areas

healyje: I'd say it's the combination of an inevitable percentage of casing leaks in combination with shoddy flowback disposal that are the problem with fracking. I'm guessing the former happens infrequently but can have fairly serious consequences, but having worked around the mid-south and having a pretty good feel for the kind of fly-by-night operators who are out there leaves me with far greater concerns with the latter.

So to the former, how pervasive are casings failures and how often are there serious environmental / health consequences as a result. To the latter, how many bad players are there and how big a problem is shoddy or criminal flowback disposal?

Maybe this is the better thread for asking this question...

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 7, 2013 - 09:11pm PT
Every casing leak that I have ever seen has happened years after any frack flowback. It takes that long for a corrosive zone to eat through that stout steel.

I'm sorry, but you guys have zero knowledge of how drilling and production works. If I could have a full day and a chalkboard, I could give you the basics, but a seminar on oil and gas production for non scientists costs several grand. Those courses are usually for non science types who work in or around the oil business. Management, land, banking, those sorts.

I'd try to explain more, but I'm tired of doing it over and over.

Every casing leak I have seen is from corrosive fluid on the backside of the production string. You still have two strings beyond that which cover groundwater. When you buy casing, it is drifted, pressure tested, and right before it goes in, the threads are electronically inspected. If a thread doesn't pass, it gets red spray paint and doesn't go in.

A prize for anyone who can tell me what a kelly bushing is. Google is off limits.

Trad climber
Feb 7, 2013 - 09:41pm PT
Damn Base. My mind grows old and feeble; back when I was 17 working on gas rigs in the gulf I knew what a kelley bushing was, but I'll take a stab at it: it is the swivel that allows the pipe to spin while keeping the drilling mud contained.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 7, 2013 - 09:43pm PT
I get that probably most folks do things by the book and also that sh#t sometimes happens.

With regard to casings I'm simply trying to ascertain what the likely frequency of such casing failures as a percentage of the total number of wells (say per thousand wells) assuming the incidence is somewhere north of zero.

And I already know all about sketch crews in any number of fields - in this case I'm just trying to decipher - from someone who seems to me like they really know what they're talking about - what percentage of the fracking is done by crews likely to cut corners and cause problems - again, assuming the number is somewhere north of zero in the real world.

Having some idea of both, in combination with aquifer and water sourcing info in any given area, I should think would give at least a rough idea of the overall risk to drinking water supplies over time and how much state and federal oversight is required.

I also get that no one likes negative waves in the midst of a gold rush. I'm just trying to cut through all the hype on both sides to get a rough idea of the risks involved.

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 11, 2013 - 01:41am PT
Close John,

The kelly is basically a square pipe that you screw into the top of the drill pipe at every connection. It goes through a square hole in the rotating floor and spins the drill string.

Now you remember, eh? The roughnecks sit in the doghouse getting warm, staring at that kelly going down. When you are drilling very deep you might have a ten minutes/foot rate of penetration. That's 300 minutes between connections. If they are lucky, morning tower gets to sleep all night....

Trad climber
Can't get here from there
Feb 11, 2013 - 02:10am PT
rotating floor

Motor table?

Been 38 years, my last rig was all diesel electric.

Seen a lot of crazy sh$t. My last day our dereck hand was riding the collars up, driller was whacked on a 3 day speed trip and ran him into the crown. I walked and the driller threatened all water haulers not to give me a ride. Then the tool pusher showed up and asked me what happened, he gave me a ride in and told my driller (and the rest of his crew) not to come back.

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Mar 6, 2013 - 07:31pm PT
http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2013/03/06/will-new-yorks-fracking-decision-matter-to- We here in NY win,for now. The money will eventually win though.

Trad climber
Western America
Mar 19, 2013 - 10:29pm PT
Fracking California! Let the drilling begin.

The Monterey Shale, running southeast of San Francisco at an average depth
of 11,000 feet, extends over about 1,750 square miles and may hold

64 percent of the nation’s estimated shale oil reserves, according to the
federal Energy Information Administration.

That’s double the combined reserves of the Bakken Shale (NDBOOILP) in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas, where energy companies are spending billions.



Social climber
So Cal
Mar 19, 2013 - 10:40pm PT
Operators are supposed to plug certain know zones where groundwater resides. So, if that is at 5,000 ft. they need to cement or shove bentonite down to those zones


If you are pumping from a 5,000 ft aquifer (if any viable ones exist) you are going to go broke on pumping costs.

1,500 ft is a really deep water well.

Somewhere out there
Apr 25, 2013 - 08:45pm PT

Fracking waste deemed too radioactive for hazardous-waste dump

By John Upton

A truck carrying fracking waste was quarantined and then sent back to where it came from after its contents triggered a radiation alarm at a Pennsylvania hazardous-waste landfill. The truck’s load was nearly 10 times more radioactive than is permitted at the dump in South Huntingdon township.

The radiation came from radium 226, a naturally occurring material in the Marcellus Shale, which being fracked for natural gas in Pennsylvania and nearby states. “Radium is a well known contaminant in fracking operations,” writes Jeff McMahon at Forbes.

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Township Supervisor Mel Cornell said the MAX Environmental Technologies truck was quarantined Friday after it set off a radiation alarm at MAX’s landfill near Yukon, a 159-acre site that accepts residual waste and hazardous waste.

[Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection] spokesman John Poister confirmed the drill cutting materials from Rice Energy’s Thunder II pad in Greene County had a radiation level of 96 microrem.

The landfill must reject any waste with a radiation level that reaches 10 microrem or higher.

“It’s low-level radiation, but we don’t want any radiation in South Huntingdon,” Cornell said.

Poister said DEP instructed MAX to return the materials to the well pad where it was extracted for subsequent disposal at an approved facility.

Pennsylvania is currently studying radiation issues associated with fracking of the shale and disposal of the industry’s waste.

 Yeah…. Let me hear another "It's totally safe" argument….

Boulder, CO
Jun 1, 2013 - 09:54pm PT

Apparently the Boulder County Board of Supervisors has been bought out and they have lifted the moratorium on fracking in Boulder County.

A huge battle is building and I'm a part of it.


Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jun 1, 2013 - 10:18pm PT
It really sucks in your backyard.
On the prairie or up the mountain?

Jun 1, 2013 - 11:35pm PT
Regarding Dr Steven Chu, former director of the Dept of Energy:
"Of course, curiously, fracking wasn't shut down or even slowed down by him and his hires. Clearly he didn't consult (any of) you about it or perhaps he would have. But all he had was a damned fine brain, a Doctorate, extensive work in physics, he was the Director of the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, where he led the lab in pursuit of alternative and renewable energy technologies. He also taught at the University of California as a Professor of Physics and Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology. Previously, he held positions at Stanford University and AT&T Bell Laboratories.

His research in atomic physics, quantum electronics, polymer and biophysics includes tests of fundamental theories in physics, the development of methods to laser cool and trap atoms, atom interferometry, and the study of polymers and biological systems at the single molecule level. While at Stanford, he helped start Bio-X, a multi-disciplinary initiative that brings together the physical and biological sciences with engineering and medicine.

The dude is the holder of 10 patents, and has published ~250 scientific and technical papers. He remains active with his research group and has recently published work on general relativity, single molecule biology, biophysics and biomedicine, and on scientific challenges and opportunities in clean energy. Over 30 alumni of his research group have gone on to become distinguished professors and have been recognized by dozens of prizes and awards.

Dr. Chu is a member of numerous honorific societies including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Academia Sinica, the Korean Academy of Sciences and Technology, and is an honorary member of the Institute of Physics, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a Lifetime Member of the Optical Society of America. He received an A.B. degree in mathematics, a B.S. degree in physics from the University of Rochester, and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as 23 honorary degrees. and in fact had recieved the NobelFRIKKANPrize for Physics work. BUT HE WAS TOO STUPID TO CONSULT (any of) YOU ABOUT HOW HORRIBLE FRACKING IS SO FRACKING WILL JUST CONTINUE UNABATED. ..."

Boulder, CO
Jun 2, 2013 - 12:28am PT
not exactly sure where - mostly open space lands and probably along the range front (fault zones). Boulder County is pretty small.

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jun 2, 2013 - 08:59am PT
Couch,thanks for that ,is he still there?

He and the present admin want fracking ,to increase the use HERE ,to bridge the gap between now and future fuel/energy technology,i.e. replace coal.

Is that happening?

Meanwhile we have become the second largest exporter of fossil fuels.

Recently the port of Philadelphia has reopened for buisness,to export LNG .

Trust in Fossil Fuel Corporations is dangerous.So please tell me how this is strengthening the US's energy future?

Somewhere out there
Jun 2, 2013 - 10:26am PT
Nature - how long before you start tasting the tainted water?

Personally, at least with fracking, we have taken a step back socially.

One group of people from the industry made so many people without knowledge of these things that it was a good idea to go searching for gold down where the water stays….

Never a good idea, in my view

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jun 2, 2013 - 10:41am PT
This is not frac water. This was drill cuttings. When you drill an 8 inch hole for 5000 horizontal feet, it is quite a bit. In most places it is just covered and buried in the pit, because in verticals this never happens.

I will have to check in on this, because there are thousands of Marcellus wells and this is the first one to have high radioactivity, which is common in certain areas. The Marcellus actually outcrops over a large area, so that rock is in the aquifer that people have been using for centuries.

The drilling in the Denver Julesberg Basin targets the Niobrara formation, which is a much younger and much different rock. The Niobrara has turned out to be kind of a bust. It is really only good in the Wattenburg field, which consists of thousands of wells around Denver up to just east of Boulder. Not IN Boulder.

I'll check on this. I don't work the Marcellus up in the NE, where this is, but I do work with other shales, and this doesn't happen.

I'm leary about this, because so many thousands of wells have drilled through the Marcellus, and there is a lot of hysteria over it. I'm sure right now that everyone is checking the drill cuttings. If it is at that level, it will have to be taken to a hazardous waste landfill. My wife regulates those. It is more expensive to use a hazardous landfill, but in the 9 million dollar cost of these wells, it is just a nuisance.

Remember. This isn't from water. This is from the actual rock cuttings that are circulated up and separated from the mud stream. I have sat at least a couple of hundred wells, and the geologist looks at samples gathered at every ten feet.

The only real NORM problem that has occurred, is in the Permian Basin. Almost every single oil well produces associated saltwater, and over the years you can get scale buildup inside the production tubing, which isn't casing. It turned out that this scale from one zone was highly radioactive. The old tubing, which has to be replaced every decade or two, had built up a very radioactive scale, but it took many years to build up.

So all of that tubing, which had been used for fences and even things like swing sets, had to be found and disposed of properly.

Frac fluid is only in the formation for a few weeks. Most of it comes flowing back in the first few days. I've never heard of radioactive frac fluid.

This is a huge concern in the exploration industry, because public perception, even if it is false, has an impact. Right now we are seeing the really big companies coming in and buying out the smaller guys. The big companies have the resources to handle almost anything. If the Macondo blowout had happened on land, it would have been controlled within a few days, and could have been cleaned up.

Over the past few years, the flowback fluid has been recycled and used over and over again instead of purchasing clean fresh water, which is a big expense. The service companies now have "green" frac fluids that don't contain any toxic materials, and in general have been dealing with the problems that are unique to the Marcellus, which lies in Pennsylvania and associated areas.

These big stage fracs have been under a lot of scrutiny. You or anybody can go out to the pit and take samples of the flow back fluid, and this has been done many times. This case has nothing to do with the fluid. It was the actual rock that comes up in the drilling. I've NEVER heard of this before, but the shales are more radioactive than other shales. One of our logging tools is a gamma ray scintillomiter, and is run on modern wells. We know how radioactive the rock is that we are drilling through, and in all of the mid continent and rocky mountain basins (which are not "in the mountains.")

Everyone here knows how green I am, and if this isn't a spiked load of cuttings, it will have to dealt with. It isn't radioactive waste type radioactivity. It is just above the line for type one landfills.

The drill cuttings, if this pans out, will now have to be examined.

This is in the Marcellus, which is upper Devonian. The zone in eastern Colorado is the Niobrara, which has been produced for decades in vertical wells. Underneath the Denver area, the geothermal gradient is higher because it is in line with the Colorado Mineral Belt. The Niobrara is failing in most places other than the Wattenburg Field, so the whole Niobrara is very patchy. It isn't thermally mature in most other areas. There is a small place in the Powder River that I know of, but it is pretty small. Shales are really high tech, and I'm learning about the geomechanics, chemistry, capillary pressure and lots of other stuff that.

Do you guys know the association with Young's modulus and Poisson's ratio? These shales are examined with electron microscopes, x-ray diffraction, and the mineralogy is well understood. Every shale is a little different, and there is a learning curve to make economic wells.

I'm bummed today because a buddy of mine and his son were killed in the El Reno tornado two days ago. This guy was huge in the meteorology community, Nobody can believe that he was killed chasing. He did a lot of important work with Texas Tech on windspeeds and damage, along with successfully planting instruments that were hit by tornadoes, something that only he could pull off after zillions of attempts. His son and partner died with them when a tornado veered its course and caught them in their car, sending it flying and killing all three.
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