What is Hydraulic Fracturing

What is Hydraulic Fracturing

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a method used for extracting oil or gas beneath the eaearth'surface. This method is used to improve the productivity of natural oil and gas wells. The fracking method can be applied to both existing and new wells. This method injects water, sand, and chemicals at high pressure to open or widen the cracks under the earth's surface. The tight oil and tight gas trapped in hard shale rock formations can be extracted using this method.

Hydraulic Fracturing Process Steps :

  • A well is drilled vertically to a depth of 1 to 2 miles according to the environmental standards and then encased this vertical well in steel or cement to avoid the risk of leakage.
  • After reaching the deep layer of rock, start drilling horizontally at least 1 mile from the vertical well.
  • Complete the drilling and encasing process. Pump the high-pressure slickwater(98%-99.5% of plain water, 0.5%-2% of sand, or chemicals addictive like detergents, salts, acids, alcohols, and lubricants) into the well. This high-pressure fracking fluid will fracture the surrounding rocks and create cracks and fissures for oil and gas flow.
  • Natural gas or oil trapped in these rocks is released and pumped back with the flow back liquid. This flowback liquid contained wastewater and many other contaminants. The wastewater treatment facility is used for disposing of this flowback liquid.
  • The extracted natural oil and gas is processed, refined, and sold.

Advantages of hydraulic fracturing :

  1. Increased oil and gas Productivity: Fracking provides access to natural oil and gas that are stored deep under the earth's surface, and traditional extraction methods can’t access these fuels. This increased production will reduce the foreign import of fuels and also will reduce the tax burden.
  2. Local employment opportunities increased: As production increases, the employment opportunity in that field also increases. The citizens will get a large number of jobs in the production and delivery fields.
  3. Reduced air pollution: The major issue related to fossil fuels is air pollution. Fracking will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thus slow down global warming.
  4. Temporary process: Fracking is a temporary process. It requires 3 or 4 days to complete this process. After the completion of the fracking process, the well can work independently.

Disadvantages of hydraulic fracturing

  1. Environmental issues: Fracking will badly affect our environment. This will cause sound pollution, light pollution, air pollution, and water pollution. While comparing with fossil fuel, the rate of air pollution is less. But still, hydraulic fracturing will create air pollution and global warming.
  2. Exposure to chemical substances: Chemical substances like detergents, salts, acids, alcohols, lubricants, etc. are used to prepare slickwater. Exposure to these chemicals will cause health issues for workers and also will create environmental hazards.
  3. Create drought-like situations: 98% of plain water is used to create high-pressure slickwater. So, this will create a water shortage or drought-like situation.