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Sunday, 21 December 2014

HYDRAULIC FRACTURING


Hydraulic fracturing is also known as hydraulic Fracking. This is a process to originate & simultaneously to develop or propagate fractures in rock-layers with the help of injection of pressurized- fluid. 

This process is widely used in wells of natural gas. A large numbers of gallons of water, chemicals & sand are injected underground in order to create and propagate fracture in layers of rock and gases will be released when rock will be broken. 

Hydraulic fracturing is basically used by refineries or oil-gas industries to extract gases and oil from well.

In this process first of all, oil and gas industries used to drill deep underground as mentioned in above figure and injecting mixture of sand, water and chemical under high pressure in well bore to originate and develop the fracture to break the layers of rock to secure natural gas.

Hydraulic Fracturing working mechanism

Hydraulic fracturing process consumes very little period of time and this process depends on technology and machinery that should be employed for this purpose.
We have to follow following steps ,as mentioned below, to complete hydraulic fracturing process.
  1. Water, chemicals & sands are mixed and transported with the help of pump underground in the well bore under high pressure.
  2. Mixture of fracturing liquid will be transported through drilled areas of well bore and propagate the holes or fractures in order to break the rock for securing the natural gases.
  3. Operators and technicians are trained to keep attention for pressure of injecting fluid and for properties of injecting fluid to secure better productivity. Operators are provided training to, If need, vary pressure as per demand of operation.
  4. Complete process of fracturing is divided in to several stages and some critical stages as well insulated with the help of plug for securing sufficient pressure for various sections in well bore.
  5. Natural gases and oil will move in direction of surface when plug will be removed from well bore.
  6. Water will be discharged in this process and this water will be stored and treated in treatment unit for future hydraulic fracturing purpose.
  7. Secured natural gases and oils are stored in storage tanks and transported as per demands

Environmental issues of hydraulic fracturing

Hydraulic fracturing, in which water sand and chemical are utilized to withdraw valuable natural gas and oil from earth, is very questionable procedure as there is some environmental issues and these issues are mentioned below.
  1. Fluid that are utilized in hydraulic process is contained some harmful chemicals. Investigations are conducted in order to understand the impact of hydraulic fracturing and it is observed that residential areas those are located nearby well bore or nearby hydraulic fracturing unit are suffering with disease such as anxiety, depression or stress. It is also concluded that those areas may be suffer with toxic chemical and accidents due to operation carried out in units.
  2. Industries, those are conducting hydraulic fracturing units, do not interested to explain the constituents of chemicals utilized in hydraulic fracturing fluids. These fluids might influence water and air of areas those are located nearby fracturing units and can cause the tremendous impact on people’s life. It is also observed that this procedure of withdrawing oil and natural gas from earth might be harmful for animal life.
  3. Hydraulic fracturing units are not only creating air and water pollution but also there will be noise pollutions also. Noise sources in this procedure could be concluded as due to 24 hours of operations of tractors, Cement / sand mixtures, handling of compressors and pipes, rig operations and backhoes.

Hydraulic fracturing in US and Europe

Hydraulic fracturing in US is started since 1949 and large numbers are well bores are processed with hydraulic fracturing units to extract natural gas and oils. 

We may see the following locations where hydraulic fracturing units are conducted
  1. Arkansas
  2. California
  3. Colorado
  4. Louisiana
  5. New York
  6. Maryland
  7. New Jersey
  8. New Mexico
  9. Delaware
  10. North Dakota and north Carolina
  11. Michigan
  12. Texas
  13. Pennsylvania
  14. Wyoming

Hydraulic fracturing is started in Europe

  1. Hungary
  2. Cantabria
  3. Poland
  4. Ireland
  5. France

Legal issues raised by hydraulic fracturing

There are certain legal issues in respect of hydraulic fracturing that measure the requirement of hydraulic fracturing unit regulations.

Clean water Act

In hydraulic fracturing process injected fluid used to discharge towards the surface and known as flow back. There are certain toxic elements are contained in this discharged fluid such as harmful chemical, metal, salts, radioactive metals etc. 

These flow back fluid should be disposed suitably. Every hydraulic fracturing unit should have proper facilities for discharging this flow back fluid because this flow back fluid will be dangerous for human and animal life.

Hydraulic fracturing unit should have also fluid treatment plant to recover clean water.
A well reputed organization may not dispose flow back fluid in to pond or lakes without following the rules of clean water act.

Hydraulic fracturing unit should have permission from National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) section 402 of CWA for disposing pollutant fluids in surface water such as in pond or lakes.

Clean Air Act

After clean water act, one more act was instructed clean air act for hydraulic fracturing units. EPA has provided new rules and regulations on 16th of august 2012 for ejaculation of VOCs i.e. volatile organic compounds.

According to this act every industry involved in hydraulic fracturing system should have facilities to reduce the emission and to maintain green environment. EPA has provided a standard for emission for all natural gas and oil processing industries.

EPA has provided the guidelines that every hydraulic fracturing plant should have facilities to filter or clean and to store the emissions for future use. Emissions should not be disposed directly in to environment.

EPA has also given some relaxation for low pressure well bore in respect of maintaining green environment.

Hydraulic fracturing unit in India

Even it is very dangerous to establish a hydraulic fracturing unit because of discharging of methane gas and other harmful chemical that impacts the life of human and animals.

Indian people are dependent on well water for various type of routine work such as cooking, washing etc. it is concluded that 56 million acres lands of India are involved in hydraulic fracturing.   

There are some organizations in India those are conducting hydraulic fracturing units for example Ecotech Pvt. limited. 

Rules and regulations for hydraulic fracturing unit are similar for India also for example
  1. Clean water act
  2. Clean air act
  3. Noise pollution should be under limit
  4. Emissions should be under limit
  5. There should have proper facilities of disposing discharge water or fracturing fluid
  6. There should be facilities for treatment of discharge fluid
  7. Emission of gases should be stored and treated for future purpose.
In following figure we may understand worldwide market of hydraulic fracturing since 1999

Need of hydraulic fracturing units in US

As we understand that there are huge demands of energy everywhere .we have to care about the environment and economy. In order to meet the huge demand of energy we may secure natural gas and oil and we can also maintain our green environment after consuming natural gas.

There are some organization like Environmental Protection Agency, Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and Ground Water Protection Council. These organization have inspected every point of hydraulic fracturing technology and concluded a result that if we follow some rules and guidelines then this technology will be quite beneficial for our economy and our country growth.

US are involved in extracting natural gases and oil from ground with the help of this technology. In following figure we may understand about the prices in US for natural gases as compared to others countries. US are dependent on natural gas for providing energy for vehicle. 

Hydraulic fracturing technology is utilized first time in US in 1949 to meet the energy demand .This process of securing natural gas from ground is observed as key player in economy of US for last 10 years .

In following table we may understand about the production total energy / year in US 


Sr. No
Year
Energy (quadrillion Btu)
1
1990
70.706
2
2006
69.443
3
2010
74.812
4
2011
78.091

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