Hydraulic Fracturing: is a process that uses a mixture of water, sand and chemicals at a high pressure to open up the fissures in the subterranean layer of the earth to extract oil or gas.
For oil fracturing the process requires a hole to be dug deep into the ground so the oil can pumped up. This method is widely used, but it only allows for oil to be pumped from this hole. With hydraulic fracturing you drill a hole, and forcefully pump a solution of water, sand and chemicals into the hole. This causes the Marcellus shale (rock layer) to crack open, the more solution pumped in the bigger the cracks. The sand holds the cracks open, so the oil and gas can flow from surrounding areas to the well pump.
How hydraulic fracturing is performed will vary from zone to zone due to the particular conditions of the formation. The first step is an acid stage, consisting of several gallons of water with an acid dilute such as hydrochloric or muriatic acid. This allows for cement debris in the wellbore to be cleared, and provide an open conduit for other frac fluids by dissolving carbonate minerals and openings fractures near the wellbore.
A pad stage fills the wellbore with the solution of water, sand, and chemicals to open the formation and help facilitate the flow of gas and/or oil.
“A prop sequence stage, which may consist of several sub-stages of water combined with proppant material (consisting of a fine mesh sand or ceramic material, intended to keep open, or “prop” the fractures created and/or enhanced during the fracturing operation after the pressure is reduced): This stage may collectively use several hundred thousand gallons of water. “
Finally a flushing stage is done to remove any excess material from the wellbore.
Hydraulic fracturing has been widely accepted in Arkansas, Michigan, Montana, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wyoming. Each has drafted regulations requiring the disclosure of chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process. Also Europe has become a front runner when it comes hydraulic fracturing, Poland, U.K., and Russia are on board with the process. Most of Western Europe has banned the process due to fear it may pollute the drinking water. In South America Argentina and Brazil is throwing its support behind the process “as energy demand in these countries