Fracking is a drilling technique that is used to extract oil or natural gas from the underground of the earth’s surface. There are two types of technology used in fracking wells. One is the hydraulic fracturing and the other one is the horizontal drilling.
How Fracking Works
Fracking process begins with drilling a well vertically or at an angle from the surface of the ground to a depth of about 1 or 2 miles or more. Once the well is drilled, it is encased in steel or cement to ensure that there is no risk of leaking into any underground water.
When the fracking well is finally drilled and encased, fracking fluid is pumped down at extremely high pressure to fracture the surrounding rock in order to create holes and cracks through which oil or natural gas can flow. Slickwater is used as fracking fluid. It is water mixed with additives and chemicals. These additives include detergents, acid, salt, alcohol, disinfectants and lubricants. In addition to water and chemical additives, proppants are also added. Proppants prop up the fractures so that when the high pressure is removed, oil or natural gas will continue to flow freely. Proppants may be sand or ceramic particles.
After the underground rock is crushed and proppants pumped into place, gas and oil trapped in the rock formation flow out and are pumped back to the surface. Along with the oil and gas flowback liquids are also released to the surface. These flowback liquid contains contaminants like radioactive material, hydrocarbon, heavy metals and other toxins. These wastewater is deposited and stored in pits created for them at the tracking site, or injected into deep underground wells or disposed off-site at a wastewater treatment facility.
Effects of Fracking on the Drilling Industry
- There is a significant decline in fossil fuel drilling activities in the United States as fracking deep wells will boom.
- With rig count declining, there will be less job opportunities for oil-drillers.
- There will be a monthly successive cut in fossil oil production.
- Prices of fossil oil will also go down.
- Oil companies will turn to shale gas because it is cheaper.
- Drilling Industries will experience losses in revenues and might have to close their rigs.
- Drilling industries may turn to fracking shale gas and abandon their fossil fuel rigs.