Fracking has revolutionized the oil and natural gas industry, with virtually no assistance from the government … and Fracking is being improved all the time.
It was through George Mitchell’s tireless efforts that Fracking in shale formations became possible.
Historically, Fracking was used in vertically drilled wells. As an aside, the use of nitroglycerin to free oil in vertically drilled wells was done in the late 1800s, which could be seen as a crude form of Fracking.
Blowing a hole in the ground wasn’t very environmentally friendly.
The first Fracking job, Hydrafrac, using high pressure water and propants, was done by Standard Oil of Indiana, in 1947 in Kansas. A patent was issued, and Halliburton Oil Well Cementing Co. (Howco) was given an exclusive licensing agreement in 1949. Howco continued to apply Fracking in vertical oil wells.
George Mitchell struggled for over ten years trying to get shale to give up its store of natural gas and oil.
Starting with Fracking vertical wells in shale, the pioneers, including George Mitchell, Aubrey McClendon and Harold Hamm, moved on to horizontal drilling, targeting long wide areas, rich in oil and natural gas, and, in some cases where there were multiple layers of shale, tapping more than one layer.
They experimented with various combinations of water, sand and chemicals to develop the most effective cocktail for extracting the oil and natural gas from shale.
They began with a single Frack, but learned that multiple Fracks in the same horizontal well were more productive. Now, they may Frack 30 times in the same horizontal well stretching for over a mile inside the shale formation.
Not only has Fracking resulted in the United States having the potential of being energy independent, it has made thousands of ordinary Americans wealthy, sometimes even filthy rich. Some have been on the verge of bankruptcy when drilling was done on their land and oil or natural gas was discovered.
And some of those who pioneered Fracking, at great risk to their reputations and family fortunes, have become exceptionally wealthy.
But beyond the wealth that’s being created around the country, the benefits of Fracking are occurring nearly everywhere.
Manufacturing is being rejuvenated by the availability of cheap natural gas. Fertilizer plants, a natural gas to diesel fuel plant and other manufacturing plants, that rely on cheap natural gas, are being built from Louisiana to Pennsylvania.
Cheap natural gas is creating millions of new jobs in the oil and gas industry, and also in new manufacturing plants as they are built.
Taxes from drilling and newly created jobs are filling state and federal government coffers, in some cases where states were desperate for funds.
America’s balance of payments is being dramatically improved as oil imports are reduced, and the export of oil products is increased.
Because of Fracking, the United States can potentially alter the world’s balance of power for energy. Saudi Arabia and Russia could see their ability to control prices diminished, with the United States also being able to influence events.
These are profound and nation altering benefits.
But, radical environmentalists are opposed to Fracking, and have done all they could to create fear in people’s minds about the possible consequences of Fracking. Movie and rock stars, such as Yoko Uno, Sean Lennon and Alec Baldwin have joined in the chorus opposing Fracking.
While they cite some issues, such as earthquakes(1), and an imagined threat to aquifers, their main concern is that cheap natural gas will disrupt the politically motivated movement towards so-called clean energy, like wind and solar, and that Methane, leaking from pipes and rigs, would make global warming worse.
But the reality is that Fracking is being constantly improved, with any real environmental problems being reduced.
Initially, only one well would be drilled at an area rich in shale oil and natural gas.
Now multiple wells can be drilled from the same pad. This has reduced the amount of time it takes to complete several wells, by 40% according to one source.
Drilling multiple wells from one pad ameliorates any local environmental impacts, such as the number of roads that must be built; not having to disturb the land at several locations for multiple drilling sites; reducing the number of trucks frequenting an area and eliminating the movement of drill rigs from location to location for drilling in the same area.
Water, which is scarce in some areas, and a political football in areas where water is plentiful, is now frequently being treated and reused. And alternatives to water for Fracking are being investigated.
The private sector, with virtually no government help, has created this bonanza and is constantly striving to improve Fracking.
Radical environmentalists, and this administration with its focus on global warming, are doing what they can to cripple the Goose that laid the golden egg.
- Earthquakes may have been caused by injecting waste water into geologic formations, but have not been caused by Fracking.
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