In less than 2 minutes, learn more about fracking than 99.98% of the population thinks they know…
Transcript of Session –
Hey. It’s Mark LaCour. Let’s learn something new about the oil and gas industry.
I often get asked about horizontal fracking. What most people don’t understand is horizontal fracking is a combination of two technologies – the ability to drill a well site horizontally which is relative new and fracking the rock which is actually a 1940’s technology invented by Shell. So, I’m getting ready to show you a quick high level overview of what horizontal fracking actually is.
All right. In the old days when they wanted to develop a field, what they would do is build multiple well sites on the surface and drill multiple vertical shafts into the oil-bearing shale in between the rock layers. This made for quite an ugly installation, but it worked although it’s not the most efficient way to get the oil out of the shale.
Fast forward to today in horizontal fracking and they build one well site on the surface and they drill one vertical shaft, but then they drill horizontal shaft and they frack the rock. This is more productive than the old way that looks much better.
Well, hopefully it help you understand better what horizontal fracking is. Stay tune right after this have a longer more detailed video that will help you understand it at a much deeper level.
Hydraulic Fracturing has provided safe extraction of oil and natural gas from underground shale formations for more than 60 years. The technology continues to improve increasing access to abundant energy sources while limiting environmental impact.
Take a look at the process today in underground shale formations. The initial wellbore is drilled using a drill pipe and bit. Drilling mud is pumped down through the drill pipe to cool and lubricate the drill bit. Mud also helps stabilize the wellbore and carry the rock fragment cuttings to the surface. The drilling continues well past the aquifer or ground water level. Thousands of feet of rocks separate shale reserves from the lowest ground water reservoir.
At this point, the drill pipe and bit are removed and a steel tube called Surface Casing is set inside the well. The tube stabilizes the well sides creating a protective barrier for both the well stream and any underground fresh water reservoirs. Cement is then pumped into the well through and out the casing displacing any remaining drilling fluids and permanently securing the casing in place.
By filing the gap between the casing and wellbore, the cement creates a seal protecting ground water from contamination and keeping outside materials from entering the well flow. Once the first layer of casing is in place, it is pressure tested to ensure hydrocarbons and other fluids do not seep out into the formation as they are brought to the surface.
The pipe and drill bit are lowered back into the well where the drilling continues. Another layer of casing and cementing is then constructed to create a second permanent protective barrier. Multiple layers of casing and cementing are critical to safe well construction and drinking water protection.
About 500 feet above the hydrocarbon bearing shale formation, a specific downhole drilling motor with sophisticated measuring instrument begins the angle drilling to create a horizontal path to penetrate the targeted layer of gas or oil-bearing shale. Once the desired horizontal distance is reached, the casing and cementing process continues through the entire length of the wellbore.
A perforating tool is then inserted into the well creating holes in the shale layer allowing hydrocarbons to enter the well stream. When the perforating tool is removed, fracturing fluid made of mostly water and sand is pumped into the well opening tiny fractures deep into the shale.
Water is removed, but the sand remains holding the fractures open and allowing gas to travel from the shale out into the well. Ridge plugs are inserted and the fracturing process repeats across the entire length of the well. Once all the fractures are completed, the plugs are removed and gas flows to the surface.
The entire drilling process takes about two to three months, but hydraulic fracturing takes only days and can allow for a twenty to forty years of energy production. Combining horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing reduces the footprint of drilling and makes it possible to produce oil and natural gas in places where previous technologies could not.