JULY 2010 The “Better Business” Publication Serving the Exploration / Drilling / Production Industry
Data Confirm Safety Of Well Fracturing
By Kevin Fisher HOUSTON–North American oil and gas companies and energy services providers are following with a keen and vested interest the news coming out of Washington regarding the “Frac Act,” a congressional proposal to amend the Safe Drinking WaterAct to remove a 2005 Energy Policy Act exemption on hydraulic fracturing and effectively give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate fracturing operations. A year or two ago, no one outside of the upstream oil and gas industry even knew what a hydraulic fracture was. FIGURE 1 Barnett Shale Mapped Fracture Treatments (TVD)
Today, senators,congressmen and journalists are discussing fracturing as if they were career frac engineers. A number of key questions are central to the debate over the Frac Act. Is there a cleaner fossil fuel available than natural gas? Is natural gas abundant in North America and many other parts of the world? Has the growth of unconventional gas in the past decade, primarily from shale, materially added to therecoverable gas (and sometimes oil) reserves in North America, eliminating the need for natural gas imports? Does this improve our energy security? Does incremental production create new sources of tax revenues and
local jobs? Is there a more impacting service in low-permeability reservoirs than hydraulic fracturing? Does hydraulic fracturing imperil groundwater supply? Whoa, let’s park the pumptrucks here for a moment. On March 17, 1949, a team comprised of Stanolind Oil Company and Halliburton personnel converged on a well about 12 miles east of Duncan, Ok., to perform the first commercial application of hydraulic fracturing. Later the same day, Halliburton fractured another well near Holliday, Tx. The technique had been developed and patented by Stanolind and an exclusive license wasissued to Hal-
Depth fracTOP perfTOP
Archer Bosque Clay Cooke Culberson Denton Erath Hill Hood Jack Johnson Montague Palo Pinto Parker Reeves Somervelle Terrant Wise
11,000 1 201 401 601 801 1,001 1,201 1,401 Frac Stages (Sorted on Perf Midpoint) 1,601 1,8012,001 2,201
Reproduced for Halliburton Pinnacle with permission from The American Oil & Gas Reporter
liburton to perform the stimulation process. In 1953, the license was extended to all qualified service companies. Since that fateful day in 1949, hydraulic fracturing has done more to increase recoverable reserves than any other technique. In the more than 60 years followingthose first treatments, more than 2 million frac treatments have been pumped with no documented case of any treatment polluting an aquifer. Recent proposals have been initiated by Congress to limit hydraulic fracturing in order to protect groundwater supplies. To limit or eliminate hydraulic fracturing would, of course, be extremely detrimental to domestic supplies of oil and natural gas. In mostlow-permeability reservoirs, the wells simply will not produce without the fracturing process. As many as 90 percent of all gas wells completed in the United States have been fractured, and the process continues to be applied in new and innovative ways to boost production of American and worldwide energy in unconventional formations, such as tight gas sands, shale deposits and coalbeds.Conventional, higher-quality reservoirs also benefit from hydraulic fracturing in the form of accelerated recovery. As a result, hydraulic fracturing is now responsible for 30 percent of domestic oil and natural gas reserves, and has aided in extracting more than 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 7 billion barrels of oil, with much more to come. According FIGURE 2
to the National Petroleum...
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