Hydraulic fracking – How it works

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July 31, 2016
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Hydraulic fracking – How it works

Since the new millennia, the oil and gas industry has increased the use of a process called hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to unlock oil and gas from underground rock formations across the United States. However, in order to find the right location to start drilling, they must first examine the rocks, which is where wireline logging comes in. This technology is the best way to check out locations and a company must have the data gathered in order to start drilling. Generally, wireline logging uses a resistance measurement to show what the composition of the rock is in the area where the company wants to drill.

You may now be familiar with the process of wireline logging to determine a proper spot for drilling, but what happens after that?

What I am about to describe is the general overall process of hydraulic fracking. According to the U.S. Patent for the fracking process; first, a proper site with abundant shale (an impermeable layer of rock) formations far underground is chosen based on geologist research (which is gathered using wireline logging). Drillers then drill a well using a drill pipe and bit. After an appropriate distance is selected, which is approximately 5,000 feet, the drill pipe and bit are removed, and a steel tube called a “surface casing” is placed inside the well. This casing helps to stabilize the sides of the well and reinforces the barrier between liquids outside the well, and the fracking fluids inside the well. This barrier is reinforced with cement with the purpose of thoroughly sealing off the well. After the cement sealing is complete, the pipe is pressure tested to ensure that no outside materials enter the pipe, and no fracking fluid leaves the pipe. A perforating tool is then inserted down the well to create holes within the shale layer for hydrocarbons to enter the right stream. The perforating device is then removed, and fracking fluid is pumped down into the well. This fracking fluid is made up of water, sand, and about 600 different chemical ingredients which act to create tiny fractures within the shale, allowing gas to escape through the well. The pipe is then sectioned off and plugged until enough gas has gathered within the well. Then finally, the gas is then extracted from the well.

Although this method of extracting natural gas has been effective in increasing our usable amount of gas and oil, there are some serious negative results of fracking that I highly recommend that you become educated too.

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