"Fracking has taken on negative connotations. However, this negativity is misguided."
Over the past decade, there has been confusion among credible news outlets regarding the differences between drilling and fracking. This piece provides much needed clarity into a much-politicised and little-understood topic.
Oil and gas developments always start with geoscientific prospects within an area of land believed to contain a significant enough volume of oil and/or natural gas to provide economic benefits. Two primary processes must take place to access these resources: drilling and fracking.
Drilling is the process of putting a relatively small hole in the ground, then securing that hole with a steel pipe surrounded by cement. This is done by using a drilling rig - not to be confused with a 'fracking rig,' which doesn't actually exist. The drilling rig has three primary components: a derrick, a drill pipe, and a top drive. These components work together in a circulatory effect to pump fluid into the ground, then allow cuttings to rise to the surface. Depending on the size of the wellbore, this process can take anywhere from just three days to up to a month. Oil and Gas Companies must first be given a permit to drill from regulatory agencies in the state before a drilling location can be constructed and carried out by highly-experienced professionals. The drilling process reveals whether or not the prospective area contains oil and natural gas.
On the other hand, fracking occurs after the well and hole are secured with casing and cement. Drilling and fracking cannot occur simultaneously. Fracking is the most critical step of the completion process but cannot be enacted until other vital steps are carried out. First, the completions process calls for the casing to be perforated with holes. To do this, a service company uses a perforating gun on the end of a wireline tool-string. Once the tool reaches the correct depth, an engineer in the control van activates the guns on the tool-string to create anywhere from 10 to 30 half-inch holes in the casing.
After that has been completed, fracking crews pump water carrying beach sand into the oil-bearing rocks through the created holes. More perforating holes are then shot into the casing up-hole from the first stage and a composite plug is also set to ensure there is a physical barrier between stages. Modern wellbores are typically up to 2 miles in length and can be completed with 50 stages of fracking. Fracking and drilling are both vital steps to extract oil and natural gas. However, they are not the same. False reporting has identified fracking rigs as drilling rigs, and it's crucial to be able to spot the difference. An Oil and Gas Company cannot frac a well that has not first been drilled—the drilling is the starter, and fracking is the closer. Knowing the differences between drilling and fracking can help individuals to better understand oil and gas processes occurring in their state or other relevant communities.
"An Oil and Gas Company cannot frac a well that has not first been drilled—the drilling is the starter, and fracking is the closer. Knowing the differences between drilling and fracking can help individuals to better understand oil and gas processes occurring in their state or other relevant communities."
Fracking is largely misunderstood and overcomplicated by society and the media. However, fracking can be easily explained and shouldn't trigger emotions of anxiety. The term "fracking" has taken on negative connotations. However, this negativity is mostly misguided. Chemicals used in houses and apartments for everyday cleaning activities are more dangerous and toxic than chemicals used in fracking.
The process of hydraulic fracturing has been around for over 100 years. Geologists discovered that rocks were porous deep within the earth (up to 30,000 ft) and that natural gas could be pulled from those porous spaces safely. Almost all rocks have pores. For example, with close inspection of a granite countertop, one notices that even kitchen counters have pores that could be widened with the application of high-pressure liquid.
One of the leading concerns about fracking is groundwater protection. However, freshwater close to the surface is protected by thousands of feet of rock, still pipe, and cement. It is very unlikely for this water to be contaminated, and if it is, the water can still be purified. Freshwater is never destroyed during fracking, and numerous precautions are taken so that freshwater is not disturbed in the first place. Another common objection to fracking is that it causes earthquakes. It's important to remember that while minor earthquakes might take place, they are of very low magnitude and can't produce damage to existing structures. Fracking lights up cities, powers cars to stay on the road, and puts food on the table for thousands of hard-working men and women and their families across the United States.
Adam Ferrari is the founder of the mineral acquisitions company Ferrari Energy. He is a chemical engineer by degree and is an accomplished petroleum engineer by profession. He also has experience in the financial sector through his work at an investment banking firm. Under his leadership, his company has supported numerous charitable organizations including St. Jude Children's Hospital, Freedom Service Dogs, Denver Rescue Mission, Coats for Colorado, and Next Steps of Chicago. Adam Ferrari was born and raised in the south suburbs of Chicago, IL. He is the grandson of an Italian immigrant coal miner who worked in the mines of Coal City, IL.
For more information, visit: www.ferrarienergygroup.com