CO2 Instead of Water for Fracking – Seriously?!

From time to time MDN likes to highlight new technologies used in shale drilling. We’ve talked about the recent trend in drillers switching from using diesel to run drilling rigs to using natural gas. A number of Marcellus drillers now use pure natgas or dual fuel drilling rigs, drillers including Cabot, Seneca, Antero, CONSOL, EQT (see this MDN search for a list of those stories). We’ve also talked about companies who have developed alternatives to water as a fracking fluid–most recently eCORP Stimulation Technologies’ liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or propane) fracking (see ecorpStim Tries to Interest France in Waterless Fracking Tech).

MDN always hastens to add, there’s nothing inherently wrong with using water as a fracking fluid. It’s cheap, it’s plentiful and the amount used is so tiny in comparison to other uses, it’s not an environmental problem–at least not in the northeastern U.S. However, there are places were water is not abundant, so enterprising companies are still trying to create innovative solutions. Some of those enterprising companies are now looking at that evil, nasty compound that is the cause of so much angst for global warmers: carbon dioxide (goes by the gang name CO2). CO2 is plentiful–it’s the stuff you breathe out with every breath and the stuff plants and trees need to breath in so they can produce oxygen. But we digress. Engineers are looking at CO2 as a possible solution to replace water fracking. If they can figure it out, we say, grrrreat!…

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