Hydraulic fracturing, the process used to break apart shale rock deep below the earth’s surface to allow natural gas and oil to flow, will increase in 2012 some 19 percent from last year according to Spears & Associates, a research and consulting company for the worldwide petroleum industry. Almost 19,000 new wells will be fracked in 2012, compared with 16,000 in 2011. Halliburton is the largest U.S. fracking services provider with 18 percent of the market.
Even though “fracking” – a reference to hydraulic fracturing – has become a dirty word for some, it’s certainly a good business to be in. Frac Tech International is one such company in the business of providing fracking services to oil and gas drillers. Just 11 years old and with yearly revenues exceeding a billion dollars, Frac Tech is set to float shares of stock and become a public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company plans to change its name to FTS International and wants to raise $1.15 billion in an initial public offering (IPO).
A somewhat technical, but informative article on how hydraulic fracturing technology is getting more environmentally friendly was recently published in Drilling Contractor. Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Schlumberger, Weatherford International, GasFrac Energy Services, Universal Well Services and Frac Tech Services went on the record with Drilling Contractor about the environmental aspects of hydraulic fracturing and “green” developments.
From the introduction of the article we see the critical role fracking plays in natural gas development:
UPDATE (July 6): It seems the list below is not completely accurate, as admitted by the PA DEP. The list below includes chemicals and substances stored on site (like diesel fuel and oil) that are not injected into the ground. MDN will furnish an updated list when it becomes available from the DEP.
An earlier version of the list, provided by DEP to the Associated Press and published in newspapers throughout the state this week, purportedly included all of the chemicals used in Pennsylvania during the gas extraction process called hydraulic fracturing. Instead, it included not just the chemicals pumped deep underground but also those stored or used on a well site, including fuel for vehicles and brake fluid.
“You can blame it on me,” Scott Perry, the director of DEP’s Bureau of Oil and Gas Management, said on Wednesday.
The original list was a compilation of the chemicals identified on safety documents called material safety data sheets that hydraulic fracturing contractors must submit to the department, but he did not realize that it included substances the contractors use both above and below ground on a well site, he said. The second list was winnowed by a DEP chemist, who recognized that some of the chemicals on the initial list are not among those injected underground during the fracturing process.
Of the 83 chemicals on the list published by the AP and the 78 on the list posted by the DEP, only 37 items are in common.
Three compounds specifically addressed in the AP article because of the risks they can pose to human health – naphthalene, toluene and xylene – are not on the list of hydraulic fracturing chemicals DEP posted on its website on Wednesday.
Scranton Times Tribune (July 1) – DEP shale chemical lists at odds over inclusion of above ground substances
Original post from June 30…
Using Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) from drillers, along with analysis of fracking fluid, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has released an updated list of 78 chemicals they say are found in fluids used by gas drillers in PA (called “fracking fluids”). MDN has obtained the list of 78 chemicals and reproduced it below. There is also a downloadable version at the end of this posting.
There are many nasty chemicals in this list, no one disputes that. But here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- No one knows how much of these chemicals are being used by any given driller. We do know that fracking fluid is composed of less than one percent of the chemicals in this list, with water and sand making up the other 99 percent.
- When fracking fluid is pumped into the ground, the vertical hole down which it’s pumped is lined with concrete to protect surface water supplies from chemicals. The fracking fluid goes down some 5,000 feet to where it’s used to help break rock apart releasing the natural gas, and then most of the fluid is pumped back out again and carted away where it’s treated at a regulated and approved facility. For the fluid that stays behind, it’s down some 5,000 feet. That’s almost a mile of solid rock between where it sits and surface water supplies (which are located at about 300 feet). There’s no way any of that fluid will “seep up” into water supplies. And remember that most fluid is pumped back out again. So less than one percent of the fluid are chemicals from this list, and most of that comes out again, leaving behind a very very small amount of chemicals a mile below the surface and heavily diluted by water and sand.
- Compare the list below with the labels on the containers under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. You’ll find some of the same names on the labels.
- One last thing to keep in mind: No driller uses all of these chemicals. In fact, Range Resources has openly discussed what they use in their fracking fluid:
Range Resources, which uses contractor Frac Tech for its fracing work, says its frac fluid additives are chosen from a list of only nine compounds — hydrochloric acid, methanol propargyl, polyacrylamide, glutaraldehyde, ethanol, ethylene glycol, alcohol and sodium hydroxide.*
Chemicals Used in the Hydraulic Fracturing Process in Pennsylvania
Prepared by the Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Oil and Gas Management
Compiled from Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) obtained from Inustry
Updated June 10, 2010
|2,2-Dibromo-3-Nitrilopropionamide||Bio Clear 1000/Bio Clear 2000/ Bio-Clear 200/BioRid20L/ EC6116A|
|Acetic Acid||Fe-1A Acidizing Composition/ Packer Inhibitor|
|Acetic Anhydride||Fe-1A Acidizing Composition|
|Acetylene||GT&S Inc./ Airco|
|Alcohol Ethoxylated||C12-16 NE-200|
|Alkyl benzene sulfonic acid||Tetrolite AW0007/ FR-46|
|Ammonium Bifluoride||ABF 37%|
|Ammonium Persulfate||AP Break|
|Ammonium Bisulfite||Techni-Hib 604/ Fe OXCLEAR/ Packer Inhibitor|
|Ammonium chloride||Salt Inhibitor|
|Ammonium Salt (alkylpolyether sulfate)||Tetrolite AW0007|
|Amorphous silica||TerraProp Plus/ Bituminous Coal Fly Ash ASTM C618|
|Benzoic Acid||Benzoic Acid|
|Boric Acid||BC-140/ Unilink 8.5|
|Calcium Oxide||Bituminous Coal Fly Ash ASTM C618|
|carboxymethylhydroxypropyl guar blend||Unigel CMPHG|
|Choline Chloride||Clay Treat-2C|
|Citric Acid||Ferrotrol 300L/ IC-100L|
|Complex polyamine salt||Clay Master-5C|
|Crystalline Silica: Cristobalite|
|Crystalline Silica: Quartz||Silica Sand/ / Atlas PRC/ Best Sand/ Bituminous Coal Fly Ash ASTM C618|
|Cupric chloride dihydrate||Ferrotrol 280L|
|Cured resin||LiteProp 125|
|Diethylene Glycol||Scaletrol 720/ Scaletrol 7208|
|EO-C7-9-iso-, C8 rich-alcohols||NE-940/ NE-90|
|EO-C9-11-iso-, C10-rich alcohols||NE-940/ NE-90|
|Ethoxylated Alcohol||FRW-14/ SAS-2/ Flomax 50/ WFR-3B|
|Ethyl Acetate||Castle Thrust|
|Ethyl Alcohol||FAW-5/ Castle Shop Solv/ Dallas Morris|
|Ethylbenzene||NDL-100/ PARANOX/ Uniflo II|
|Ethylbenzene||NDL-100/ PARANOX/ Uniflo II|
|Ethylene Glycol||ENVIROHIB 2001/ ICA-2/ LEB 10X/ Scaletrol |
720/ Sceletrol 7208/ CC 300/ Clachek A/ Clachek
LP/ Ironsta II B/ NCL-100/ BC 140/ NCL-100/
Flomax 50/ NCL/ Scalehib 100/ Unihib O/ Unilink 8.5
|Formic Acid||ENVIROHIB 2001|
|Gluconic Acid||Interstate ICA-2|
|Glutaraldehyde||Alpha 114/Alpha 125/ ICI-150|
|Glycol Ethers||ENVIROHIB 2001/AMPHOAM 75/ PARANOX/ Uniflo II/ Unifoam/ WNE-342LN|
|Guar Gum||PROGUM 19 GUAR PRODUCT/ Unigel 19XL/ Benchmark Polymer 3400/ WGA-15/ Unigel 5F|
|Hydrochloric Acid||Hydrochloric Acid (HCL)/ TETRAClean 542/ Muriatic Acid|
|Hydrochloric Acid 3% – 35%||Hydrochloric Acid 3% – 35%|
|Isopropanol||AFS 30 Blend/ FAC-1W/ FAC-3W/ MA-844W/ NE-23/ NE-940/ Flomax 50/ Tetrolite AW0007/ |
FMW25 Foamer/ CS-2
|Isopropyl Alcohol||NFS-102/ WFT-9511/ LT-32/ AR-1/ Flomax 50/ NDL-100/ Unibac/ Uniflo II/ Uniflo/ Unihib O/ |
AFS 30 Blend/ NE-200/ Activator Superset-W/ CI-14/ FAW-5/ GasFlo/ Inflo-250W/ LT-32/ NE-940/
|Methyl Alcohol||Clearbreak 400/ Super Surf/ Castle Shop Solv|
|Methyl Salicylate||Bio Sealers|
|Phenolic Resin||Atlas PRC|
|Polyethylene Glycol||NE-940/ EC6116A/ NE-90|
|Polyethylene Glycol Mixture||Bio Clear 2000/ Bio-Clear 200|
|Polyoxylalkylene sulfate||FMW25 Foamer|
|Potassium Hydroxide||B-9, pH Increase Buffer/ BXL-2|
|Propargyl Alcohol||CI-14/ HAI-OS Acid Inhibitor|
|Propylene Glycol||SAS-2/ WFR-3B|
|Silica||S-8C, Sand, 100 mesh/ Montmorillnonite clay|
|Sodium Bromide||BioRid 20L|
|Sodium Hydroxide||Caustic Soda/ ICI-3240/ BioRid B-71|
|Sodium Persulphate||High Perm SW-LB|
|Sodium Xylene Sulfonate||FAC-2/ FAC-3W|
|Sulfuric Acid||Sulfuric Acid|
|Surfactants||AFS-30/ GasFlo/ Inflo-250W|
|Tetrakis(hydroxymethyl)phosphonium sulfate||Magnacide 575 Microbiocide|
|Tetramethyl ammonium Chloride||Clay Treat-3C|
|Trimethyloctadecylammonium chloride||FAC-1W/ FAC-3W|
*Pittsburgh Business Times (June 30) – DEP releases new list of frac chemicals; used in Marcellus, other Pa. operations