From time to time MDN has covered alternative fracking technologies. As a few MDN readers have repeatedly noted in the comments, a new technology which uses natural gas itself (instead of water) in the fracking process is being used in Canada and now, it is being tried in Texas. Jadela Oil is conducting what they call a “science experiment” in Maverick County, Texas, in the Eagle Ford Shale, to see if this new waterless fracking technology will work as well in our shale deposits as it does in Canada.
Jadela recently completed fracking their first well in September using propane/butane and they are waiting for full data on how the well is producing before making the results known.
Last week Pittsburgh hosted a two day conference on Developing Unconventional Gas. A number of heavy-hitter speakers were on hand to discuss shale gas. Shell Chemicals, set to announce a new ethane cracker plant in the next two months, was among the speakers, as was Texas oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens.
There’s more than one way to get ethane to a cracker plant. MDN has chronicled the debate over whether pipelines to other regions like the Gulf Coast or Canada, or locally built ethane cracker (processing) plants, or a mix of the two, should be used to process the ethane-rich “wet gas” from the Marcellus and Utica Shales. Four ethane pipeline projects and at least one locally built ethane cracker plant have been promoted by various companies. Two of the four pipelines are “solid” and moving forward. The other two, according to one analyst, are in doubt (see this MDN story).
Interest from drilling companies in Eastern Ohio continues to be red hot with respect to the Marcellus and Utica Shales, as proven by how local county offices are overrun with researchers wanting access to property deed records. One such place is the Belmont County Recorder’s office in Belmont, Ohio. One company, Permian Oil (acting as an agent for XTO Energy, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil) has gone so far as to pay for after hours access.