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New Drilling / Fracking Processes?

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posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 09:52 AM
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Let me start by saying, I am familiar with traditional modern oil and gas drilling methods (both on-shore and off-shore). I am also familiar with hydraulic fracturing "fracking" methods. I am also generally familiar with horizontal and directional drilling methods (although this technology has advanced significantly since my time in the energy industry). I am also very familiar with the various fracking arguments (both pro and con). For my part, the verdict is still out here. Regardless, my question(s) are more technical in nature.

Much like many areas of the US, we have seen an explosion of drilling here in Colorado. Having been out of the industry for nearing 30 years, I assume most of the current drilling is tapping into shale deposits for gas and oil. Other than the theory, I don't know a whole lot about this extraction process. I know Wyoming was big natural gas country, but I think most of the exploration here in CO is oil related. And what I've noticed is a process which appears to be far different than anything I ever witnessed when I was in the industry. Perhaps someone can help me (and others) understand.

I drive by an exploration field every day, and the density of the wells they are drilling there is like nothing I've ever seen before. In other words, the proximity of one well to another is very close (stunningly so). When they first started drilling this formation they started with one well. Then they drilled a second one about 5 miles away, then another about 3 miles away. Then they set up major fracturing operations on each of these wells, and I'm talking about HUGE fracs here! Some of the fracking ops were even larger than I'd seen on some of the world's deepest wells (at the time) up in Wyoming back in the 80's. Okay, so there's a few wells and some large fracking operations, no major surprise. But then they started to drill wells much closer. Much much closer. Note: all of these wells are being drilled with full sized deep drilling platforms, not the lighter drill rigs (and way bigger than any kind of a workover sized rig...all several hundred men rigs).

The 4th and 5th wells they drilled were less than a mile from the 1st. The 6th and 7th well they drilled were less than a half a mile from the 2nd. Then they drilled a well about 300 yards from the 2nd well. Just the other day they set a full sized platform less than 100 yards away from the very first well! It's so close that they containment area they graded for the very first well overlaps the containment area for this new well. Again, these are all full sized, fully staffed drilling platforms complete with man-camps and everything. Then I observed something even more bizarre, something I've never seen before.

Just this week they brought some caisson rigs out to the very first well site. They had originally punched three holes at this site, so there were three "trees". They brought in a small crane and pulled all three trees, then they brought in a workover rig to pull some casing. Now the caisson rigs are digging out 60" diameter excavations at what appears to be the exact locations where the original well casings were. And then less than 100 yards away is a drilling platform punching new holes.

What the heck are they doing?

I know they did spend a lot of time fracking, inspecting and fishing the very first well. And at one point they put some of these giant crazy looking trees on top of the existing trees (like 30 foot tall trees with all these valves and flanges on them). Then they had all manner of highly specialized trucks hooked up to various parts of these trees (i.e. nitrogen trucks, CO2 trucks, wire line trucks, etc.). Then they pulled these tall trees, and the well just sat there. They only did all this exotic stuff (way beyond normal fracking) at one other well. The rest of the wells they just drilled and fracked and then moved on.

The other weird thing is they are pumping giant amounts of water from one well to another. They lay out these huge 12" hoses for miles between two wells and will pump water from one well to the other. In one case they excavated this lake sized pit and pumped about 20,000,000 gallons of water into it, then two days later it was gone.

If I didn't know better I'd think they were abandoning the very first well and reclaiming the area.

Any ideas on what's going on here?

edit on 6/15/2019 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 10:03 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Suspicious by the sound of it and perhaps you are correct they have fracked in the wrong spot so are moving to sweeter ground but not good for your water table if it leaches out.

What is your opinion of Fracking in a densely populated region were the majority of the area has it's business and private property's built on top of a loose alluvial layer made up of sand, clay, shale and sandstone.

i.e. the northwest of England, sorry to lead slightly off but just to pick your brain on an issue of local importance to many of us living over here.

I personally reckon that while much slower than the model I shall suggest the affects would be similar, place a coin on top of a bucket of sand then place the bucket on top of a vibrating table to simulate tremors from the fracking explosion's, the coin will of course subside into the sand and so too will the business, infrastructure and homes of areas affected by massive fracking operations such as those scheduled to take place in NW England (they were put on hold after test fracking resulting in rather more serious than anticipated earth tremors as they woke up old fault zones in the deeper stratum.

edit on 15-6-2019 by LABTECH767 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 10:09 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

I'm no expert but it sounds like the well conditions could be tight to need more wells closer together to make commercial. And what you saw on the first well will have been the testing equipment. I believe nitrogen and CO2 are used to help the well flow.



posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 10:12 AM
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a reply to: LABTECH767

Well first, Fracking is a very big, complex, subject. It is also a very controversial subject with lots of smoke and mirrors on both sides of the argument.

It sounds from your question like your concern is subsidence of surface structures due to the actual fracking process. If so, I'd say you have little if anything to worry about. Hydraulic fracturing is done many thousands of feed below the surface, and they're only fracturing voids inches in size. Plus, the actual "fracking" process isn't a constant one. It occurs once and it's done. They can re-frac a well more than once, but again these are all one time events. It's not like a vibrator constantly vibrating the ground. So to this end, I don't think you have anything to worry about.

Now, water on the other hand is a whole other discussion!

ETA - I don't personally believe there is any credible connection between fracking and increased seismic activity. However, equally I cannot explain why seismic activity has increased in areas such as Oklahoma (here in the US) where they have done a bunch of fracking. So, I completely understand people connecting the two, as would I. I will say, I think there's more to it than we may understand at the moment. My own personal belief is, the increased seismic activity is actually more a result of the extraction itself more so than the fracturing effort which facilitates it.


edit on 6/15/2019 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

edit on 6/15/2019 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 10:19 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Thank's for that clarification I was not entirely sure about the process but that clears that up, and yes I have seen some program's suggesting serious pollution affecting people near to fracking sites especially those that use ground water as there water source.



posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 10:45 AM
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Sounds like they may have run into an underground water table with the one well or something. They cannot stop the influx of water so they are just capping the well. So, since it is a productive site, they are just drilling other wells and staying away from the contaminated site.

They can actually control the direction of the drilling pretty well, my son in law works for a company drilling for mineral deposits and he was attempting to explain how it works but I do not actually know much about it, it was over my head, common knowledge to him now but I cannot even fathom what he is talking about. They sometimes have to abandon a drilling when they get a bit stuck somewhere. It is a big job and the old hole needs to be cemented so they can change direction down three thousand feet sometimes. Those bits are expensive too when they loose or break one.

Have you had any water contamination at your farm? fracking is notorious for giving a little smell to people's wells. Of course they deny it or fudge the results to bring things into spec, just leaving the water air out before testing reduces the benzene in it. And since you do not have a baseline test on your well, they can say that your water was always contaminated if you have problems, that is what they do to everyone everywhere. That is an allowable tactic according to our government, you need proof of before they messed it up. Even then, they can say that things naturally change, that they did nothing to change things but if they were fracking around here, I would definitely be testing my water for a baseline.



posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 10:52 AM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: LABTECH767

Well first, Fracking is a very big, complex, subject. It is also a very controversial subject with lots of smoke and mirrors on both sides of the argument.

It sounds from your question like your concern is subsidence of surface structures due to the actual fracking process. If so, I'd say you have little if anything to worry about. Hydraulic fracturing is done many thousands of feed below the surface, and they're only fracturing voids inches in size. Plus, the actual "fracking" process isn't a constant one. It occurs once and it's done. They can re-frac a well more than once, but again these are all one time events. It's not like a vibrator constantly vibrating the ground. So to this end, I don't think you have anything to worry about.

Now, water on the other hand is a whole other discussion!

ETA - I don't personally believe there is any credible connection between fracking and increased seismic activity. However, equally I cannot explain why seismic activity has increased in areas such as Oklahoma (here in the US) where they have done a bunch of fracking. So, I completely understand people connecting the two, as would I. I will say, I think there's more to it than we may understand at the moment. My own personal belief is, the increased seismic activity is actually more a result of the extraction itself more so than the fracturing effort which facilitates it.



There has been shown to be a direct link between the fracking and seismic activity in many places around the country. It is actually caused by a lessening of strength of the rock layer which increases the release of stress in the crust resulting in little quakes. Most are small quakes, ones that will not hurt anything. Sort of like a mind blast that used to happen in the copper country when I lived there.

Do you have a geiger counter to test the air around you? There is some deposits of radioactive materials around here, usually thorium in rock layers, some exposed. I knew someone who worked for the county he told me where some of the outcrops are, he got the info from the head people at the airbase who had records of the exposed Thorium. As long as you do not build close to the rock outcrops, I guess it is not a problem with thorium. The Uranium area is fifty miles away and those deposits are fairly deep, no actually surface stuff exposed, but it is mine-able quality.
edit on 15-6-2019 by rickymouse because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 10:52 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Do you know much about gas lifts, as opposed to ESP's or conventional rod lifts?

If not I will fill your head with knowledge when I get off work today.




posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 11:34 AM
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a reply to: Lumenari

I would like to learn please.

But only if FCD says it is ok......

edit on 2/19/2013 by Allaroundyou because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 11:37 AM
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All I have to say is.... more sinkholes! GL farming for food.



posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 01:30 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse

I guess I should clarify my statement...I don't think there is a link between the actual act of fracking itself and seismic activity. In other words, I don't think the fracking is the direct cause of it. However, I do very much believe that the extraction process which follows the fracking may be what's causing the increase in seismic activity. So, there is a relationship. I further believe it depends on what kinds of rock formations are involve also.

Fracking itself doesn't displace enough volume, certainly not enough to cause a seismic event. But the extraction process does displace large volume and over a much wider area. This would be enough to create minor localized seismic events. Plus, if fracking was the direct cause of these seismic events then they would take place during or shortly after the actual fracturing process. In places like Oklahoma where they've had a dramatic increase in seismic events, much of it takes place months or even years after the fracturing. This is why I believe the events are caused by the voids left after the petroleum products are removed.

Anyway, this is just my theory. Again, I've been out of it for a long while.


edit on 6/15/2019 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 01:35 PM
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a reply to: makemap

To the best of my knowledge, sinkholes are caused for a completely different reason.



posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 01:37 PM
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a reply to: Lumenari

I know a little bit about rod lifts, but nothing really about gas lifts.

Sure, I'd love to hear about it!



posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 01:59 PM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: rickymouse

I guess I should clarify my statement...I don't think there is a link between the actual act of fracking itself and seismic activity. In other words, I don't think the fracking is the direct cause of it. However, I do very much believe that the extraction process which follows the fracking may be what's causing the increase in seismic activity. So, there is a relationship. I further believe it depends on what kinds of rock formations are involve also.

Fracking itself doesn't displace enough volume, certainly not enough to cause a seismic event. But the extraction process does displace large volume and over a much wider area. This would be enough to create minor localized seismic events. Plus, if fracking was the direct cause of these seismic events then they would take place during or shortly after the actual fracturing process. In places like Oklahoma where they've had a dramatic increase in seismic events, much of it takes place months or even years after the fracturing. This is why I believe the events are caused by the voids left after the petroleum products are removed.

Anyway, this is just my theory. Again, I've been out of it for a long while.



I think your theory is pretty accurate, you are probably not going to get any rumbling for a few years.



posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 01:59 PM
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a reply to: LABTECH767

Caudrilla's fracking at Preston New Road has caused a few minor earthquakes and major breaches of environmental act by releasing unburnt fuel. While there's little/no chance of it polluting aquifers there, there's strong evidence it'd cause hydro-chloric acid if comes into contact with the limestone/granite bedrock and nuclear waste around selafield. It's also been proven to be economically unviable around UK shores as we have a far lower quality/yield compared to the US.
edit on 15-6-2019 by bastion because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 02:07 PM
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The rigs are close together because it less expensive to keep everything at one location. Directional drilling allows the well to get into the center of the formation and then turn 90 degrees to run parallel in the formation for many thousands of feet. Each well drills in a different direction, like a spider's legs. Doing this gives max recovery from a wellhead.



posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 02:16 PM
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originally posted by: pteridine
The rigs are close together because it less expensive to keep everything at one location. Directional drilling allows the well to get into the center of the formation and then turn 90 degrees to run parallel in the formation for many thousands of feet. Each well drills in a different direction, like a spider's legs. Doing this gives max recovery from a wellhead.


Exactly. Also if you have multiple horizons as far as oil deposits, the well next to the one you are working on is usually in another horizon.

In the Bakken wellsites are often 800 feet apart and in different deposits entirely.




posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 02:37 PM
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a reply to: Lumenari

Tight gas formations [Marcellus and Utica] are often drilled with multiple wells on the same pad. The roads leading to the pad have to be able to take the rig transports plus all the trucks involved in the fracking and recovery of "produced water." There is a significant amount of water produced during gas extraction; brine in this case. When enough water is removed, that is the cause of some geologic instability.
Utica comes toward the surface near the PA-OH border and that is where the wet spots are; in this case higher hydrocarbons that are far more valuable than the methane. Fuel is a cheap mix of some very expensive chemicals.



posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 03:01 PM
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a reply to: pteridine

Understood, so why drill one well practically right on top of another one? Not close enough to be on the same pad, but damn near. No shared roads, but the containment areas overlapped where they had to rework the berms on the first well pad to make it work for the second one.



posted on Jun, 15 2019 @ 03:05 PM
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a reply to: Lumenari

Huh, that's pretty interesting!

But like I noted, now it looks like they've abandoned the first well site because they had a couple caisson rigs in there augering out where the original trees where down about 40 feet or so.



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