The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

New Hydraulic Fracturing Materials Posted

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted November 15, 2010

If you saw the 60 Minutes story on hydraulic fracturing last night, you might be looking for information about this tried-and-true oil and natural gas field practice. Here are some online resources that could be helpful.

First, Chesapeake Energy, which is producing natural gas from shale plays, features an animation illustrating the fracturing process on its website. The animation shows how the shale is perforated far below the surface and then cracked using fracturing fluids. The cracks, which are propped open usually with sand, encourage the natural gas and/or oil to flow up the wellbore.

Second, Halliburton has launched a new microsite listing the chemicals used in its fracturing fluids. Although the posted lists pertain to Pennsylvania wells only, the company says it will make available fracturing fluid disclosure information for every state in the country where it is engaged in hydraulic fracturing.

Interestingly, Halliburton also lists how many of these same chemicals are used in consumer products. For example:

  • Sorbitan monooleate, commonly referred to as a fatty acid ester, is used in Vitamin A supplements, sun block and towels;
  • Ammonium chloride is an inorganic salt used in hand wash, shampoo and breakfast cereal among other products; and
  • Methanol is an alcohol used liquid hand soap, windshield washing concentrate, and furniture refinishing products.

The company also notes that the constituents found in many of these products exist in roughly the same concentrations as would be found in fracturing materials at the wellhead.

Halliburton also announced today that it has developed a new fracturing fluid comprising materials sourced entirely from the food industry. Halliburton Vice President David Adams said the company believes it has "set a new standard for how unconventional [energy] resources may be accessed and produced in the future."

For an overview of hydraulic fracturing, check out this blog post and read the materials available on API.org.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.