Canadian Company Pioneers Alternative to Water & Sand in Hydraulic Fracturing, Used on 700 Wells So Far

An interesting “new” technology from Canadian company GASFRAC uses an alternative to water and sand in the hydraulic fracturing process:

A Canadian-based energy company that has developed an alternative to the controversial hydraulic fracturing method now widely used to drill for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale is spreading the word about the process in Tioga County, N.Y.

Robert Lestz, chief technology officer for GASFRAC Energy Services Inc. — located in Calgary with branch offices in Texas — met Wednesday with the Tioga County Landowners Group in Owego, whose members collectively own about 126,000 acres.

GASFRAC Energy uses a process that injects gelled liquid petroleum gas, with three additives, into an underground rock formation to release trapped natural gas. During the fracking operation, Lestz said, the gelled liquid petroleum gas, or LPG, liquefies and returns to the surface as propane gas, which eliminates the need for a settling pond required by hydraulic fracking. The propane is recovered, chilled back into a gel and reused.*

So far 700 wells in Canada have been drilled using the GASFRAC LPG method, and the first well in the U.S. has just been drilled using this method (in Texas). We’ll keep an eye out for more on LPG fracking.

*Elmira Star-Gazette (Apr 13, 2011) – Company touts alternative fracking method