Hydrofracking - are we nuts? (OT)


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Social climber
An Oil Field
Jun 3, 2013 - 12:50am PT
There are a ton of little gas wells that have been drilled in and produce from the Marcellus. There is a town in Pennsylvania where back in the olden days, they drilled incredibly shallow wells to light the town. This is also where the water caught fire in the movie Gasland. He didn't show the water from the other 4000 people in the town who deal with the same thing and have since day one.

I'm not proanything that trashes aquifers or makes people sick.

This all started in the Marcellus Shale in the Northeast. There have been no problems of any significance in the thousands of horizontals in the Woodfod Shale in the Arkoma Basin, the Anadarko Basin, or the Sherman Marieta Basin.

All I'm saying is that there is a ton of misinformation out there. Casing leaks for example. We have been dealing with those for decades. In parts of Kansas, there is a sandstone called the Cedar Hills formation. It is full of saltwater, but it is corrosive for some reason, and if you don't run an uphole cement tool to cement across it, you will get a casing leak within a few years and lose your well.

I take offense to you calling me biased. For the past five years I have been working limestone and dolomite reservoirs. Not shales, but I go to the meetings and see a ton of data.

So the general public is scared of this. Although we know that most of this stuff is so stupid that a one year geologist knows it is bunk, that doesn't matter anymore. The big companies who do a lot of this are doing all sorts of stuff that isn't necessary just to prove that the wells are safe.

I spent a year at Chesapeake, who was drilling more shale gas wells than any other company, and they had an entire hydrology and groundwater division that studied the aquifers in the Marcellus. They did pre-drilling sampling of all nearby water wells, and drilled monitoring wells. They didn't have to do it, but they spent a ton of money on it. Nobody wants a problem.

If you are going to call me biased, well you are wrong. I get to see microseismic, which records each fracture and where it is in relation to the wellbore. I've never seen a fracture get more than 100 feet out of zone.

These shales aren't everywhere, and many shales aren't suitable. The productive shales produce from silica rich layers that have clay rich ductile layers between them. The frac science is designed to frac the silica rich zone, because you can't frac the ductile shales. They have to be brittle to take a frac. The economic trends in the shales are usually 10 or 20 miles wide and maybe several hundred miles long. A lot of it has to do with thermal maturity of the Type II kerogen. It has to have been heated to a certain point for these organic rich shales to source the gas in the whole basin.

Right now I am reading everything about shales, because I am probably going to work in the Bakken in North Dakota, where all of the farmers are millionaires.

The U.S. has produced more oil than the reserves of any other country on the planet besides Saudi Arabia. There are so many wells in the producing basins that a map of them looks like a bird shot pattern. The wells that cause problems are the ones up to about 1965. They didn't have to case off the groundwater, which has been mapped in every state. They also didn't plug them worth a damn. Today, plugging standards are far tougher, but the thing is, plugging it properly is not expensive at all.

All of these basins have gas production dating back to he twenties or thirties. The gas shales are deep. 8000 to 12000 feet. The thickest one I know of is 400 feet. It is overlain by a sedimentary sequence that is thousands of feet thick. The typical sedimentary sequence is 90% shale, but not the organic rich shale that is brittle enough to be fracked, and it doesn't carry organics to begin with.

I was on a rig once when the operator let the mudpit overflow. I was woken by a very irate inspector, and happily gave him the home phone number of the operator, leadint to a fine, although it wasn't a toxic release. I never worked for them again.

I'm desperate to get off of hydrocarbons. I believe in global warming, because these organic rich shales were deposited in anoxic conditions cause by ocean acidification, which was caused by CO2 forced hothouse conditions just like we are doing.

Natural gas is by far the lowest carbon fuel, but our country has a huge gullet for oil. We now import over half of what we use. The dream has always been to switch to natural gas instead of oil as a transportation fuel. Transportation fuel is by far the biggest use of oil.

We totally waste the stuff, and it is sickening. We have a nigh endless supply of natural gas. The problem is that alternatives are much more expensive. People look the other way and fill up their big trucks that they don't need, and drive them around every day with only one person in the truck.

I just understand fracks. We have been fracking wells for many decades, and haven't had any problems that I'm aware of. Jinghy doesn't understand the science of wellbore design, reservoir pressure (which is low in the shales), geochemistry, rock mechanics, anything. I deal with this every day of my life.

I'm not biased. I'm just saying something that he doesn't want to hear.

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jun 3, 2013 - 09:12am PT
While i will agree Couch, with the above,i for one ,do not believe fracking at the headwaters of 3 major wataersheds in pa,is a very smart agenda.
That water supplies millions of peoples needs.
5000 wells less than 100 miles from my house,NG prices have only risen.

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jun 3, 2013 - 10:09am PT
Obama has been quite friendly to the domestic oil and gas industry. These are the companies that drill onshore.

You have to calm down and be rational.

I am crazy against drilling in ANWR. The hype over that is pure propaganda.

The propaganda doesn't come from the oil companies so much. The state of Alaska needs it to survive. They have no means of support other than the oil production coming down that pipeline.

I wrote a journal article about this a long time ago.

Jun 3, 2013 - 10:20am PT
you're supposed to just keep playin with yer ipad and not notice anything.

State of Mine
Jun 3, 2013 - 02:52pm PT
The big companies who do a lot of this are doing all sorts of stuff that isn't necessary just to prove that the wells are safe.

if the wells are so safe then i guess it would be cool with you to have one of these operations on your 5 acre parcel where your water comes from a well.

BS. Some of your posts have so much extraneous BS to them that have nothing to do with the issue at all.


Social climber
An Oil Field
Jun 3, 2013 - 04:12pm PT

That was typical internet childish behavior.

You are ignorant about the topic, and the fact that you wish to remain willfully ignorant pretty much sums you up.


Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Jun 3, 2013 - 07:37pm PT
BASE ,I am calm and rational,WE have yet to see any benefit from all this,will WE?.
I totally respect your position on this,alaska,south dakota need this,does pa,ny or colorado ,near metros like Boulder?
When were there rich farmers from apalachia? Not in our recent history and certainly not now.
I just do not believe fracking should be going down near such population centers,time will tell. I will stay calm.

State of Mine
Jun 3, 2013 - 07:47pm PT
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.

so Base, whats the point of this comment/question? does it have anything to do with the waste associated with fracking? no.

and its inconceivable to me that someone who deals with the subsurface does not know about radon. a noble gas that is commonly found in some sub surface areas which typically has a very short half-life of about 4 days.

Natural [edit]

Radon concentration next to a uranium mine.
Radon is produced by the radioactive decay of radium-226, which is found in uranium ores; phosphate rock; shales; igneous and metamorphic rocks such as granite, gneiss, and schist; and, to a lesser degree, in common rocks such as limestone.[53] Every square mile of surface soil, to a depth of 6 inches (2.6 km2 to a depth of 15 cm), contains approximately 1 gram of radium, which releases radon in small amounts to the atmosphere[2] On a global scale, it is estimated that 2,400 million curies (90 TBq) of radon are released from soil annually.[54]

Radon concentration varies widely from place to place. In the open air, it ranges from 1 to 100 Bq/m3, even less (0.1 Bq/m3) above the ocean. In caves or aerated mines, or ill-aerated houses, its concentration climbs to 20–2,000 Bq/m3.[55] Radon concentration can be much higher in mining contexts. Ventilation regulations instruct to maintain radon concentration in uranium mines under the "working level", with 95th percentile levels ranging up to nearly 3 WL (546 pCi 222Rn per liter of air; 20.2 kBq/m3, measured from 1976 to 1985).[2] The concentration in the air at the (unventilated) Gastein Healing Gallery averages 43 kBq/m3 (1.2 nCi/L) with maximal value of 160 kBq/m3 (4.3 nCi/L).[56]

Radon mostly appears with the decay chain of the radium and uranium series (222Rn), and marginally with the thorium series (220Rn). The element emanates naturally from the ground, and some building materials, all over the world, wherever traces of uranium or thorium can be found, and particularly in regions with soils containing granite or shale, which have a higher concentration of uranium. However, not all granitic regions are prone to high emissions of radon. Being a rare gas, it usually migrates freely through faults and fragmented soils, and may accumulate in caves or water. Owing to its very short half-life (four days for 222Rn), radon concentration decreases very quickly when the distance from the production area increases. Radon concentration varies greatly with season and atmospheric conditions. For instance, it has been shown to accumulate in the air if there is a meteorological inversion and little wind.[57]

High concentrations of radon can be found in some spring waters and hot springs.[58] The towns of Boulder, Montana; Misasa; Bad Kreuznach, Germany; and the country of Japan have radium-rich springs that emit radon. To be classified as a radon mineral water, radon concentration must be above a minimum of 2 nCi/L (74 kBq/m3).[59] The activity of radon mineral water reaches 2,000 kBq/m3 in Merano and 4,000 kBq/m3 in Lurisia (Italy).[56]

Natural radon concentrations in the Earth's atmosphere are so low that radon-rich water in contact with the atmosphere will continually lose radon by volatilization. Hence, ground water has a higher concentration of 222Rn than surface water, because radon is continuously produced by radioactive decay of 226Ra present in rocks. Likewise, the saturated zone of a soil frequently has a higher radon content than the unsaturated zone because of diffusional losses to the atmosphere.[60][61]

In 1971, Apollo 15 passed 110 km (68 mi) above the Aristarchus plateau on the Moon, and detected a significant rise in alpha particles thought to be caused by the decay of 222Rn. The presence of 222Rn has been inferred later from data obtained from the Lunar Prospector alpha particle spectrometer.[62]

Radon is found in some petroleum. Because radon has a similar pressure and temperature curve to propane, and oil refineries separate petrochemicals based on their boiling points, the piping carrying freshly separated propane in oil refineries can become radioactive because of decaying radon and its products.[63]

Residues from the petroleum and natural gas industry often contain radium and its daughters. The sulfate scale from an oil well can be radium rich, while the water, oil, and gas from a well often contains radon. Radon decays to form solid radioisotopes that form coatings on the inside of pipework.[63]

thats ok Base,keep telling folks its all good, trust those oil companies, get a job on an offshore rig run by BP. yep, its safe.

Social climber
So Cal
Jun 3, 2013 - 08:11pm PT
When are "we" going to all start walking to the crags barefoot or in leather only shoes with hemp ropes over our shoulders?

(no petroleum products allowed)


State of Mine
Jun 3, 2013 - 08:16pm PT

the devils in the details of how fracking is done, what stuff they are pumping into the ground (even if they claim its a confined aquifer which by base's own admission is not if the casing corrodes away), as well as what they do with the waste.

figure that out and keep it away from drinking water wells and then it might be viable from an environmental perspective. otherwise its not.

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jun 3, 2013 - 09:09pm PT
I've decided that this is a very painful waste of my time. It is too technical.

BTW, we have been running gamma ray sensors on wells since the fifties.

Social climber
So Cal
Jun 3, 2013 - 09:24pm PT
Not too technical at all.

Hope you keep it up


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jun 3, 2013 - 09:27pm PT
Base104, I hope you don't give up on us, many lurkers probably appreciate
your responses, even if they are marginally understandable. ;-)

Social climber
So Cal
Jun 3, 2013 - 09:47pm PT
Don't let all that radon in those purrdy granite counter tops get too you Rilley

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
May 6, 2014 - 03:02am PT

key parts of USGS findings:
The agencies said "183 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater occurred in Okla. from October 2013 through April 14, 2014. This compares with a long-term average from 1978 to 2008 of only two magnitude 3.0 or larger earthquakes per year. As a result of the increased number of small and moderate shocks, the likelihood of future, damaging earthquakes has increased for central and north-central Oklahoma."

"We hope that this new advisory of increased hazard will become a crucial consideration in earthquake preparedness for residents, schools and businesses in the central Oklahoma area," said Dr. Bill Leith, USGS Senior Science Advisor for Earthquakes and Geologic Hazards. "Building owners and government officials should have a special concern for older, unreinforced brick structures, which are vulnerable to serious damage during sufficient shaking."

The statement says "a likely contributing factor to the increase in earthquakes is wastewater disposal by injection into deep geologic formations."

"The water injection can increase underground pressures, lubricate faults and cause earthquakes – a process known as injection-induced seismicity," according to the statement.

"Much of this wastewater is a byproduct of oil and gas production and is routinely disposed of by injection into wells specifically designed and approved for this purpose. The recent earthquake rate changes are not due to typical, random fluctuations in natural seismicity rates," it said.

I'd like to hear what the industry has learned from this, how it self-regulates to put less waste-water back into the well or not when certain geologic circumstances are present, or to deeper depths, etc.

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
May 6, 2014 - 11:15am PT
This has been know about since the induced quakes in the Denver area back in the mid 60's when they were pumping fluids down wells in the old Rock Mtn arsenal site. There were and are a lot of proponents of using this technology to create smaller earthquakes, so as to keep the pressure from building up for a larger quake. The obvious problem here is that a large potential release has already been building and the injection into the fault could trigger it. There are lots of people working on this problem, lots of differences of opinion, still a long way to go.

May 6, 2014 - 01:36pm PT
Interesting thread revival. Todays news it looks like you, the taxpayer, will soon be paying to try and make coal cleanER. As I satirically called it upthread, "clean coal". The name is total bullsh#t. The US is gifted with amazing reserves of coal, and in many years, when we do figure out how to burn it without the horrific environmental destruction it causes, we'll be in fat city. But if the coal companies want to pay to make their product clean, let them, or let West Virgina (Rockerfeller is one of the West Virgina senators) pay for it. Can we re-title the thread?
"Fracking, not even close to as insane as coal"

"Rockefeller introduces bills for clean coal incentives, research

By Timothy Cama - 05/06/14 08:33 AM EDT

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has introduced a set of bills aimed at incentivizing carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and funding federal research that could improve the process.

In addition to funding CCS research, Rockefeller’s legislation would expand tax credits for companies that use CCS, fund loan guarantees for constructing CCS facilities and fund retrofits of existing CCS facilities.

CCS is the process of capturing carbon dioxide emissions and moving them into storage, so that they do not enter the atmosphere. One of Rockefeller’s bills specifically targets the process of injecting carbon dioxide into oil wells to increase the wells’ yield, a practice known as enhanced oil recovery.

“The reality for West Virginia and the rest of the country is that we need coal; we can’t meet our energy needs without it,” Rockefeller said in a Monday statement. “It is simply unrealistic to think that we can stop burning coal and shift to cleaner sources of energy instantly.”

Rockefeller said he sees his legislation as a way to preserve coal as an important energy source while reduce its harm to the environment. West Virginia is a coal-heavy state, and the mining industry fears that government efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions could harm its business.

Eileen Claussen, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, praised Rockefeller’s proposals.

“Carbon capture and storage is a critical technology to cut carbon emissions while coal and natural gas remain part of our energy mix,” Claussen said in a statement. “Providing incentives to capture CO2 for use in enhanced oil recovery will help bring more commercial-scale projects online, which will help advance carbon capture technology and lower costs.”"


Trad climber
Fresno CA
May 6, 2014 - 03:18pm PT
Interestingly, chouchmaster, US coal exports to Europe have increased dramatically of late.

Of course, all environmental discussions on the internet are settled as soon as the disfavored activity is proven imperfect. . .


san francisco
May 6, 2014 - 03:34pm PT
Oh the stupid sh#t humans can come up with! What is wrong with us?

Social climber
May 6, 2014 - 04:19pm PT
Credit: lostinshanghai

Credit: lostinshanghai
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