The Role Hydraulic Fracturing Plays in the Oil and Gas Industry

While most people are surprised to learn that hydraulic fracturing in the United States began in 1948, they are even more surprised to learn that Halliburton performed its first commercial fracturing operation in 1949. According to the company’s website, “...over 1 million wells have been successfully fractured by the industry in the United States” since that time. Today, Halliburton is one of the world’s largest energy industry providers with approximately 50,000 employees. While a sometimes-controversial process, the American Automobile Association (AAA) reports are illustrating how fracking has and continues to aid in lowering energy prices. For example, in their Decade AAA Year-End Gas Price Report in 2015 AAA says,“Lower gasoline prices saved Americans more than $155 billion in 2015 when compared to 2014.” More recent reports reflect similar trends. When families spend less money to put gas in their cars or heat their homes, they can spend more money on better education, food, healthcare, and housing. According to the Department of Energy (DOE) as of 2013, at least two million oil and gas wells in the United States have been hydraulically fractured. Moreover, the output from these wells provides 67% or our natural gas production and around 43% of oil our oil production.

What is Hydraulic Fracturing?

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a method whereby oil and gas that is found in shale and “tight,” or impermeable rock formations is recovered. While this technology has been used for quite some time in oil & gas drilling, recent advances to the process have unlocked huge deposits of oil and gas that were previously considered inaccessible or economically unfeasible to develop. The process of fracking has always involved drilling a very deep well, as much as 1.5 miles deep, far below the water table. Current technology now allows a horizontal bore to be drilled. This horizontal bore can be fractured in stages, using water and chemicals injected under extremely high pressure. The fracturing produces tiny cracks in the rock formation. The cracks are held open by tiny particles of sand that are mixed with the solution, thereby allowing the oil or gas to flow to the wellbore, where it can be pumped out in a more traditional fashion.

The Risks of Fracking in the United States

There is currently much discussion about the risks of fracking, with particular discussion regarding the types of chemicals and additives used in fracking fluids. Experts believe that since the process takes place so far below the water table, there is actually very little risk involved of contaminating groundwater. The highest risk of contamination and environmental damage occurs when the used fluid is pumped back up and stored, either for future use in new fracking processes, or for disposal. Any fluid that is spilled during pumping soaks directly into the soil, immediately affecting surface water, such as lakes and streams, and eventually reaching the water table.

Creating Safe Storage and Containment Solutions in the Fracking Industry

BTL's role in the oil & gas industry is to provide impermeable liners for the safe storage and containment of fracking fluids. Proper storage includes dependable primary storage and full secondary containment systems to handle any leaks or spills due to equipment failure or human error. BTL provides high quality, custom made liners that are strong, durable, resistant to tears or punctures, which can be easily configured to meet the demands of any location and any style of frac tank. With proper setup & installation, coupled with appropriate monitoring and safety procedures, we believe that hydraulic fracturing is a fundamentally safe process. BTL Liners has worked for several decades with National Oilwell Varco (NOV) and has played an integral role in the development of the newly designed frac tanks of the last several years. We are proud to play a part in the development and production of energy resources here in the United States, which we believe benefits both the economy and security for all of North America.
Resources Hydraulic Fracturing in the United States Oilfield Services | Halliburton AAA | Decade Year-End Gas Price Report

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