What is Hydraulic Fracturing

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What is Hydraulic Fracturing

Hydraulics have many applications. Hydraulic Fracturing is one among them. So, here we are going to discuss, what is hydraulic fracturing?, Hydraulic fracking pros and cons, etc.  Before starting, I would like to inform you that hydraulic fracturing and drilling are two entirely different processes. Hydraulic fracturing is the process that done after the completion of hole drilling.

Many countries like Canada, New Zealand, China, etc.. are investing in hydraulic fracturing to explore petroleum and natural gas under the earth surface. Barnett shale formation in northern Texas was the first place that used hydraulic fracturing technology and Bakken shale formation in the Canadian province is one of the active sites.

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a method used for extracting oil or gas beneath the earth 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 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 chemical addictive like detergents, salts, acids, alcohols, 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 are released and pumped back with the flow back liquid. This flow back liquid contained wastewater and many other contaminants. The wastewater treatment facility is used for disposing of this flow back liquid.
  • The extracted natural oil and gas is processed, refined and sold.

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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 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 production and delivery fields.
  3. Reduced air pollution: The major issue related to fossil fuel is air pollution. Fracking will reduce the greenhouse gas emission 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.

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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. The 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 situations.

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